The Demerara Window – the Colonial Air Conditioner – By Murtland Haley

The Demerara Window – the Colonial Air Conditioner – By Murtland Haley

‘Red House”. High Street. Kingston. Georgetown

Before Independence in 1966, Guyana, then British Guiana was a colony of Britain. Berbice, Essequibo and Demerara were controlled and occupied by the Dutch, Spanish and French before being ceded to the British in 1814.


In 1831, Essequibo-Demerara and Berbice were combined as one colony, British Guiana. Based on the occupation and colonisation of Guiana by these European nations, much of the initial architectural designs would have been influenced by European style and culture. The buildings bearing these qualities which have survived until today can be described as historic.

Therefore, Guyana’s architectural legacy would be a combination of architectural styles from these colonisers. However, since Britain was the last to leave, Victorian architecture dominated. These styles would have been altered somewhat to accommodate the climatic conditions specific to Guyana.  

One element of that history as it relates to architecture is the “Demerara Window”. Off the bat, many may not know exactly what the Demerara Window is; at least I was clueless when I first heard the name. In reality we see Demerara Windows almost every day on most colonial-styled buildings.    [READ MORE]

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  • Deen  On 04/24/2017 at 5:55 am

    Interesting. Informative article. Thanks now I know what the Demerara Window is, in addition to a Berbice Chair.

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 04/24/2017 at 1:23 pm

    With our current climate crisis of increasing temperatures, the Demerara window may, once again, become an invaluable “green” option to cooling homes.

  • demerwater  On 04/25/2017 at 8:09 am

    You know! One thing just leads to another!
    Cooler windows, Berbice chairs, Demerara sugar (and rum!) led me to the google, “Washstand”. It is a fixture that I remember only vaguely; partly because, I suspect, that it had adult connotations.
    My meandering the internet yielded –
    It sounds a lot like me.

  • Ron Saywack  On 04/25/2017 at 12:33 pm

    Test email.

  • Ian Wishart  On 04/27/2017 at 6:22 am

    When was Guyana ever a Spanish colony?

    • Ron Saywack  On 04/27/2017 at 12:51 pm

      Guyana was never a Spanish colony, per se, although it was briefly occupied by Spanish agents around 1500 in a desperate attempt to find gold.

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