A History of International Style
Lyford Cay was named after Captain William Lyford Jr., who was awarded the land by Royal Decree from King George III in 1788. The modern history of the island began when Canadian industrialist and thoroughbred horse breeder E. P. Taylor, affectionately known as Eddie, visited Nassau in 1945. He was intrigued by the western end of New Providence island, then patchy dirt roads and Mangrove swamps. Trained as an engineer and a successful developer in Toronto, Taylor had a vision and purchased the 2,800-acre parcel of land from Sir Harold Christie in 1955.
Taylor assembled a world-class team of community planners and landscape designers and began work on a masterfully designed luxury community. Construction began in November 1956 with acres of marshland transformed by feats of modern engineering into rolling hills, arable land, and a golf course. Roads were carved through rock, thousands of truckloads of fill were moved into place, and water diverting canals were created to finally bring Taylor's vision of Bahamian paradise to life.
E. P. Taylor had a vision and purchased the 2,800-acre parcel of land from Sir Harold Christie in 1955.
Construction began in November 1956 with acres of thick marsh being miraculously transformed into hills, usable land and an all-important golf course.
With the grounds in place, Taylor shifted his attention to the buildings. He believed that superior architecture and world class design would be mitigating factors in his success and went about commissioning legendary architects like John Volk who had achieved fame in Palm Beach and British master Henry Melich to design buildings that still resonate today.
He brought in his friend the esteemed interior designer Lady Annie Orr Lewis (pictured here with her good friend Lady Virginia Christie to her left) who had close ties to the British Royal Family to create a place in paradise that would attract his globally chic group of friends and ultimately join Mr. Taylor as founding members of the Lyford Cay Club which opened with great aplomb in 1959.
Lyford Cay was an instant sensation with royals, celebrities, entertainers, world leaders and society jetting into Nassau and making the short drive to Lyford Cay to enjoy top-notch golf; world class reef diving; superior amenities, cuisine and an internationally vibrant social life. Mr. and Mrs. William S. Paley were frequent visitors.
Taylor hired his first manager from the George V in Paris and a master chef from the Hotel du Cap soon followed.
Celebrated American photographer Slim Aarons, noted for photographing socialites and celebrities, documented society at Lyford Cay in the 1960s and 70s.
The 1960s ushered in visits from jet-setters like Gunther Sachs and his wife Brigitte Bardot. Frank Sinatra performed here as well.
Sean Connery first came to Lyford Cay to film Thunderball in 1964 and was a member of the Lyford Cay community.
The Cuban Missile Crisis brought together British and Canadian Prime Ministers with U.S. President John F. Kennedy in the idyllic refuge of Lyford Cay.
Taylor had the foresight and vision to build a community that has grown from seasonal to year-round and is as vibrant and adaptable today as it was sixty years ago. Taylor aimed for and achieved elegance personified and will forever be revered by the membership of Lyford Cay Club.