West Indies Chattel House — beginning mid-19th century

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Chattler Houses in Barbados

More Architectural House Styles


'Chattel Houses' are most often associated with the islands of the Caribbean West Indies. We experienced their legacy during a trip to Barbados (2007). After emancipation in the mid‑nineteenth century, former slaves were permitted to reside as tenants on lots of the various plantations. Continuity, tenure and 'terms' were, however, subject to the whims of the landowners. Therefore the tradition evolved of building homes in a manner by which they could be dismantled, transported by simple conveyance (originally, horse-drawn carts), and reassembled at a different site.

These early homes were rarely larger than one or two rooms, though some expanded to varying degrees as the needs and sizes of families grew.

Typical features:



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