Heritage Home of Cheddi & Janet Jagan
65 Pln. Bel Air, Greater Georgetown, Guyana
The house was designed by Dr. Jagan and built during 1966. The family moved in at the end of 1966. This was their 1st owned home, as up to that time they had lived in rented houses since returning to British Guiana in 1943 and also at Red House when Dr. Jagan was Premier from 1961-1964. Their children had both left by 1972 for studies overseas.
Dr. Jagan lived here until 1992 when he moved to State House after being democratically elected President of Guyana and where he lived there until his illness on February 14, 1997.
Mrs. Jagan returned home in 1997 after Dr. Jagan passed away and lived here until her death on March 28, 2009. She also lived here while she was President from 1997-1999.
A few changes were made to the house in 1997. Originally the front of the house which is now grey was dark wood that had been stained. The kitchen and bathroom were redone.
The Jagan's modest wooden home consists of three bedrooms, one bathroom, a study, living room, dining room and a kitchen.
Their home was declared open to the public for viewing by their daughter, Nadira on April 30, 2009. It is managed by the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre. It is located at 65 Plantation Bel Air, in Georgetown, Guyana. Currently it is closed to the public.
This room was used as a political meeting place, if the family had other visitors. There used to be a door opening out to the yard, but because water tended to seep in when it rained heavily, it was later closed in. This was the only change made to this room from its original state.
The Living Room
The main focal point of this room is the carpet that was purchased by Dr. Jagan at Kissoons Furniture Store in 1966.
The large collection of books, found in all the rooms of the house cover a wide range of topics – politics, the classics, biographies, art, poetry, plays, light fiction, economics, history, dentistry, nursing and the list goes on; there are specific books dealing with the politics, life and culture of Third World Countries – Asia, Africa, Latin America & the Caribbean, the Socialist countries, Europe and North America.
The paintings and sculptures in this room and the other rooms in the house were collected by Mrs. Jagan over the last 66 years.
On the walls are copies of the original paintings done by such Guyanese artists as Stanley Greeves and others, along with other foreign artists.
The photo of Kaieteur Falls was taken by their daughter Nadira and presented to Dr. Jagan on his 75th birthday. The blue chair in the room was placed there and used by Mrs. Jagan during the last few years of her life.
The large photographic collection covers the period from the 1940s to 2009. They include historical photos from their early days in the USA, the early political struggle, the history in photos of the 1953, 1957, 1961 and 1992 PPP Governments, photos of private moments with family, overseas visits, State visits and their funerals. All these photos are available on disc at the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre.
The study was designed to house all of Dr. & Mrs. Jagan’s papers and books, and to provide a quiet space for them to work.
The desk that Dr. Jagan worked at was bought for him by his father, after he returned to British Guiana from the USA. This is where he sat down to write his articles, speeches and most importantly, many of his books, including his autobiographical work, The West on Trial.
The painting of Dr. Jagan above his desk was hung there after his death.
Dr. Jagan enjoyed resting in the hammock and that is why you would have found that he had one at his office at Freedom House during his years as Leader of the Opposition and also one at State House when he was President from 1992-1997.
The typewriters at Mrs. Jagan’s desk are the ones she used to type up her articles for Thunder and the Mirror along with her children stories and her personal correspondences. She never used a computer. After she returned home in 1997, she hand-wrote her weekly articles at the dining room table.
The size of the veranda was enlarged in 1995 and a covered roof added. This is where the Jagan’s enjoyed entertaining their guests, and spent their private and relaxing moments.
Almost all of the trees in the yard were planted by Cheddi Jagan. He took care of the yard and the planting of fruit trees, flowering trees such as the flamboyant trees, vegetable gardens, and flowers. He loved his orchids. He also at different time had chickens, rabbits and even sheep. Working in the yard was a joy for him, and his form of relaxation. He spent hours there whenever he had the chance. Unfortunately he was not able to spend time doing this during his years as President.
The Dining Room & Kitchen
The family had all their meals in the dining room . Meals were never eaten in the living room. The BBC was always on in the mornings during breakfast.
The stove was purchased in 1966. The kitchen was remodelled in 1997 and a few changes were made to the cupboard doors.
When there was not any extra help in the house, Mrs. Jagan cooked the meals and cleaned the house but Dr. Jagan would clear the table and wash up the dishes. His job was to polish the wooden floors when they needed to be done.
Their Private Lives
Sundays– the only day off if they did not have meetings in the countryside – were spent quietly. The mornings would begin with Dr. Jagan in the yard and Mrs. Jagan cleaning the house. For lunch - Mrs. Jagan’s Sunday meal of roast chicken, baked potatoes, stuffing and lots of fruits. After lunch they would both have a nap then they would sit together on the veranda or go to the sea walls for a walk. Later in the evening Mrs. Jagan would sit and read a book – she loved reading. Dr. Jagan would end up at his desk. This was their life together, a loving couple who together made so many positive changes to the lives of so many in Guyana.