Sometimes all it takes is a dash of creativity and a heavy dose of determination as a traditional Caymanian style cottage finds a new home at the National Trust Mission House in Bodden Town.
As our capital of George Town is redeveloped and the old homes replaced with contemporary new buildings, it’s good to see the Clayton Nixon house saved and relocated through a collaboration with the National Trust, Ministry of Culture and a number of others.
The Clayton Nixon House, originally on Goring Avenue, is believed to have been built in the 1800’s. Moving the house was no easy task – Miguel Brown of Green Iguana Construction Company had to secure the house with plywood and transport from George Town to Bodden on a flatbed.
A special shout out to the Royal Cayman Islands Police for escorting the home safely through traffic and to the Caribbean Utilities Crew who spent six hours assisting. Thank you for your commitment and hard work under the leadership of ronnie Ramatour.
According to the Ministry of Culture, the Clayton Nixon house is named after a former owner and thought to have been constructed by his grandfather.
A press release quotes Culture Minister, the Honorable Dwayne Seyour as saying “The structure is one of the only remaining examples of an early home, and was possibly built and owned by a slave family. It is also a fine example of traditional Caymanian construction techniques with walls that include wattle and daub as well as limestone.”
So how did this all happen? Ally McRae brought the issue up to NCB Group who agreed to help find a way to do what they could. That lead to the establishment of a group of stakeholders who worked to verify the historical value of the home, developing a plan and obtaining Cabinet approval.
The stakeholders’ group included: NTCI Historic Programmes Manager Rhonda Cornwall (former) and Stuart Wilson (current), NTCI Chairman Andrew Gibb, NTCI Historical Preservation Committee members John Doak and Cathy Frazier, NTCI Volunteer Sue Gibb, and as we mentioned, NCB Group property company representative (former) Ally McRae who brought the plight of the home to the group’s attention, as well as Alan Wight.”
Noting that there is currently no legislation to protect Caymanian built heritage, Acting Chief Officer Nellie Pouchie says that Government is considering whether this can be addressed under the National Development Plan and the National Culture and Heritage Policy.
In the interim, ad hoc approvals like this one will be supported by the Ministry, which ties in with Policy Direction 5 Ensuring the place of Culture and Heritage in Development of the National Culture & Heritage Policy and Strategic Plan 2017-2026.
“The Cayman Islands has developed so quickly over the past several decades that we have lost some irreplaceable historical structures and others are still at risk today. Through the National Culture and Heritage Policy the Ministry hopes to ensure appropriate levels of protection for these historic buildings which are so important to preserving our Caymanian heritage”, Ms Pouchie adds.Press Release
A stepwell of historical value is also located on the Goring Avenue property, which the group hopes the developers will preserve on site.