National Trust of Guyana

High Court

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Location: Lacytown, Georgetown

Classification: Governmental

Period/ Year Built: 1887

Historical Background / Description:

The High Court, previously called the Victoria Law Courts, is located with its main façade facing Avenue of the Republic; the site is also bordered by King Street on the east, Charlotte Street on the north and South Road on the south. It is one of the oldest courts in the country. Prior to the 19th century, the proceedings of the then British colony were held in a chamber at the Court of Policy (Public Buildings). 

A petition dated 1878, was made by the British Guiana Court of Policy which operated out of the Public Buildings to construct a building to execute the proceedings of the court. In June 1878, the petition was accepted and the site of Colony House (the official residence of the Colony’s Governors) was selected. 

The “L” shaped building was designed by Baron Hora Siccama, the Colonial Engineer at the time and Mr. Cesar Castellani, then Assistant Architect attached to the Public Works Department. The building is considered to have primarily two architectural styles; many historians and architects believe this was because of the two designers (Siccama & Castellani) that worked on the structure at different stages. 

The ground floor of the building is constructed of masonry and steel columns which were believed to have been designed by Siccama; this illustrates the classical architectural elements of Europe. The timber framed structure on the first floor which is believed to have been designed by Castellani, is reminiscent of Tudor style wooden architectural structures built during the reign of King Henry VIII England during the mid-16th century.

The Victoria Law Courts was formally declared opened on May 24, 1887, on Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, by Governor Sir Henry Irving. On the lawns of the court, is the Queen Victoria Statue; the marble statue was erected in 1887 to also mark Queen Victoria’s year of Jubilee.