Built in 1799, this was one of the largest and finest merchant houses in Falmouth. It has long been associated with the Barrett family, who came out to Jamaica in Cromwell’s invading army in 1655.
The poet, Elizabeth Barrett, is perhaps the best known member of this family. The Barrett House contained a store on the ground floor, shaded by a colonnaded walkway, and accommodation for the family on the upper floor. Realising the importance of this fine building and the urgent need to protect what remained, the FGSJ and the GSJ have made several attempts to protect it through remedial work, but a combination of neglect by its owners and damage by successive hurricanes has reduced it to a masonry shell: nothing remains of the upper floor.
The Barrett House has for many years been owned by the Methodist Church, which would like to see it restored and put to commercial use, but the cost of what would now be a reconstruction rather than a restoration is likely to be an obstacle for most, including the FGSJ.
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23 November 2017, London