The great Fire Of 1808
Dr. Shaw was one of the many Scotsmen who found their technique to Trinidad in the primary years of the nineteenth century. By 1808, he had established himself on lower Frederick Avenue, quantity 12, that’s on the japanese side between Queen Street and Independence Sq.more to the tip of the block than the center. He had a modest follow and in addition operated an apothecary store from where he dispensed medicinal preparations to the expanding township.
Port of Spain had modified quite a bit with the arrival of the French and Free blacks form Grenada and the other French islands from stone island label codes 1783 onwards. Despite the upheaval of the British conquest, the outdated thatch and tapia buildings that clustered around the outdated Catholic church which was constructed on what is now Tamarind Sq.in the final space of Duncan, Nelson and George Streets, were giving method to handsome wooden buildings, coated in wood shingles.
The French on this interval constructed with wooden. Wood was readily accessible. Virgin forest of hardwood stretched actually from the shoreline into the nearby mountains. The town, as it is now, had been laid out like a grill – ten streets from Edward Street within the west to Duncan Road in the east, and six streets from Marine Sq. to Oxford Avenue. Maybe about four,000 to six,000 individuals lived there, masters and slaves, some wealthy, some poor, an assortment of nationalities, all shared in the rising prosperity of this busy port. Dr. Shaw, it has been reported, came house simply somewhat inebriated because of this of getting a wee drop with some of his pals, and made his manner by the light of a flambeaux to the outhouse on the again of number 12. Nobody knows for positive what happened subsequent – did he fall asleep on the throne Did he drop the flambeaux, inflicting a blaze in between the previous crates and barrels No matter it may need been, the subsequent factor that occurred was that his retailer room was ablaze. He had just lately obtained portions of sulfur, niter, ether and other rectified spirits and important oils – all this soon raged with inconceivable violence. The foreday morning breeze coming from the Laventille hills churned the hearth into an inferno, spreading rapidly, leaping the streets not simply from east to west, however from south to north. The inferno caught the city asleep. People leaped from home windows, fled with nothing however their nightclothes, and in some instances nothing at all. In minutes, the place was aglow, lit up in a macabre gentle of raging destruction. Stores of gunpowder in various storerooms exploded. Women with children ran screaming to the waterfront. The males of the town joined in with troopers of the 37th and the 8th regiments, who have been stationed on the barracks where the hospital is now, in a vain try to save the city. The few water pumps they possessed had fallen into neglect, and the varied wells have been quickly emptied. Horses and mules, tethered in stables all over the town, screamed in terror as they have been killed, or bolted wildly down the blazing streets.
Nearly all the buildings had been destroyed, 12 square blocks in all burnt fully, forty nine blocks partially. 435 houses have been gutted, making 4,500 people homeless. The harm exceeded 1,000,000 pounds sterling!
It was, in actual fact, Trinidad’s first catastrophe. The city was rebuilt, this time of stone. One can still see the high limestone walls between the buildings in Port of Spain that have been erected as hearth partitions to stop the repeat of such a catastrophe.