In 1897, as Trinidad was preparing to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, the buildings were given a coat of red paint, and the public promptly referred to them thereafter as the Red House. This direct ancestor of our present Red House was burnt to the ground on the 23rd March, 1903, during the Water Riots. On the day of the fire, while the new Ordinance regarding the distribution of and payment for water in the town was being debated in the Legislative Council, a protest meeting was held in Brunswick Square by the Ratepayer’s Association, as there was much public dissatisfaction over certain clauses contained in the Ordinance which increased the water rates. At the end of the meeting, the crowds became noisy and stones were thrown, and all the windows of the Red House were smashed including a stained glass window in the chamber which was erected to commemorate the arrival of Christopher Columbus in Trinidad. When a woman was arrested by a policeman, the mob immediately became riotous. Stones were thrown into the Council Chamber and the Members were forced to protect themselves under tables and desks and behind the pillars. Still, the Governor, Sir A.C. Maloney, refused to withdraw the Ordinance. When it became known that the lower storey of the building was on fire, the riot act was read, following which the police opened fire on the crowd. Sixteen people were killed and forty-two injured, and the Red House was completely gutted. After the fire only the shell of the Red House remained.