Saturday, July 29, 2006

British Presence project shortlisted

"The British Presence in Bahia: A New Perspective on the History of Brazil and Britain," by Sabrina Gledhill and Ernesto Carvalho, has been shortlisted for the 2006 edition of the Odebrecht Group's Clarival do Prado Valladares Award. Historian Consuelo Novais Sampaio won the inaugural award in 2004, which resulted in the publication of 50 Anos de Urbanização - Salvador da Bahia no Século XIX (50 Years of Urban Development - Salvador da Bahia in the 19th Century). Sabrina Gledhill's proposal to republish the works of African-Brazilian vindicationist Manuel Querino was shortlisted in 2005.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Message from the St. George's Church and British Cemetery Society

The British Church and Cemetery at Salvador are owned and administered by the "SOCIEDADE DA IGREJA DE SÃO JORGE E CEMITERIO BRITANICO" (a non-profit making organisation), representing the British community in Bahia.

For a great number of years the Society was unable to protect the cemetery and carry out the necessary maintenance work due to lack of funds, with the result that the cemetery was much damaged by the action of weather and vandals. However, the cemetery had become the focus of the society’s concerns since the value of the institution as a historical site reflecting early British interests in Bahia was recognised, as well as due respect for the fundamental concept of ensuring that the last resting place of those buried there should continue as a place of dignity, respect, and beauty.

To obtain some measure of protection, the Society had petitioned the State Government to declare the cemetery a site of historical interest and this status was eventually granted in September of 1993 by State law No. 2457.

In March 2003, architect Ernesto Carvalho presented a detailed project for the restoration of the cemetery, but implementation was postponed due to the absence of funding.

April 2003 saw the signing of an agreement between the Society and the FUNDAÇÃO CLEMENTE MARIANI by which these two entities became partners in the preservation of the cemetery (although ownership remained entirely in the name of the Society). As a result of this agreement funds were obtained from the State government’s FAZCULTURA initiative and Ernesto Carvalho’s restoration project was initiated in June 2004. The project provides for the repair of the retaining walls of the terrace, the repair of external walls, restoration of the cemetery house (which will include returning the house to its original configuration and the re-establishment of a chapel therein), the restoration of the gravestones, and the installation of suitable lighting in the grounds. The work is expected to be completed during the second half of 2006.

The Society is administered by a board of directors comprising President (Mr. W. Nigel Lee, since 1988), Vice-President (Mr. Michael Mullins, since 1996), Treasurer (Mr, Edward Skelton, since 1988), Secretary (Ms. Lesley Hanson de Moura, since 1988), and two "substitutes" (Ms. Sheila Dias, since 1996, and Mr. Russel Garner, since 2005). There are two members of the Fiscal Committee (Ms Denise Key, since 2003, and Mr. Robert Salem, since 2003), and a "substitute" (Mr. Tim Bradbury, since 2005). Elections for the Board of Directors and Fiscal Committee take place every two years during the Annual General Meeting to which British residents of the state of Bahia are invited.