The great Fire Of 1808
Dr. Shaw was considered one of the many Scotsmen who found their technique to Trinidad in the first years of the 19th century. By 1808, he had established himself on lower Frederick Street, number 12, that’s on the jap aspect between Queen Avenue and Independence Square, more to the end of the block than the middle. He had a modest observe and likewise operated an apothecary store from the place he dispensed medicinal preparations to the increasing township.
Port of Spain had modified too much stone island supreme hoodie with the arrival of the French and Free blacks form Grenada and the other French islands from 1783 onwards. Regardless of the upheaval of the British conquest, the previous thatch and tapia buildings that clustered around the outdated Catholic church which was constructed on what is now Tamarind Square, in the general space of Duncan, Nelson and George Streets, have been giving way to handsome picket buildings, covered in wood shingles.
The French on this interval constructed with wooden. Wood was readily available. Virgin forest of hardwood stretched literally from the shoreline into the nearby mountains. The city, as it is now, had been laid out like a grill – ten streets from Edward Avenue in the west to Duncan Road in the east, and 6 streets from Marine Sq. to Oxford Avenue. Maybe about four,000 to six,000 folks lived there, masters and slaves, some wealthy, some poor, an assortment of nationalities, all shared within the growing prosperity of this busy port. Dr. Shaw, it has been reported, got here house simply a little bit inebriated consequently of having a wee drop with some of his pals, and made his manner by the sunshine of a flambeaux to the outhouse on the again of number 12. No one is aware of for certain what occurred subsequent – did he fall asleep on the throne Did he drop the flambeaux, inflicting a blaze in between the outdated crates and barrels Whatever it might need been, the subsequent factor that occurred was that his retailer room was ablaze. He had recently acquired quantities of sulfur, niter, ether and different rectified spirits and important oils – all this soon raged with inconceivable violence. The foreday morning breeze coming from the Laventille hills churned the fireplace 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. Folks leaped from windows, fled with nothing however their nightclothes, and in some circumstances nothing at all. In minutes, the place was aglow, lit up in a macabre mild of raging destruction. Shops of gunpowder in varied storerooms exploded. Girls with kids ran screaming to the waterfront. The men of the town joined in with soldiers of the 37th and the 8th regiments, who have been stationed on the barracks where the hospital is now, in a vain try to avoid wasting the city. The few water pumps they possessed had fallen into neglect, and the assorted wells have been quickly emptied. Horses and mules, tethered in stables all around the town, screamed in terror as they were killed, or bolted wildly down the blazing streets.
Nearly all the buildings have been destroyed, 12 square blocks in all burnt fully, 49 blocks partially. 435 houses were gutted, making four,500 individuals homeless. The harm exceeded a million pounds sterling!
It was, in fact, Trinidad’s first catastrophe. The town was rebuilt, this time of stone. One can still see the high limestone walls between the buildings in Port of Spain that were erected as fireplace walls to stop the repeat of such a catastrophe.