British Virgin Islands ( Fort Purcell, Tortola )

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Material Information

Title:
British Virgin Islands ( Fort Purcell, Tortola )
Series Title:
Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions : drawings and reports, 1990 - 2012
Physical Description:
Mixed Material
Language:
English
Creator:
Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions
Publisher:
Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions
Place of Publication:
Corning, NY
Publication Date:

Record Information

Source Institution:
Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions
Holding Location:
Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution.
System ID:
AA00012428:00015


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} i'-fMC, ,CJ 0 I IN L-L-! 0 (. I j 0 C 0 I C \ 71E'F<-N (.) I 0 t.-o r--r, r I i J Q l 1 \ I 1 "--Ill I ) } I I 1 I r "'" .. -.. -; ) '" r-ic'"" i r-r,'---/ ) I I _. FACT OR Y B UILDING TH ORN T O N PL ANTA TIO N A PRIL 1 9 94 T o r tol a, B ri ti s h V i rg i n I s l ands liS" = I' Prepared for the Historic Sites Committee Drawn by CVE Caribbean Volunteer Expedition Box 388 Co min g, NY 14830 USA

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) J FORT FLOOR PLAN FORT PURCELL,TORTOLA eYE BOX 388 CORNING NY 14830 11/00

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1+ ) ( t:AiC-Hlv'CE I-J T '" !--t--1"' .. kA -r; I="'-.4-4-'!" c> :r:. -CISTERN AND CATCHMENT FORT PURCELL,TORTOLA eVE BOX 388 CORNING NY 14830 11/00

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EXPLORATION FORT PURCELL TORTOLA, BVI DATE: NOVEMBER 2000 BY CARIBBEAN VOLUNTEER EXPEDITIONS BOX 388 CORNING NY 14830 T: 607 962 7846

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FORTPURCELL,TORTOLA Purpose Fort Purcell is one of the oldest structures in the British Virgin Islands, and was constructed and used by the Dutch and English during the seventeenth to early nineteenth centuries. Because of its history, and potential to become a heritage site, Mitch Kent of the H. Lavity Stoutt Connnunity College asked Caribbean Volunteer E x peditions to come to Tortola to explore and document the site. Findings Our goal was to produce drawings of the fort and other buildings. However because the site was so very overgrown we were only able to measure and find some of the ruins here Our site plan is only a d i agram and needs further clearing and survey work. We were able to measure the fort itself, the catchment and cistern, a smaller building to the northwest and part of a platform to the east of the catchemnt. The fort itself is a small but perfectly symmetrical stone structure facing south toward the sea. The east and west walls are spayed back at 6O-degree angles. The two north wings contain platforms on the upper level and vaulted rooms on the lower level. The eastern room has incised and painted artwork on the plastered walls. Parts of the fort probably had wood floors, for beam po c kets were evident. The walls are rubble stone, once plastered, with large cut stones at the comers. Brick was used around door and window jamb openings. There are remains of brick embrasures on the topthough these are in poor condition Mitch Kent had cleared around the fort walls and also cleared on top of the east wing ; However the west wing and other parts of the walls still have vegetation which is destroying the walls The roots of a large tree on the east is also causing damage to the walls here The fort is about 75 feet from the sea at this time. To the northeast of the fort is a well preserved catchment and cistern. Th e catchment (about 49 by 44 feet ) is on a hill to the north and drains into a cistern. There are three curved masonry walls which supported a roof over the cistern at one time. The entire sit e is full on many more platforms and the remains of buildings. Due to th e ex tremely overgrown conditions we were able CA RIBBEAN V OL UNTEE R EXP EDI TI ON S B O X 388 CORNIN G NY 1 483 0 N OV, 2000

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to only find a few of these. To the north of the fort is a platform with steps near the center To the east of this is a cistern and catchment, and to the east of this are two more platforms with steps, and the remains of higher walls. North of the catchment were again more platforms, walls, and steps A small building was located to the northwest of the fort. Further Work As a first step, further exploration should be done at the site. Clearing especially is important in finding all the walls and accurately documenting the ruins. Archeological exploration and research into the history of the site will be important to understanding the significance of this site. The site could be an impressive heritage site. The fort itself is a well preserved and interesting building. Because there are so many other buildings on the site, the site would be an interesting example of British military architecture and history. We would see extensive clearing and stabilization as anrst step in the preservation of the site. A Master Plan showing access, parking, interpretation is important to develop the site into an attractive heritage attraction. Acknowledgements Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions is a non-profit organization, which recruits volunteers to work with local Caribbean agencies on historic preservation projects. Volunteers on this project included Anne Hersh Corning, NY; Suzanne Gordon, Nevis; and William Worth of Denver Colorado. We wish to thank especially Mitch Kent, for inviting us to Tortola, and for all his help on the site. We also want to thank Jenny Wheatley and also the Tourist Board for their help and support. CVE would like to schedule another trip to work on this exciting site in the near future. C ARIBBEAN VOLUNTEER EXPEDITIONS BOX 388 CORNING N Y 14830 NOV, 2000

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