Sunningridge - near Entrance

Sunningridge - near Entrance

I had to go downtown today to do some business and while I was there I stopped in at one of my favorite places, West Hill St. Nowadays, no one lives in the center of downtown except the Governor-General, who resides at his Government House, but this was not always so. The two streets that lead to Government House are West Hill St and East Hill St, and they are lined by houses built in the nineteenth century. Some of these houses have been turned into restaurants or offices, but sadly, some of the houses are falling into ruin. My favorite derelict mansion is called Sunningridge. As I was taking pictures of it today, a middle aged white Bahamian passed me, shaking his head, and kept saying “Beautiful Nassau is gone! Beautiful Nassau is gone!”

Sunningridge - Looking out into Court, ground floor

Sunningridge - Looking out into Court, ground floor

It’s not gone, but what remains is often (too often?)  a decadent beauty, the beauty of something riddled with decay, parasite plagued, rotting. Sunningridge is a part of that decadence.  Many years ago, a Canadian developer, Jeffrey Waterous, bought the property, and vowed to restore it. He gutted the building, then left it vulnerable to the elements. So it has been swept by hurricanes, encroached upon by the gardens that must have made it delightful, once, and it is probably totally structurally unsound, waiting to fall apart. I go there and wonder who lived there, who died there, who played in the backyard, who had sex there (maybe who has sex there, abandoned buildings attract sex) who was a servant there, who loved the house, and what they would think of it now. I would love to live there, but aside from not having the money to buy such a place, the rot has probably gotten into its bones…it is probably past any kind of restoration, no matter how radical. For this I am sorry.

Nassau 055

Sunningridge - Vestibule East

Sunningridge - Vestibule East

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