National Trust of Guyana

William Russell Memorial

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The William Russell Memorial is located in the compound of Georgetown’s City Hall, on Avenue of the Republic, Lacytown, Georgetown. This commemorative monument was initially unveiled on November 29, 1892, in a small garden in Stabroek Market Square which was renamed William Russell Square. Mr. Russell, a native of Scotland, died on March 28, 1888, at the age of 61. A memorial located at the East Demerara Conservancy was also erected in memory of him. 

Mr. William Russell was regarded as the ‘planter king’ who lobbied for and designed the East Demerara Conservancy. The conservancy led to plantations along the East Coast and East Bank having an abundant supply of fresh water to irrigate the plantations. Securing fresh water from the Lamaha Canal to feed Georgetown along with the numerous plantations in East Demerara in the 1800s was very difficult. Prior to 1876, the canal went dry with every drought, and with the annual cessation of the rains. Russell proposed a new design that was based on rainfall patterns and the water levels of the existing conservancy. His proposal was faced with opposition for a brief period, but he was later given permission to provide a suitable solution.