We have been asked many questions about health centres over the past couple of weeks. Then we found this drawing produced in 1947 for the health centre in Basseterre. It was designed by the Ag Assistant Engineer J Mitchell in Antigua. It underwent several revisions. At first it was estimated that it would cost $5600.00 to build but the cost quickly went up to $7000.00. The land that was finally chosen was government owned. There were several delays in the execution of the project caused by lack of drawing materials, then lack of building materials and even lack of staff.
On the 24th July 1948 the Administrator in St. Kitts sent a telegram to the Colonial Secretary in Antigua complaining that “in spite of the repeated requests for a visit by the Federal Architect in connection with long outstanding and important matters it should now be stated that he cannot come here till August 17th. Result will be that it will not (repeat not) be possible to undertake and complete many if not all if the works referred to in my telegram 237 during current year as is urgently necessary. I foresee strong and justifiable complaint in Legislature.” The works mentioned included the health centre as well as a nurses’ annex, a public works storeroom, a warehouse annex and a teacher’s house in Nevis.
The first health centres were completed in 1951 and they included Basseterre, Cayon, Tabernacle in St. Kitts, Combermeer in Nevis and The Valley in Anguilla. In 1953 the health centres of Old Road and Dieppe Bay were completed. The one in Sandy Point was started in 1954 and probably completed in 1955.