Woodbrook, which was an estate area before being officially made a residential district in 1911 by the Port-of-Spain Town Board, and purchased from the Siegert family 10 months earlier, will celebrate 113 years this year. 

  It was originally the largest of an amalgamation of sugar estates founded in 1786 by Picot de Lapeyrouse who had come to Trinidad in 1783 and created the first sugar estate on the island. In 1820, he sold the Woodbrook Estate, including its sugar factory, to Henry Murray (after whom Murray Street is named).

  In 1838, Murray sold the lands to WH Burnley & Co., of Scotland. November 6, 1899, WH Burnley & Co. sold the estate to German doctor Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert (creator of Angostura bitters). The Siegerts went on to develop the Estate as a housing development, and later sold it to the Government in January 1911 with a formal handing over on November 1, states its bio.

Cover of the WRC book on Woodbrook that was launched in December last year (2022), entitled: Growing Up Woodbrook - A Tapestry of Then and Now.


Fifty years thereafter, on January 13, Woodbrook’s first secondary school, then-called Woodbrook Government Secondary Modern, then Woodbrook Government Secondary School (WGSS 1967) and currently, Woodbrook Secondary School (WSS) – one of the first three government secondary schools to be opened in T&T – was commissioned by the government.

  But little did the students of the 1960s through ‘70s know how blessed they were, to have not only gained formal secondary education there, but at an institution that was a crucial sweet particle of the rich development of one of the most prestigious communities in west Trinidad. 

Woodbrook Secondary School


On July 24, 2015, when 37 past students of the school’s graduating class of ‘72, rekindled via WhatsApp, grouped by peer Beverly Loobie, it became most apparent how powerful the school really was to the community, and how that foundation shaped their adult life. Pondered was, where did the school come from; what is Woodbrook; how they or the school measured-up, was considered or impacted, but two other sweet elements of Woodbrook that are said to be also unsung yet stand out are, the Woodbrook police, and the Woodbrook Residents Committee (WRC).

  These three elements still strongly contribute to the impressive character of Woodbrook, and are still taken for granted.

  WSS, maintaining location at 41-43 French Street, replaced the retail market with the purpose of helping develop assets to society; the Woodbrook police station fixed at Baden Powell Street, was urgently converted from a residential property to help Woodbrook remain a safe haven; and the WRC established in 2004, to help keep Woodbrook residents’ rights and comfort intact, and its history alive.

  Fervent about the community’s evolution and maintaining interest in, the three entities respectively shared some major aspects of Woodbrook that make them proud to have learned of, or they experienced in some way, or contributed to the legacy in some way.

Canadian-based Jessie Andrews, fifth, left, with some of his peers of the class of '66 - first set of students during their last year.


Streets the three particles perused: Cornelio, Carlos, Alfredo, Luis, Alberto, Rosalino, Ana, Petra, and Gallus, were named after the Seigert family after whom a square – which replaced their old sugar factory – was named, and that Siegert Square was a regular space where the 37 students mastered their art skill under teacher Farida Artman.


Streets the three particles perused: Cornelio, Carlos, Alfredo, Luis, Alberto, Rosalino, Ana, Petra, and Gallus, were named after the Seigert family after whom a square – which replaced their old sugar factory – was named, and that Siegert Square was a regular space where the 37 students mastered their art skill under teacher Farida Artman.

 They also frequently travelled the oldest streets in Woodbrook: Gatacre, Kitchener, Baden Powell (east) and Pole Carew, Brabrant, Kenny Kelly (west). Woodbrook gradually commercialised and became a busy, prosperous district with a vibrant economy, a premiere liming spot, and a living museum of architecture, continuing to be Trinidad’s greatest sport and entertainment well. Several organisations and institutions have left their mark on the cultural and sporting canvas. Some past pupils have actually set up business within.

  The past pupils clearly remember some of their and their mates’ high level of athletic and cultural experiences that added value to the Woodbrook brand at school level, continuing a legacy from those in the 1950s and ‘60s, and having left a mark for the younger ones.

  WSS ’72 Sprinters: Bernadette Belfon, Kenneth Belfast and Jacqueline Moore. Javelin, Shot Put, Long and High Jump: Calvin Crawford. Basketball: Noel McClean, Robert Sharpe, Kent Seebaran, Inskip Pollonais, Earl Wilson, Malcolm Jules. Football: Richard Sutton, Michael Potella. Cricket: Kurt McLean, Dhanraj Jagdeo, and Cricket, Football, Table Tennis, Chess, Basketball: Christopher “Chris” John.

Representing culture, Chris was a member of the WSS Choir and award Drama group, which won the Drama Arts Festival 1971 with the play Zingay. At the Woodbrook Youth Centre, table-tennis, soccer and basketball developed national football stars and successful iconic local cricketers, including the St. Hill brothers, who set a record for having been the largest number of brothers to represent T&T. These sporting icons were born in Woodbrook.

  Trinidad’s first real cinema, London Electric Theatre (Astor Cinema), constructed in 1911, was next to WSS and appropriately utilized. The iconic choreographer and dancer Beryl McBurnie, who was sister of the past students’ art teacher, founded the famous national-award winning Little Carib Theatre that produced globally-acclaimed Geoffrey Holder and Pearl Primus.

  Roxy Cinema, currently Roxy, was the go-to place for weekly children’s talent shows including WSS’, and was the Music Festival site prior to Queen’s Hall.

  Woodbrook was also the place where the prominent mas band designer, producer and leader, George Bailey, resided and brought out his band. Additionally, the world’s most outstanding, decorative and creative Mas presenter, Peter Minshall, also made Woodbrook his home for many years with his mas camp Callaloo Company on French Street.

  Some other famous elements including modern Mas and Christmas production teams: Legacy, Tribe, Kinetic Mas Ltd, Spice, Ronnie & Caro, Trini Revellers, Rosalind Gabriel, D’Midas & Associates, Fantasy, D’Krewe, Bliss, McFarlane, Genesis, Chocolate City, Elements, Evolution, Harts, Island People, K2K Alliance, and Showtime.

  Woodbrook is lit with popular steel bands, but the great thing is, WSS also contributed to that tier with Woodtrin – a collaboration between WSS and Trinity College, Moka.

  Famous Trinbagonians: the nation’s first Prime Minister, Dr Eric Williams, Sir Vidya Naipaul and his uncle Rudrunath Capildeo, Pat Bishop, William Demas, Arthur Lok Jack, Lystra Lewis, Joey Carew, and Bishop Clive Abdulah, were either born or resided in Woodbrook.

  The main arteries, Ariapita Avenue, now referred to as the entertainment strip of choice, and Tragarete Road with the signature sporting arena, the Oval, churn out awe-inspiring memories. Woodbrook’s eloquent history continues apace.

WSS' currently-used emblem/monogram, left, and the school's very first when it was Woodbrook Government Secondary Modern School

Another sweet element is the designer of WSS’ currently-used emblem. The emblem was designed in 2010 by the school's specialist teacher Baba Sule, YTEPP Centre Manager. He also supplied the Woodbrook history which can be found on the school’s website.

Woodbrook Secondary School

WOODBROOK SECONDARY (WSS): First tranche of students and Class of ’66 Canadian-based Jessie Andrews, was proud to share a photo of the school’s first monogram which he used, and was top graduating Science student. He harkened back to his era via his class of ’72 cousin, Ursaline Charles:

“Our formal wear was grey pants, white shirt, and long tie, and in 1962/63 we wore a black blazer. The school was renamed Woodbrook Government Secondary in 1967.”

  From then the school’s motto was Aim High, and its current core values are: Respect, Integrity, Caring, Honesty, and Fair Play. Its current principal is Wendell Pujadas, and vice-principal (Ag), class of ’86 Renee Ramdial said it’s a work in progress, but the school continues to add value to Woodbrook.

  In part, the school partakes in Parang, AMCHAM program, the Interact Club has grown and maintains a presence within the wider interactive community; Rotary Youth Leaders Award program (RYLA); engaged in the NASA Program, and has a vibrant online alumni association. 

Designer of WSS currently-used emblem, Baba Sule.

An act of random kindness: In 2019, five 13-year-old female students hosted a surprise birthday party for “homeless Carlos”, who they observed frequenting the streets.

In contributing towards the school’s continuing efforts to “aim high”, in May of this year, the class of ’73 Carol Tarradath and Keith Woods, former alumni presidents, donated a cheque of $10,000 to the principal, and among the students who ‘aimed high’, was class of ’72 Joy Thomas-Francis’ husband, class of ’73 Dennis Francis, who became the first Trinbagonian to be elected President of the United Nations General Assembly – the 78th president. WSS continues to cap great successes both academically and otherwise.  

Woodbrook Police

Now former head of the Station, Inspector Soodeen (earlier this year) when the interview was done and who is currently head of Administration, Sgt Ramrattan, Ag WCorp Bremnor and PC Alleyne. Insp Soodeen expressed his pleasure working in and for Woodbrook.

"I take a lot of pride in my work. It’s also a tremendous pride to actually work in Woodbrook. My team is working hard. Since I’ve been assigned here in June of last year, crime has been the lowest for eight years. I love interacting with the residents, and despite all may not necessarily favour the police, they are all worthy of interacting with and protecting.”

  Among the sweet reports on Woodbrook police, is the June 13, 2016 Facebook post by Colin Greaves, then-General Manager of Island People, whose vehicle got stolen:

“At the Woodbrook station, (to my pleasant surprise) the officers were extremely professional, courteous and helpful…. I just want to publicly thank the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), especially the officers at the Woodbrook Police Station, namely: Constable Roberts, Sergeant Gray, PC Edwards and Acting Corporal Bacchus, along with all the other officers of the Task Force, E999 Rapid Response Unit, (the female officer who answered my 999 call), and everyone else who assisted. I once again must stress how swift, professional, courteous and helpful all of the officers were during the entire ordeal."

WSS Class of '73 Carol Taradath and Keith Woods, former alumni presidents, donate a cheque of $10,000 to WSS' principal Wendell Pujadas early this year.

Chairman of Woodbrook Residents Committee (WRC) Lynette Dolly

The name of the Woodbrook Police Station proudly displays at the front of the station decorated for Christmas last year.

Founder of WSS Class of '72 WhatsApp group, Beverly Loobie

Woodbrook Residents Committee (WRC)

Woodbrook Residents Committee (WRC) Chair, Lynette Dolly, is teamed with conscientious Wendy Sealy, Grace Talma, Petal-Dawn Hinkson, Kathleen Gittens, Rhonda Wilson, Ronald Chuckaree, Ray Holman and Miguel Browne.

  Dolly said the WRC celebrated Woodbrook’s century and every year thereafter, celebrates the community, and in partnership with National Thrust of T&T (NTTT), a very distinguished gift to Woodbrook and world-over was brought to light.

  A 12-chapter book on Woodbrook combining anthropology and residents titled, Growing Up Woodbrook – A Tapestry of Then and Now, was released on December 1 last year (2022) at Mille Fleur. Author: Dr Dylan Kerrigan, editor: Ken Jaikeransingh, printer: Office Authority and publisher: NTTT.   Among the many thought-provoking topics are: the role of women in Woodbrook; stories of migration; the golden era of Carnival; heritage tourism and the creative industries; sporting life in Woodbrook; living memory of Woodbrook.

  With almost one hundred copies already sold in Barbados, Growing Up Woodbrook – A Tapestry of Then and Now is $400, and can be located at Paper Based Bookstore, Writers Centre, 14 Alcazar Street, St. Clair; Metropolitan Bookstore, Ariapita Ave; National Thrust, Con Brio, St. Clair; and UWI Bookstore, Barbados.


Woodbrook continues to be noted as one of the sweetest districts in the region.


WSS CLASS OF '72 WHATSAPP GROUP: Beverly Loobie, Donna Taitt, Earl Wilson, Roger Campbell, Inskip Pollonais, Jacqueline Moore-Henry, Kurt McLean, Marva Hicks, Terrence Wilson, Ursaline Charles, Chris John, Marcus Bernard, Shirley McLeod, Stephen Harry, Denley Calliste, Gail Mitchell, Noel McClean, Harold Baptiste, Pat Marin, Sandra Lewis, Richard Sutton, Harold Baptiste, Earl Contaste, Marianna Joefield, Maria Guevara, Anthony Knights, Phillip McDavid, Bernadette Belfon-Kretzchmar, Annette Williams, Ann Marie Mankee-Martin, Joy Thomas-Francis, Michael Potella, Ann Marie Sealy, Kirk Vanhinigin, Keston Sebarran, and Sandra L Blood, wish to profoundly thank Woodbrook and their alma mater for the experience.