On October 5, 1952 something truly extraordinary happened, time stood still and the world observed the birth of an institution like no other. This institution would become one that nurtured the growth of young, gifted and spirited people who were to become the standard for others within the University of the West Indies, and the region, to look to. This great institution was called Taylor Hall, the single most illustrious achievement of the University of the West Indies since its inception in 1948.
Taylor Hall was first occupied by 101 students, including eight freshman who moved from the old building of Gibraltar Hall on Gibraltar Camp road, to blocks A and B, formerly called Hall 111. These two blocks were the only two completed blocks on at the time, since block C was not competed until 1953. Becoming fully occupied, the Hall was officially opened in 1953 and was named after Sir Thomas Weston Johns Taylor, the first principal of the University College of the West Indies. It was also in that year that our first warden, the late Sir Sidney Martin was appointed. By 1954 block D was completed and fully occupied.
The Gibraltar Hall boys brought the bell from their chapel. This bell was continuously a source of contention between Taylor Hall and Chancellor Hall. In the rivalry, Taylor lost the bell but this was soon replaced by another emblem – the cast iron ball. Taylor Hall soon then made the transition from the iron ball to the Pelican; this emblem continues to represent the will, drive, strength and the sense of fraternity unique to the nation of Tayloria.
In 1962 blocks E, F and G, affectionately called “New Block”, were completed. These blocks were initially occupied by male residents but by 1965 became home to Excellencia, Falconia and Galaxia, collectively the Queens of Tayloria. The television room and the sub wardens’ flats were constructed in 1963.
Over the years Taylor Hall has distinguished itself from other halls in all areas and has developed a culture that is envied by other less fortunate places of abode. We have proven ourselves to be the epitome of excellence in academics, sports and culture as we have developed a tradition of maintaining the most first class honours students, winning and competing for the undisputed “Hall of Halls” title and of course earning the respect of our fellow students. We have gained the reputation of hosting the best “fetes” on campus, whilst humbly conducting two of the best community involvement programmes: the mentorship programme and the summer school programme.
Taylor Hall’s culture and solid achievement are the legacy of the hard work of our predacessors who have set the stage for the remarkable performances and records which the Hall holds to date. We can unapologetically say that great names have passed through our walls and our graduates have gone on to distinguish themselves as outstanding members of our region and the world. Our list of outstanding graduates include Nobel Peace prize winner Derek Walcott, Professor Verene Shepherd, Dr. Willard Pinnock, Dr. The Hon. Ralph Gonzalves Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Professor Edward Baugh, Professor Mervin Alleyne , Professor Stephen Vasciannie and The Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.
Article by: Chris-Anthony Salter, Hall P.R.O.