Celebrating the Bicentenary of Bertrand’s Cottage
On 20 October 1816, Napoleon’s aide-de-camp, Grand Marshal Henri-Gatien Bertrand moved into his newly built home, Bertrand’s Cottage. On 20 October 2016, to mark the bicentenary of the Bertrand family moving in, the newly restored guesthouse and training facility held an open day for the public to enjoy a sneak preview prior to the official opening in early December.
The restoration and renovation project was initiated by Enterprise St Helena (ESH), following the transfer of the building to ESH from the St Helena Government. The open day was also an opportunity for the public to visit the neighbouring Longwood Enterprise Park, currently under re-development. The two, along with the French-owned properties of Longwood House and the General’s Quarters, will form a key business, social and tourism hub as well as providing much-needed visitor accommodation
Bertrand’s Cottage & Longwood Enterprise Park Open Day
The open day began with speeches of welcome from Robert Midwinter, Director of Policy Development and Social Enterprise, Anthony Thomas, ESH Board Member and Chairman of the Projects Sub-committee, and Michael Harper, ESH Trainer and Assessor; following which visitors were given a tour of the house showing the Ebony Restaurant, upskilling kitchen, Bertrand’s Dining Area, sitting areas and bedrooms.
Guests were also shown progress to date at the Longwood Enterprise Park and were able to view some of the units that will shortly become available for local businesses.
Renovation works commenced at Bertrand’s Cottage on 13 October 2015, following a ground breaking ceremony held as a part of the Napoleonic Bicentenary commemorations.
Once the facility has officially been opened (scheduled for early December 2016), Bertrand’s Cottage will provide three double en-suite bedrooms along with a restaurant capable of catering up to 24 guests.
Hospitality training facility
The property will also act as an upskilling and training centre for St Helena’s food industry, helping to deliver high quality, relevant hospitality training (kitchen, restaurant and accommodation) according to the needs of the existing and future hospitality and catering businesses on the Island. The centre will offer vocational opportunities for apprentices, current hospitality businesses and aspiring chefs.
Speaking of Bertrand’s new upskilling programme, Hospitality Trainer and Assessor, Mike Harper said: “We want to provide a focal point for career development and learning for the hospitality sector by engaging with key stakeholders, especially young persons, Saints interested in working in hospitality and local hospitality businesses.”
The Bertrand’s Cottage project was managed on behalf of ESH by ProArc. The main contractor undertaking the refurbishment works was Isaac Construction, with additional external works undertaken by Doy’s Construction.
The Longwood Enterprise Park is currently progressing towards completion and, once opened, will have a total of eight units comprising 127m2 ‘pack house’ facilities, and seven smaller clean business units. These re-development works are being undertaken by Dalco.
Chief Executive for Economic Development, Niall O’Keeffe, said: “As an organisation we strive to deliver on projects and initiatives requested by the community of St Helena. The high quality projects on view today impact positively on heritage, tourism, and the private sector.”