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Roof restoration work slated for next month

By Carla Zuill

Published Apr 16, 2003

Despite receiving no funds from the Bermuda National Trust or otherwise, work on the restoration of a Bermuda-style house in the Turks and Caicos is set to begin in May, said local builder Sanders Frith-Brown.Earlier this year American brothers, Ian and Michael Dunn, appealed to the trust for assistance to fix the damaged limestone roof of the White House, located on the remote island of Salt Cay.

Despite receiving no funds from the Bermuda National Trust or otherwise, work on the restoration of a Bermuda-style house in the Turks and Caicos is set to begin in May, said local builder Sanders Frith-Brown.Earlier this year American brothers, Ian and Michael Dunn, appealed to the trust for assistance to fix the damaged limestone roof of the White House, located on the remote island of Salt Cay.It was built around 1830 by Bermudian Daniel Harriott for his family and to store salt – the mainstay of the islands’ economy at that time. The estimated cost of the repairs was said be $60,000.However, their pleas fell on deaf ears as the National Trust’s director Amanda Outerbridge said restoration of a property overseas was not in the trust’s remit.Mr. Frith-Brown, who told The Royal Gazette yesterday that he was a fourth cousin of the brothers, said because the fixing of the roof can no longer be delayed, the brothers have decided to fund the venture themselves.”But they are asking the Turks government to give them a rebate on the duty for the materials,” he said. “And they’re seeking some assistance for scaffolding.”Mr. Frith-Brown and stonemason Larry Mills are set to visit the Caribbean island on May 15.”We are going to reinstate a section of the roof,” Mr. Frith-Brown said.”We’ll stay there anywhere between ten days and three weeks, depending on what’s needed.”We’re pretty sure in that time we can repair the roof.”And again, he wanted to stress that he is volunteering his time on the project, along with paying for the airfare for both Mr. Mills and himself. However, Mr. Mills will be paid for his services.Earlier reports said Mr. Frith-Brown was going to be paid $750 per day for the 15-day project.He said he was passionate about the restoration because of the White House’s significant Bermudian ties.”It was monument to the salt trade that Bermuda engaged in…and this is the last vestige.”It should be restored and saved as a monument.”He also said the brothers were able to begin the process via telephone conversations with him and the exchanging of photographs: “They have already refastened the lathe (timbers which hold slate onto the rafters).”And while he said he had not specifically heard if the National Trust had changed their position, Mr. Frith-Brown still appealed for financial assistance, especially from those who he claimed criticised him in past Letters to the Editor.“Write a cheque in the name of the White House and I will take them to the Dunns,” he said.Despite his claim of knowing “more about restoring old Bermuda houses than all of the Island’s architects put together”, Mr. Frith-Brown added he was open to anyone’s suggestions for the White House.”More minds can come up with more solutions,” he said.