Travel House Barbados
George Washington, later to become the 1st President of the United States of America, visited Barbados in 1751 and spent about two months.
Barbados was the only country he ever visited outside colonial America.
This fact alone should make a tour of George Washington House, the place where he stayed while in Barbados, a must-do activity for all visitors from the USA.
The House, now appropriately under the control of the Barbados National Trust, is also of interest to other visitors, including Barbadians, as it gives useful insights into life as it was in the Barbados of 250 years ago.
The ground floor of the building is furnished in the manner in which it might have been in 1751. On display are such basic items as a four poster bed with a rather lumpy mattress surrounded with mosquito netting very much needed then as protection against these little pests, a small face basin and ewer in one corner and, under the bed, the very necessary chamber pot since at that time there were no indoor bathroom facilities. Other rooms display different requirements for “civilised” living – chairs of various kinds, a marble table top on which to place hot dishes, and various items of crockery and cutlery, some recovered from the nearby gully.
The House provides interesting insights into the ways in which people of that day made the best of circumstances and were quite imaginative in “making do”, as we today would think of it, with what was available. For example ice was not available so wine bottles were kept reasonably cool in two rooms so situated as to benefit from an almost steady breeze. Interesting, as well, was the means used both to filter water and to keep it cool. Water was poured into a stone jar and because of the vessel’s porosity the water gradually dripped into another similar jar below it and from this into yet a third jar below the second one. As a result, impurities in the water were filtered out and as some of the water evaporated it absorbed warmth (heat) from the containing vessels and thus cooled the main body of water.
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