It’s your story – Don’t lose it: Commemorating World Day for Audiovisual Heritage


tttSince the development of recorded sound, moving images and broadcasting towards the end of the 19th century, audiovisual recordings have become a powerful media and archive for telling stories of our past in the 20th and 21st centuries. Through sound and moving images, we learn of our history, intangible cultural heritage, the social and linguistic diversity of our communities, and even of our oral histories.

As a country which became independent in 1962 and which started its own national broadcasting on that same date, Trinidad and Tobago’s audiovisual archives are an invaluable asset for telling the stories which have shaped our nation and identity.

Today, the National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago would like to salute the efforts being made by institutions and organizations in preserving our audiovisual heritage. Through their commitment to digitizing analogue collections and making it available to the public, they bring us
closer to our history and heritage. But still more needs to be done. Numerous recordings remain undiscovered or neglected in rooms with improper storage conditions, and with the increasing obsolescence of analogue playback equipment and deterioration of the media itself, we stand to lose this important heritage. Experts have given a 10-15 year window in which to preserve our audiovisual archive before it is lost!

As the institution with responsibility for acquiring, preserving and providing public access to the documentary heritage of our nation, and guiding in the management of public service records, the National Archives remains committed to working with government institutions and organizations to safeguard our audiovisual archives. The institution encourages the deposit of copies of productions that pertain to our history and heritage at the National Archives, as it continues to build and preserve a national audiovisual collection.

capturing-avFor more on audiovisual archives and inventories accessible on the web in Trinidad and Tobago, please visit:

Hidden Treasures – Government Information Service Ltd

Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago

Remember When Institute, Culture Division, Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts

The Banyan Archive

Posted in Archives | Comments Off on It’s your story – Don’t lose it: Commemorating World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

Colonial Planter: Christopher Irvine Part 1

Today’s blog post was written by Dr. Jesma McFarlane. Dr. McFarlane is a genealogical researcher. She was formally a zoologist who completed her post graduate work at Howard University, Washington D.C.,U.S.A. Her scientific background is an integral part of the foundation for her many years of genealogical research.

There are burial sites scattered throughout Tobago where former plantation owners are interred. Christopher Irvine, a plantation owner, died January 30, 1840 and was buried at Strawberry Hill, a section of the former Runnemede Estate in the island of Tobago, West Indies. The relic of his tomb, located on the former estate, is testament to his presence and that era of colonial occupation.


Ruins of Christopher Irvine’s Tomb (the tomb is built from coral blocks and the trestle bed with the details of his epitaph can be seen from the opening)

His historical sojourn extended from Tobago to the United Kingdom and was affected by both the English (1778 and 1793) and French (1781) occupation of the island.  Christopher Irvine bought this Strawberry Hill property that was advertised in Tobago, St. Vincent, Grenada and London, from estate owners George and William Forbes about 1791.

Based on the minutes of the House of Assembly, it appears that William Forbes under the Treaty of Versailles, 1763, purchased 400 acres of land identified as Lot #36, Courland Division in 1770. He and his brother George were also co-partners in Culloden estate (an estate in the same parish). Around 1780 William and George became indebted to Miles Barber, a merchant in Liverpool, England. They decided to mortgage 300 acres of Lot #36 (having previously sold 100 acres to John Hamilton, of which we will write about in another blog) and also a security on the crops of Culloden and the crops of the estate, which was involved in a £300 debt. Christopher was the only bidder and had to pay, based on the appraisal, £5 per acre for the woodlands, £15 per acre for lands with provision, and £10 per acre for brush land. He paid most of the cost and while awaiting a title proceeded to clear 240 acres, cultivated the greater part in sugar cane, restored the sugar works and other buildings and acquired 14 enslaved persons.

However, he had to petition the Tobago House of Assembly in 1793/1794 to procure his title before paying the full sum.  The petition was brought to the House of Assembly on August 11, 1794 and stated in part “…arrête  pour offrerer l’investiture de fief simple de trios cents acre de terre partie do lot no. 36 de la Paroisse de St. David de lisle de Tobago, et de quatorze negres esclaves autrefois appurtenant au feux William and George forbes habitants de cette isle in la personne de Christophe Guillaume Irvine Citoyen.”



Sugar Mill Ruins


Posted in Archives | Comments Off on Colonial Planter: Christopher Irvine Part 1