Bermudians have many reasons to be proud of their island paradise: beautiful beaches, year-round sunshine, delectable cuisine and kind and friendly people. But there is also the grandeur of its architecture that serves as a reminder of its rich nautical history.
In 1856, Bermuda, once a bastion of Royal Naval power in the Western Atlantic, built what is known today as The Clocktower Mall at The Royal Naval Dockyard. The buildings, originally called the Great Eastern Storehouse and Northern Storehouse, were built to house naval stores, including replacement gear and supplies such as oakum for repairing ships. By the mid-20th century only part of the ground floor was used for stores and the northern end contained the offices of the Captain-in-Charge, whilst the top floor contained offices for the Naval Stores Officer and the Cashier’s Department. The walls of this massive fortification are three feet thick and built from local, very hard limestone.
In 1990, in an effort to preserve the historic building, the Bermudian government transformed the building into a shopping mall. The building was restored to its former glory with beautifully restored cobblestone floors and stunning wrought-iron pillars, whilst being put to modern use.
Thanks to WEDCO, the iconic structure is now home to more than 20 stores, including a variety of fashion boutiques, gift shops, jewellers and galleries. In addition, the upper floor of the mall is also home to WEDCO’s headquarters.
The Clocktower Mall was just the beginning of WEDCO’s magical transformation of Dockyard — one of the islands’ biggest tourist attractions. WEDCO revamped three more buildings, which were part of the former HMS Malabar shore station, that will coincidentally be ready for the 35th America’s Cup. All of the hard work in preparing Dockyard to the nines is a testament to the excitement and pride Bermudians have for hosting the Cup.