Battlefield (Central) Park when it was bare ground, 1920's, also a few views from a bit more recently. The park is in front of the Supreme Court.
This was the old Military Parade grounds, ( known as The Battle Field ). The Building on the left is where Brodies now stand. On the right is the old Government Building used for many purposes. The building that follows is the Old Rita's Store ( then called Rita's Mart ) and the Old Abdo's Store, thereafter Romacs. and now Central Commercial Shopping Mall). Also Krug and Harley Store.
Battlefield Park is a park in the center of Belize City, Belize. The park has served as the preferred meeting place of Belize's inhabitants since 1638. Labour activist Antonio Soberanis Gómez' Labour and Unemployed Association got its start there, as did the People's United Party. In memory of that, a bust of Soberanis Gómez sits in the park. Today the park is used for meetings and concerts.
The park is in the centre of the capital's shopping district. It sits opposite the Supreme Court of Belize, whose green and white clapboard building dates from 1926.
It is named Battlefield because the Salvation Army used to use the park for their gathering before they had their headquarters and they sang a song about going into the religious battlefield.
Before it became a park it was simply known as "The Battlefield." This name dates back to 1915 and the arrival of the Salvation Army in Belize who held their early meetings there, singing "I'm on the battlefield for my Lord" a hymn written by the founder of the Salvation Army William Booth. The location's use as a public meeting place, however, dates back as far as 1638. This is where military parades were held in olden days.
This is where George Price gave that historical address on the 6th of January 1950. Here's an excerpt of that most powerful addtess by the Father of the Nation seventy years ago:
"The evidence tonight is solid and unbreakable. The people of Belize have awakened from the sleep of false hopes and empty promises, which have lulled them . - Devaluation of our dollar ( cost of living ) invades our beloved country.
Patriots we are. Loyal citizens of this country. - WE rise up to defend our God given rights, against economic slavery, human misery and bodily starvation.
We rise up in courageous and legitimate resistance against ECONOMIC TYRANNY and OPPRESSION."
The Court House Green or Battlefield Park as most of us know it today, was sold to the Magistrates of the Settlement on 8th December, 1828 for £1400. The legal transfer was done by William H. Coffin, who was the appointed Guardian for Francis Jackson, a minor. "Lot of land with all the houses thereon situated and being on the South side of the town of Belize, bounded on the north by the Lot of George Gibson Esqre, on the the south by the Public Street or Lane called Church Street, on the west by another Public Street called Middle street (Albert St,) and on the east by the Front street (Regent St.) and public Lot on which the Court house stands, being about two hundred feet in length and fifty feet in width."
To this day it hurts me when they destroyed the trees in Central Park/ Battlefield and changed the unique characters of Albert Street into a concrete jungle to resemble America. Our country is so beautiful unique and full of characters, we should stop trying to look like an American city. Just my thoughts. Now ever one is realizing how important trees are for our existance. Bernadette Burns
Those trees were started from seeds planted in tennis ball cans under my house. My Dad, Scotty Keating, cared for them tenderly until they were planted in the park. Penny Keating
Where the Barclays Bank was, on Albert Street was one of the first burial grounds of Belize City. Likewise where the old government printer, behind Barclays, served as her majesty's prison.
Top photo, Brodies across from the white building. Looks like from the view of courthouse and the sea....no monuments built. Very early stage of Albert St.
2nd photo, the Jamaican regiments I believe. See Brodies on the left.
3rd photo: In 1863, the Legislative Council resolved to acquire and declare the area a "public" space. The name of the park was derived from the spiritual battles carried out by the Salvation Army's religious crusades. At the time the Salvation Army did not have their own building so they used the Battlefield for their gatherings. The design that was used at the time for the park when this photo was taken resembles the British Flag, the Union Jack, wouldn't you say? Check out the truck!
There was a Time when the traffic flowing from Regent Street off Swing Bridge could have accessed the Albert Street traffic by driving around Central Park. That was when we're driving on the left hand side of the street.
Then we used to access Swing Bridge from off Albert Street.
Top photograph courtesy Noel Escalante
Battlefield Park in 1978 when it was nice and shady, photo by Alan Jackson. It was so beautiful and nice and cool on a hot summer day. Assinine move to cut the trees. Simply assinine. Look at the concrete jungle we have now, so sad those trees are gone. The black birds took it over and shit all over so that nobody could visit the park or enjoy a meal. I'll take blackbirds and pigeons in a park over cement and steel anytime. Sitting in the sun is hardly an alternative and it's plain and ugly. The black birds had to vacate their rookery on Stake Bank when all the trees were cut down. There were a couple Flamboyant trees in there, that would burst into bloom between April and May.
That park was the dream and hard work of my father, Scotty Keating. Those trees came from seeds I helped him plant in tennis ball cans under our house. He tended them until they were big enough to plant in the park.
In this "2 Cents Cam", we interview residents of Belize City to document the heritage and history of Battlefield Park.