A sorry state: Chicago businessman Bob Taylor visits his childhood home which has fallen to rack and ruin. The building, known as the Queen of the East because it once housed a brothel, is up for sale and Mr Taylor hopes it would be restored rather then demolished. *Photo by  Simon Jones
A sorry state: Chicago businessman Bob Taylor visits his childhood home which has fallen to rack and ruin. The building, known as the Queen of the East because it once housed a brothel, is up for sale and Mr Taylor hopes it would be restored rather then demolished. *Photo by Simon Jones
<
1
2
>

FRIDAY, JUNE 17: For Bob Taylor walking down the steps of the Queen of the East is like stepping back to his childhood.

The Chicago businessman spent ten successive summers in the old house as a child when his grandparents lived there in the 1960s.

He remembers it as a grand mansion where he was not allowed to touch the ornaments and he and his sister would spend afternoons fishing off the dock with bits of hot dog.

Today the infamous waterfront structure, which was once a brothel and sailor’s hang out, has fallen into rack and ruin.

It is for sale and could be destroyed if the new buyers want to build on the land.

Mr Taylor returned the Queen of the East just last week when he came to Bermuda on business.

It was the first time he had wandered around the garden since he was a small child.

But the soft green grass and spectacular water views he recall have now been replaced by rubble, weeds and crumbling sea walls.

He said: “It is a shame when you look at it now.

“But having said that it says something about the quality of workmanship that went into building it that it is still standing.

“It has withstood time, hurricanes, rain and all sorts and it is still there.

“I have such fond memories of this place.

“I came here every summer for ten years with my family when my grandparents owned it.

“We would stay for a month or two and then head home.

“My sister and I would fish off the dock and play in the garden.

“It really was a beautiful setting.

“I remember the inside of the house was very plush and clean. We would always be told not to touch the ornaments and furniture.

“The view of the harbour was fantastic in those days and the view has not changed that much.

“New buildings have cropped up around it but even today it seems like there is so much potential here.

“When we would visit we would head down to the South Shore beaches and visit the Mid Ocean Club.

“My sister and I spent a lot of happy hours in this house so it’s sad to see it in the state it is today.”

The Queen of the East on East Broadway was built in the 1740s at a time when St. George’s was Bermuda’s only town, generations before the City of Hamilton was established.

It was a substantial merchant house and a major component of the eighteenth century port.

The property had its living quarters above and the warehouse below and it still boasts thick cedar beams and large chimneys at either end of the long rooms.

The Queen of the East has served as a bakery, laundry and even as a brothel, which is how it got its name.

In the last two decades the house has been left unoccupied and neglected causing it to deteriorate rapidly.

In 2007 it lost its listed building status leaving it without any protection from demolition.

And just last month its owners put the old Bermuda house on the market for $1.9 million.

Mr Taylor told the Sun that he hoped that whoever bought the property would restore it to its original state.

He said: “This place has so much history and tradition involved in it.

“In the U.S. a place that was built in the 1700s would be cherished and treasured.

“It would probably have barbed wire put up around it and made into a tourist site or something like that.

“I can understand that money is tight in these economic times but a historical treasure like this should not be allowed to be bulldozed and forgotten.

“It is part of the history of the country and I really hope it is restored and resurrected to the condition it was when I used to come and visit with my family.”