Holy Trinity Cathedral
It took me until my 40th birthday to climb the 155 stairs to the top of “The Cathedral,” as Holy Trinity Cathedral (Church St., tel. 441/292-4033, fax 441/292-5421, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, admission free) is called by Bermudians, and as soon as I’d reached the tower’s eye-popping view over Hamilton, I wished I hadn’t waited so long. It’s one of the best ways to really get a sense of the city and surrounding parishes—like looking at Manhattan from the bird’s-eye view of the Empire State Building.
To the north lie Government House, Pembroke Marsh, and the North Shore shipping channel; to the east the House of Assembly, King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, and the freight docks; to the west, City Hall, Hamilton’s city grid, the Great Sound, and Dockyard; and to the south, Front Street, White’s Island, and the harbor.
The neo-Gothic Anglican church, whose interior has stunning stained-glass windows, flying arches, lady and warrior chapels, and a carved altar screen, was originally called Trinity Church. Its first cornerstone was laid in 1844, though construction suffered numerous setbacks over subsequent decades, including an arson fire in 1884 that forced authorities to tear down the whole structure and start again.
Work began again in 1886, with imported stone from Nova Scotia, Scotland, and Indiana used in conjunction with Bermuda’s own limestone. Plans by Scottish architect William Hay called for a spire to rise above the 144-foot tower, but these were scrapped after various delays. The Cathedral Tower was finally completed in 1905 and is now open to the public (10 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri., $3 adults, $2 seniors and students, children under five free).
The climb—up a slightly claustrophobic spiral, followed by regular stairs to the terrace—is not for the completely unfit, but you can take breaks along the way on two spacious landings. Watch out for the piles of pigeon dung toward the end.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition