|Architectural style||Edwardian, Italian, Caribbean|
|Location||Tweedside Rd., (Hwy 5), Two Mile Hill, St. Michael, Barbados|
|Current tenants||Freundel Stuart (2010–present)|
Ilaro Court (pronounced: il'larō kôrt) is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Barbados. Ilaro Court was designed and built in the early 1920s by Lady Gilbert Carter, an American artist whose husband Sir Gilbert Thomas Carter was Governor of Barbados from 1904 to 1911. The name Ilaro was derived from a town in Nigeria where the Governor was stationed when he was an officer. This gracious mansion built of local coral-limestone successfully combines Edwardian, Italian, and Caribbean architectural features into a distinctive and individualistic whole; it boasts the first swimming pool in Barbados — in which Prince Edward the Prince of Wales bathed when he visited Barbados. The large, park-like garden has a gazebo, fishpond and orchid house.
The property was purchased in 1976 by the then Barbados Labour Party government under Prime Minister The Rt. Hon. "Tom" Adams and was set to be a cultural centre; but the decision was made by the Cabinet to move the Prime Minister's residence from Culloden Farm where it had been under Errol Barrow and make Ilaro Court the official residence of the Prime Minister. The house was extensively refurbished throughout the early years of the 1980s and filled with antique furniture most of which had been made by the talented prisoners of the Glendairy prisons. In 1984 Tom Adams and his family moved into the residence officially and made it their home; unfortunately however, Tom Adams died a year later of a heart attack in the study.
Thereafter, all persons who held the office of Prime Minister in Barbados, stayed at the residence, with the exception of Rt. Hon. Errol Barrow (later Rt. Excellent) who stated that he would not feel "comfortable living in a house that cost so much money." Among the Prime Ministers who stayed at the residence were the Rt. Hon. J.M.G.M. "Tom" Adams, the Hon. Bernard St. John, the Rt. Hon Lloyd Erskine Sandiford later Sir. Lloyd, the Rt. Hon. Owen Arthur, the Hon. David Thompson, and the Hon. Freundel Stuart
Ilaro Court has not been free from criticism: following the death of Prime Minister Errol Barrow in 1987, his successor Lloyd Erskine Sandiford stated that he would not move into the mansion, but his constituents told him that he should move into it. In a public-opinion poll conducted by one of Barbados' leading newspapers, the majority of the population expressed their dissatisfaction at the amount of money spent on the restoration of the residence but stated that as it had been declared the official residence of the Prime Minister, the holder of that office should reside in it no matter his political affiliation.
Today, the grounds of the residence are used by many organizations for shows, whether they be fund raisers or otherwise. During the Owen Arthur administration, his then wife Mrs. Beverly Arthur hosted the yearly event "Carols by Candlelight".
The property is maintained by the Barbados National Trust which ensures that all historic buildings are kept in a decent state of repair, preserving as much of Barbados' history as possible. At various times of the year the National Trust organizes tours to the mansion so locals and visitors alike can see where the head of the government spends most of his time.
In May 2010 Prime Minister David Thompson moved back to his St. Philip residence after he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He subsequently died on 23 October 2010. Ilaro Court remains without an occupant for the time being, awaiting the official move by newly appointed Prime Minister of Barbados, the Honourable Freundel Stuart.
Sir Gilbert Carter in retirement at Ilaro Court
- Ilaro Court, The National Conservation Commission of Barbados