Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Chapel

Photo by Richard Vignoles

The British Cemetery Chapel, seen from the Yacht Club

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Symposium on British Presence in Bahia


This cultural event is being promoted by the St. George’s Society and has the support and approval of the British Embassy, is in receipt of funding from FAPESB and is being hosted by the Centro de Memória da Bahia, Fundação Pedro Calmon from 3 to 7 November.

Participation is free of charge; however, places are limited. If you are interested in participating, please contact Sabrina Gledhill at britanicosnabahia@gmail.com to reserve your place.

From 3 to 7 Nov, the programme will be in Portuguese at the auditorium of the Central Library in Barris. On the 8th, a special event will be held at the British Cemetery Chapel, where the presentations that were translated during the main event will be given once again in English, without translation:
Marc Herold - "The British Contribution to Bahia"
Louise Guenther - "The British Merchant Community in Bahia in the 19th century"
John Vignoles - "Charles Blacker Vignoles and Hutton Vignoles: The British engineers who built the Bahia and São Francisco Railway"

For further information on the Symposium (in Portuguese) visit britanicosnabahia.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Brazilian Supreme Court rules in favour of British Cemetery

British Cemetery and Yacht Club

On May 21st, the Brazilian Supreme Court ruled that cemeteries that are extensions of religious entities, operate on a non-profit basis and are exclusively devoted to religious and funerary services are exempt from property tax (IPTU).

This decision was reached unanimously when judging an appeal lodged by the St. George's Church and British Cemetery Society of Salvador, Bahia, and the Anglican Church, contesting the decision of the Bahian Court, which did not recognise that the area where the cemetery is located is exempt from property tax. The Bahian treasury was threatening to auction off the historic cemetery to pay off a debt of BRL 41,831.70 (over 10,000 pounds) for the period between 1994 and 1996.

Heritage site
Situated in one of the finest districts of Salvador, Bahia (Ladeira da Barra), the Anglican chapel and cemetery were built 200 years ago by Britons who accompanied the Portuguese royal family when they arrived in Brazil in 1808.
According to the defence, the future King João VI of Portugal signed the free navigation treaty with the British goverment in the chapel (demolished in the 1970s), thereby ensuring that Anglican British subjects resident in Salvador had the right to worship and bury their dead.
The cemetery has been listed as a heritage site at the state level and is in the process of being listed at the federal level by the Ministry of Culture's National Institute for Historic and Artistic Heritage.

For more background information click here

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 organisation), representing the British community in Bahia.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Taxing the Dead

Photo by Sabrina Gledhill - Copyright 2008

Yesterday (02/03/08), on p. 13 of its Sunday issue, the newspaper A Tarde published an article by Mary Weinstein, titled:

"Cemetery charged property tax"

Here are two excerpts:
"The British Cemetery on Ladeira da Barra, founded after the Brazilian ports were opened to 'friendly nations' in 1808 by [the future] João VI of Portugal, owes roughly BRL 1 million in property tax (IPTU). That total is estimated by the [retired] honorary British consul, Nigel Lee, based on five tax foreclosures issued in the last 15 years by the Treasury Department. He knows that, according to the notifications received, 'the property could be auctioned off' if that debt is not paid."

"For the past two years, the British Cemetery, which is about 3,200 sq.m in area, has been undergoing a process of restoration to ensure that its historic and aesthetic value is preserved.... It contains monumental tombstones, tablets and sculptures dating from the 19th and 20th centuries that comprise part of the State of Bahia's cemetery art collection, as well as being a listed heritage site. The guest book for the cemetery, which is now an open-air museum, shows that visitors from several countries have displayed interest in this historic cemetery. To go in, all you need to do is ring the bell that hangs by the front gate".

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Scenes from the Rededication Ceremony

Rededication of the British Cemetery

Click on the photo to see the slideshow

Rededication of the British Cemetery

The President, Board of Directors and members of the St. George’s Church and British Cemetery Society are holding a reception to celebrate the rededication of the British Cemetery (founded in 1811), which will take place at 12:00 on 26th February 2008, with the presence of the British Ambassador to Brazil, Dr. Peter Collecott. On this occasion, the Ambassador will award Mr. W. Nigel Lee with an MBE (Member of the British Empire) for his services to the British Community.