Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 History and life
 The arts
 Back Cover

Title: Jamaica journal
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090030/00048
 Material Information
Title: Jamaica journal
Series Title: Jamaica journal.
Abbreviated Title: Jam. j.
Physical Description: v. : ill. (part col.) ; 31 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Institute of Jamaica
Publisher: Institute of Jamaica.
Place of Publication: Kingston
Publication Date: August-October 1985
Frequency: semiannual
Subject: Periodicals -- Jamaica   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Jamaica
Dates or Sequential Designation: Began with Dec. 1967 issue.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00090030
Volume ID: VID00048
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01797964
lccn - 75027862
issn - 0021-4124

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 1
    History and life
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    The arts
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32-33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Back Cover
        Page 65
        Page 66
Full Text



d, i..

This olive jar is one of the many important artifacts
which have been excavated from the underwater city of Port Royal.
Retrieved during the 1967 excavations led by Robert Marx, the jar
is currently on display at the Port Royal Archaeological Museum.
Made in Spain, olive jars were used to export a variety
of foods and liquids wine, olive oil,

olive in brine, vinegar, lard, tar and soap -
to the Spanish colonies in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The jars were used to store wine and water
in the home, and, in the case of Jamaica, asa means of hiding valuables.
I ,* ) .

at the Sevil la Nueva and Old King's House sites in Jamaica.
Made in Spain, olive jars were used to export a variety
of foods and liquids wine, olive oil,
olive in brine, vinegar tar and soap -

The jars nere used to store wine and water
in the home, and, in the case of Jamaica, asta mcins of hiding valuabls.
Olive jars have also been found
at the Sevilla a Nueva and Old King's House sites in Jamaica.

Jamaica Journal
is published on behalf of
the Institute of Jamaica
12 16 East Street, Kingston, Jamaica
by Institute of Jamaica Publications Ltd.
All correspondence should be addressed to
IOJ Publications Ltd.
2A Suthermere Road, Kingston 10, Jamaica
Telephone: (809) 92-94785/6

Olive Senior

Assistant Editor
Maxine Patricia McDonnough
Design and Production
Camille Parchment
D.E. Innerarity
Lianne Gayle
Support Services
Faith Myers Secretarial
Eton Anderson Accounting
Patsy Smith

Back issues: Most back issues are available.
List sent on request. Entire series available
on microfilm from University Microfilms,
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106, U.S.A.
Subscriptions: J$40 for four issues (in
Jamaica only); Overseas: US $15.00
Retail single copy price: J$12 (in Jamaica
only); overseas U.S. $5

Advertising: Rates sent on request.
Index: Articles appearing in Jamaica
Journal are abstracted and indexed in
Historical Abstracts and America: History
and Life.
Vol. 18 No. 3 Copyright 1985 by
Institute of Jamaica Publications Limited.
Cover or contents may not be reproduced in
wholeor in part without written permission.

ISSN: 0021-4124

J. Tyndale-Biscoe
COVER: Patterns traced by fishing tourna-
ment boats leaving Port Antonio harbour
remind us how beautiful our coastline is.
But it is ours not only to enjoy, but to
protect. See article beginning on p.57.

Vol. 18 No. 3


STYLE 1907- 1951
by Pat Green



by Verene Shepherd

by Karen Booth


by Karl Aiken and Barry Jupp

by Malcolm Hendry


by Gloria Escoffery




King Street, Kingston (c.1912) at left, sym-
Sbolises the clean new lines of the city which
i" arose from the reconstruction which follow-
.(4- ed in the wake of the 1907 earthquake and
fire which reduced the congested and chaotic
city to rubble (Harbour Street at right). The
new public structures, as shown here, were of
reinforced concrete, but most of the domestic
r buildings in the post-earthquake period were
of timber framing.

The Development of a Jamaica

The years 1907-1951 represent one
of the key periods for the develop-
ment of the 'modern' version of
the Jamaican vernacular style of archi-
tecture (described in Jamaica Journal
17:3). The way was paved for this
development by a natural disaster -
the earthquake of 1907 which was
immediately followed by fires. By the
1920s, what we will label the Modern
Jamaican Vernacular had become dis-
tinctive and continued with enrichments
until it was interrupted by the next
major natural disaster the 1951
hurricane 'Charlie' which heralded
another change in construction tech-
niques and building design.
The Jamaican Vernacular is the pro-
duct of Jamaican craftsmen operating
in a tradition which can be traced back
to the earliest days of slavery. The ver-
nacular resulted from a fusion of styles
and cultures, combining elements of the
classical Georgian style planning and
features from Europe which were used
for the design of some of the early
great houses, with the construction
techniques and decorative motifs of the
African tradition. Making its appear-
ance in the latter half of the 19th cen-
tury, that is during the post-emanci-
pation period, the style continued into
the early part of the 20th century and

was the main feature of the dwelling
houses of the small settlers of the
island [Green 1984].
The developments in construction
after 1907 ushered in the modern archi-
tectural style; we will offer definitions
of this 'modern' style below. Though
modern, the housing of the emerging
middle class was heavily based on the
styles and construction techniques of
the past, especially the vernacular style.
This post-earthquake domestic con-
struction reduced the distinctions in
architectural forms between the urban
and rural buildings; what now began
to emerge in domestic building were
distinctions based on class differences.
Part of the reason is that the new
type of dwelling house was a direct out-
growth of the rise of a middle class and
hence might be termed the architectural
style of the middle class. We will focus
mainly on such buildings in the city
of Kingston. Before doing so, however,
we will look briefly at the social, eco-
nomic and demographic factors which
gave rise to the Kingston suburbs in
which middle class housing flourished.

The Social Context
The period 1907-1951 was a tur-
bulent one. There were two world wars,

worldwide economic depression, and in
Jamaica, the impact of Garveyism, labour
unrest, the rise of trade unions and poli-
tical parties, the granting of universal
adult suffrage and other moves towards
increasing political autonomy. The
period also witnessed a great deal of
contact between Jamaica and the out-
side world. Vast numbers left as emi-
grants and there was a great deal of
travel back and forth up to the early
1920s when emigration outlets were
closed. Over 25,000 emigrants return-
ed in the period 1921-1941 (Roberts
1957]. Tens of thousands of Jamaicans
saw service overseas in both world wars.
All of these factors contributed to
changes in life styles and expressions.
Also changing was the social structure
of Jamaica which has historically shown
a direct correlation between race and

.... In general there was a close cor-
relation between colour, culture and
legal status and this was clearly ex-
pressed in the hierarchical arrange-
ment of Free Whites, Free People of
Colour, and Negro Slaves; these form-
ed the major strata [Clarke 1975] .
The abolition of slavery in 1838
and the introduction of indentured
immigrant Chinese and Indians began
to place pressures on the established

Architectural Style 1907- 51

By Pat Green

structures and patterns of residence.
Abolition marked the breakup of many
large estates, the establishment of a
free black peasantry and the growth of
rural townships. By the close of the
19th century, although the class/colour
lines continued to remain fairly rigid,
the social structure had itself begun to
change rapidly, a change brought about
by economic factors such as a shift from
a monocrop economy based on sugar to
widespread cultivation of bananas which
put money in the pockets of all classes.
Construction projects and banana plan-
tations in Latin America had also begun
to attract emigrant workers and this too
enabled members of the black and
coloured group to acquire the means to
rise in the social scale.

By the early 20th century the elite
upper class still consisted of planters
and professionals, merchants and ad-
ministrators. This class was mostly
white but was increasingly being pene-
trated by coloureds. Some Chinese and
blacks professionals or 'self-made'
men who had probably acquired a nest
egg as emigrants overseas qualified for
this class financially if not socially
[Carnegie 1973].
The middle class was mainly coloured.
They occupied secondary echelons in

administration and business, were first
class clerks, storewalkers, etc. This class
had shown a great deal of economic pro-
gress between the 1860s and 1930s, vir-
tually monopolising positions as school
teachers, shop clerks and office work-
ers. They were also growing in numbers
as lawyers, dentists, engineers, account-
ants and other professionals. By the end
of the late 19th century, blacks too had
begun to fill minor positions in the pub-
lic departments and were also quali-
fying as physicians, solicitors, barristers,
teachers and journalists [Carnegie 1973].
The majority of the population con-
sisted mainly of black people who were
part of the independent peasantry or
were agricultural workers, domestic
workers, artisans or part of the land-
less proletariat.
The pool of people who constituted
the middle and upper classes was quite
small. In the 1930s there was a pro-
fessional sector of only 20,000 people
[Carnegie 1973].

Residential Patterns in the City
of Kingston

All sectors of the population were af-
fected by the earthquake of 1907 but,
we would like to suggest, the recon-

struction which followed afforded cer-
tain sectors of the community the op-
portunity to gain a firmer foothold in
the society. It was as part of the earth-
quake reconstruction of the city of
Kingston that neighborhoods were for
the first time specifically created for the
middle class. It is within these neigh-
bourhoods that the Modern Jamaican
Vernacular developed. Previously, per-
sons who were part of the stratum emer-
ging as the middle class simply occupied
housing as it was vacated by the upper
A direct correlation between pat-
terns of residence and socio-economic
status existed. Within the city of King-
ston it was the wealthy elite who set
the pace and pattern of construction.
The Kingston merchants established
their businesses along the waterfront
and at first lived upstairs their busi-
ness places. Later they began to in-
vest in real estate and built elaborate
town houses due north and east of the
original city core. The poorer members
of the society occupied 'huts and rude
houses' situated to the rear of such pro-
perty along the lanes and on the lower
and western sections of the town centre
close to the public water supply. Such
sections quickly became densely popu-
lated because of the continuous inflow
of persons. As overcrowded tenements
continued to be a feature of the down-
town area, the white elite displayed
their power and prestige by moving
progressively further away from the
central hub to the more attractive
and sparsely populated parts of the city
where they began to establish villas on
the former sugar estates and cattle
'pens'. It was the practice that new arri-
vals to the city and the middle stratum
would then move up by penetrating the
older areas being vacated by the white
elite [Clarke 1975].
By the late 19th century the white
elite had begun to establish a pattern of
suburbs. Inner suburbs were created in
the north and eastern sections of the
city, outer suburbs on the Liguanea
Plain of St. Andrew. The outward ex-
pansion of these suburbs in the late
19th and early 20th centuries was facili-
tated first by the establishment of a
tramway system [see Jamaica Journal
16:4] and later by motor transport. The
pattern of development therefore be-
came concentrated mainly along arterial
roads, with a loose network of side
roads and houses, each standing on its
own large plot of land, with open
spaces between them [Clarke 1975].

There was also a close correlation
between socio-economic status and
population density. Persons of medium
and high socio-economic status were
associated with low densities of popu-
lation and relatively good housing: the
poorest groups were clustered in high-
density areas [Clarke 1973].

Thus by the time the 1907 earth-
quake struck, a situation existed where
1) the population had been spreading
thinly but rapidly across the Liguanea
Plain, 2) those of higher socio-economic z
status occupied neighborhoods char-
acterised by low densities of roads,
buildings and people, to which they in-
creasingly retreated from the city centre,
3) those parts of the city which had been
built before 1907 had either been con-
verted totally to commercial premises or
had been developed into high density
tenements, with the exception of
Kingston Gardens and the suburbs im-
mediately to the east of it which at the
very close of the 19th century had
begun to emerge as a suburb of the mid-
dle class. However, by the time the
earthquake struck, this area was ap-
proaching the densities of low income
areas in Central Kingston [Clarke 1973].

Effects of the 1907 Earthquake
on Construction

The widescale destruction brought
about by the earthquake and fire of
1907 which destroyed much of Kingston
facilitated a number of developments
within the construction sector.
(1) It allowed for the clearance of
many older and congested sec-
tions, thus enabling planning and
reconstruction to take place along
cleaner and more modern lines.

(2) It brought about a new building g
code with very definite guidelines
for the construction of earthquake
resistant and fire-proof buildings a
which included for the first time
the traditional timber frame con- .

The legal acceptance of Jamaican -
hard woods in the construction sector Z
paved the way for the elaboration of
the vernacular style.
After the earthquake, middle class
residences began to be established in
specifically created neighborhoods out-
side the city, in the less dense areas of
St. Andrew, within the interstices of the
elite suburbs of the Liguanea Plain.

Top: Modern Agualta Vale built c 1918, show-
ing the great house panorama. Centre and
below: One of Kingston's early suburban
villas, the White House, built by Mr William
Wilson in 1918. It was described by Planters'
Punch in 1927 as 'one of the landmarks of
Kingston . the house with its grounds is
admittedly one of the most beautiful in

YL, -___

Left, top: "Elstow" at Collins Green; above:
"Blanche Ville" on Sefton Avenue. Detail of
verandah niche displays styles of the early
Jamaican Vernacular; left: "Ardington" on
Lyndhurst Road was influenced by the Amer-
ican shingle style. Dormer windows follow
the Queen Anne fashion.

Ivy Green and Collins Green, located
between Cross Roads and Half Way Tree
close to the tramlines, were early ex-
amples of such neighborhoods in lower
St. Andrew. These were created by the
sub-division of Pens of the Liguanea
Plain from which they derived their
names [Planters' Punch 1924-25].
The earthquake had also brought
back many Jamaicans from overseas

to actively participate in the rebuild-
ing of Kingston. They were significant
contributors to developments in con-
struction; the income remitted or
brought home by emigrants was also
probably spent on housing. Addi-
tionally, foreign architects and build-
ers were brought in to assist in the re-
construction, especially of public and
larger commercial buildings and some of

the larger residences. All of these fac-
tors contributed to the 'modernising'
influence on Jamaican architecture.

Development of Building Types
Structures fall into two main cate-
gories. These are:

Public Buildings those which are
designed and constructed specific-
ally for the general use of, and by a
community or corporate entity, and

Domestic Buildings those which are
designed and constructed specifically
for the general use of, and by a family
unit, as a household. I should also
like to place under this category
those residences which are con-
structed with commercial business-
es directly attached.

Left: One of the suburban villas of concrete
and tiling c. 1937, the Melhado residence,
described in Planters' Punch as 'a new type
metropolitan residence with all modern con-
veniences a type of the better class houses
now erected in the cooler area of the muni-
cipality' Centre and below: Houses in a
development geared specifically towards the
Middle class in the suburb of Collins Green,
St. Andrew, 1924: 'Here we have an illus-
tration of the efficacy of private enterprise
i 1 rapid growth of a new township designed for
a more or less similar class of people. The
largest completed house of the Collins Green
township cost 3,000 and contains six bed-
rooms. The smallest cost 500 and contains
two bedrooms .... The buildings are fitted
z out with all modern sanitary conveniences'
(Planters' Punch, 1924-25).

Under the category of public build-
ings, structures for the following pur-
poses existed before the earthquake:
religious, military, civic, commercial and
recreational. After the earthquake,
-- -other types including the cinema build-

ing were added, and some types which
d zhad begun to appear at the close of the
S- 19th century, such as hotels, markets,
factories and railway buildings, were
F institutionalized.

8 Pre-earthquake dwellings
Before the 1907 earthquake, there
were very specific domestic buildings
0 .with distinctions between urban and
Rural. In the rural context, there was the
o7 great house of the plantations and its
ancillary buildings; the estate house
which was on a smaller scale than the
great house; the small settler's house;
and the 'negro cottage' which replaced
the 'slave hut'. In the urban context,
three types of domestic buildings were
well established before the earthquake:
the business place with residence, usually
upstairs; the mansion house or the town
house of the rich merchant or planter
and the dwellings of the poorer folk in a
-- - Yard setting.

The mansion house or town houses
varied in size but were extremely fashion-
able residences of large proportion and
sometimes 'more expensively fitted
than the Plantation (Great) Houses'
g [Dunn 1973]. The 1740 map of King-
ston shows some plots of sizes 50 ft. x
I 150 ft. However, it was not uncommon
for three or four lots to be purchased
for the sake of erecting a single dwel-
. ling with out-buildings and a garden
S- e- setting. The houses were generally
-. detached. Some common features of
S - town houses were the garden fence if
" 7. the building was set back from the
-- street edge, and the wal ls along the street

.... iii J

%1i -

Top: Modern commercial building constructed
of reinforced concrete with wrought and cast
iron work (c. 1909) 'a creation of its own
day with no borrowing from the past'; centre:
House on Brentford Road. Note the brick
nogging and the binding wire to hold in the
bricks. Timber framing members were cover-
ed with expanded metal to receive rendering.
The timber was finished with sand-dash;
above: No. 18 Collins Green Avenue, an ex-
ample of dry and wet wall techniques com-
bined; note the use of galvanized iron shingles
which were popular in the 1920s.

face, to enclose garden spaces and

The Yard was generally inhabited by
the poorest members of the community,
and continued to exist into the post-
1907 earthquake period. It consisted

of a cluster of huts and/or houses of
one or two rooms built very close toge-
ther within a compound. These would
share utilities such as kitchen and toilet
facilities. The buildings varied con-
siderably, but in general were poorly
The post-1907 earthquake period
saw the introduction of new types with-
in the domestic building category. Much
of this was facilitated by the sub-division
of former estate lands into plots both in
the rural and urban areas. The formation
of financial institutions for assisting
with the purchase of land and construc-
tion encouraged these developments.
The cost of the sub-divisions was depen-
dent on their physical condition, proxi-
mity to the city and/or transportation
routes; as well as adjacencies to other
settlements and sub-divisions. The cove-
nants which were attached to the sub-
divisions sometimes placed restrictions
against further sub-division; on the
types of dwelling to be erected by stipu-
lating the minimum cost of the building,
as well as regulations for the disposal of
sewerage, waste water and the rearing of
animals which was forbidden on many
suburban plots.

Post-earthquake dwellings

A number of domestic building types
developed after the earthquake which
we will classify, in descending order, ac-
cording to cost and scale, as the sub-
urban villa, the middle class dwelling
house, the bungalow and the cottage.
What we have called the suburban
villa, was the house established by the
elite in neighborhoods of low popu-

nation density on large plots of land.
The building was usually very fashion-
able, in accordance with the latest
trends from Europe or North America,
and of ample proportions. Most were con-
structed of imported building material.
Next in scale was the dwelling house
of the emergent middle class. Although
this type of house had begun to appear
at the close of the 19th century in the
form of the 'small settler house' in rural
areas, it established itself in its most dis-
tinctive form and gained prominence in
the suburban setting in the period under
discussion. The house was usually smaller
in scale and grandeur than the villa but
generally would emulate its basic fea-
tures. There were many variations -
both single and double storeys of this
housing type, some of which are illus-
trated on these pages.
The term bungalow is generally ap-
plied to buildings found on the grounds
of the villa or the middle class dwelling
house. The smaller, more humble struc-
ture usually served as accommodation
for guests, for rental, or to take care of
the growth of the household.

The term 'cottage' was used to de-
scribe the housing of the poorer mem-
bers of the society. When the govern-
ment began to consider erecting dwel-
lings for this group of persons in the
1930s, the solution that was being
sought was termed the 'low cost house'.
It was the creation of these new
building types, along with elabor-
ation and expansion of existing ones
that made the period 1907-1951 of
major importance, and establishes it as
one of Jamaica's key architectural
periods. In this period, identifiable
building styles evolved in response to
the demands brought about by natural
disasters, the external pressures of the
period, and the needs of the emerging
middle class.

The Modern Architectural Style

Although the concept of 'modernism'
has a specific meaning 1 the term 'mo-
dern' in this context is used to apply to
the building styles which developed in
the period under discussion. In attempt-
ingto define this'modern style', I will use
three applications of the term given in
the introduction to a 1934 publication
of Country Life since they so aptly
describe the building types which gained
prominence after the earthquake.
The first definition states:
. In its strictest sense it [modern]

S ;i

stands for the type of work which is
definitely new, the creation of our own
day, with no borrowings from the
past .... [Phillips 1934].

This definition can be applied to the
structures in the public building cate-
gory, especially those constructed in the
early part of the period. These tended
to be constructed mostly of imported
materials in reinforced concrete, using
portland cement which was first patent-
ed in England in 1820. Cast and wrought
iron were sometimes used on these
buildings and sometimes formed the
decorative motifs, truly innovative
creations of the time. The influence on
these types of modern structures was
undoubtedly British, in the fashion of
the Victorian eclecticism. It has been
noted that the government, especially in
the early part of the period under
discussion, would usually bring in
foreigners for the design and con-
struction of its buildings. Because of

this, there tended to be the very strong
influence of English architectural prac-
tices on these earlier structures.
The second part of the definition
seems well suited to the larger domestic
buildings constructed by the wealthier
members of the society; and in parti-
cular, the villa.

.. while conforming to modern
requirements in their construction
and arrangements, [they] do not aban-
don tradition. They do not in any way
pretend to mimic work of former cen-
turies; at the same time they carry on
certain general treatments and fea-
tures which have been established . .
[Phillips 1934] .

I choose to use the Agualta Vale
Great House in St Mary as an illus-
tration of this interpretation because
this is the only known great house in
the modern style in existence in Jamaica
today. The building in no way pretends
to 'mimic work of former centuries' but

Left, top: Double-storey structure at 7 Sey-
mour Avenue featuring timber framing and
Tuscan columns; left, below: Verandah with
stylised rectangular concrete colonade at 31
Lyndhurst Road; above: "Keithdine", Collins
Green Avenue. Timber-framed building with
one-third pitch roof, pebble dash finish,
timber 'half-frame' decoration, double-hung
sash-windows, french doors and transome of
intricate fretwork combine to give the dis-
tinctive character of the Jamaican vernacular.

is truly 'modern' in construction and
for its style adopted the Victorian eclec-
ticism, with the modern conveniences of
running water and electricity. (See
inside back cover for more details).
The third application of modernism
aptly describes the smaller type struc-
tures which evolved within the domestic
building category, epitomizing the
Modern Jamaican Vernacular: the dwel-
ling house, the bungalow and cottage.
....The term 'modern' is to be seen in
houses which structurally resemble
those of long ago, but are entirely
different in plan and equipment. These
houses are internally of our day and
externally of another day .. [Phillips
As a group, these buildings are homo-
genous, and resemble those of the form-
er period established as the Jamaican
Vernacular style of the small settlers.
However, closer examination would
show that these post-earthquake struc-


Left: "Casa Grande" on Belmont Road; right: House on Oxford Road looking from the verandah towards the
porte cochere; both are of timber frame construction.

tures were by definition, 'modern'.
Structurally, they maintained the tradi-
tional construction techniques which
came to be termed 'timber framed
buildings' under the 1907 building
law. This was carried to another level
of sophistication with an interpretation
and execution along more scientific
lines, as well as incorporating into the
structure the modern conveniences of
electricity and running water.

The Modern Jamaican Vernacular

Many of the brick and stone build-
ings in the towns had been unable to re-
sist the force of the earthquake, and the
amended building law of 1907 for the
first time specified materials and tech-
niques to be used to ensure resilient,
fire-proof construction: the materials
included Jamaican hardwood timber.
This gave new status to timber frame
construction the expressive building
form of the people. Its influence was
also felt in the public building types.

However it should be remembered
that the elite in the society had historic-
ally desired and obtained for them-
selves, foreign goods such as food, cloth-

ing and building materials. Inevitably,
this pattern appears to have continued
throughout the period; after 1907, those
who could afford imported materials for
the construction of their buildings, did
so, with the result that most of the
larger public and domestic buildings
were constructed of portland cement in
the form of reinforced concrete, wrought
iron and/or cast iron work. Imported
timber, mainly pitch pine in three
grades, was also favoured over local
timber by that group, having the ad-
vantage of precision cuts and consistent
sizes, but most of the carpenters will ad-
mit that the native lumber was the more
durable material.

Master carpenter Mr Herbert Pitt,
who entered the building trade as an
apprentice at the age of 15 in the
1930s states that: '... in fact we would
stay away from anything such as import-
ed lumber, because it was known that
termites in the Jamaican condition would
attack imported lumber much more
readily than they would attack the
native lumber .

In accordance with the amended
Kingston Building Law of 1907, it was
required that materials be carefully
selected, and that construction was

carried out to prevent outward thrust in
an earthquake, uplift in a hurricane and
that buildings were made fire-proof. The
fact that many of the buildings in the
style of the modern vernacular, some of
which were built before the 1920s, are
still standing, is indicative of the care
and attention given to such details. The
responsibility for the construction, and
in some cases the designing, fell on the
builder, the person who was the master

Mr T.A.D. Smith, master builder, who
was given his first major responsibility
on a building site back in the 1920s
recalls that:
In those days, there were what you
would call real builders ... One would
be proud to know that you were a
builder, because you could design,
were able to quantify, I mean to pick
out quantities from the drawings. You
were able to do some surveying on the
site and then put the building up on
that site. .. In those days we had to
know the trees. We had to know the
type of trees. We had to know what
quality lumber we were going to get
from this tree even before we cut it
because you could look at the bark
and see how the bark turns to know
whether it is straight-grain or twisted-
grain ...
The native hardwoods used included

the different types of the Bullet-wood
tree which was preferred for the struc-
tural members. Local split shingles
used for roof cladding came from native
Cedar, Mahoe or Santa Maria. These
timbers were also sometimes employ-
ed as flooring material. Tamarind was
another local timber used for floor
It was essential that such construction
was well executed and that the timber
used was carefully selected in keeping
with the task it was required to per-
Thus the carpenter's skill was very
much in demand, according to Mr Pitt,
who was resident in Spanish Town
but worked across the island. He states:

. The carpenter was responsible for
designing and executing these build-
ings. I am talking about double storey
buildings too. He is called a master
carpenter and he must do everything
from designing the building and every
iota of work right up to the doors and
windows, and he is responsible for
decorating, and you must remember
in those days, that we did not have
commercially mixed paint, we had pig-
ments, and oils, and dryers, and you
must mix your own paint, catch your
own colours and put in your own dry-
ers before you could be called a
painter ....

Construction Techniques

The techniques of timber framed
construction can be broken down into
two main groupings, depending on
whether the wet-wall or dry-wall tech-
nique is used.
There are four basic types of wet-
wall construction: concrete nogging,
brick nogging, wattle and daub, and
Spanish walling. Concrete nogging was
mainly to be found in the city, where a
concrete mortar mix using portland
cement was poured between wooden
formwork around the timber frame.
Brick nogging was another method com-
monly used in the city. After the earth-
quake the bricks from the destroyed
buildings were integrated into this
construction. It involved the laying of
bricks between the timber frames, using
either a lime or cement mortar. Wattle
and daub is a method which overlapped
between urban and rural areas. The pro-
cess of wattling is to plait thin strips of
wood between the structural frame. The
daub is the mortar mix, mainly using
white lime which was thrown on to the
wattle, from a distance. The method of
Spanish walling was practiced mainly in

the country parts. This utilised small
local stones, approximately four inches
large which were packed between the
timber frames, using a lime mortar mix-
ed with the local red mud. These walls
would all have been rendered over and

It was not generally easy to distin-
guish one technique from the other.
Mr T.A.D. Smith remembers Craigh-
ton coffee estate house in the hills of
St. Andrew '. . I used to maintain
Craighton. It is built with wattle and
daub walls ... .' he further observed that
. the wattle and daub used by the
rich people is a different thing from the
wattle and daub that is used ordinarily
by the poor people, but it is the same
wattle and daub [technique] but one
of course is made of very much superior
material and better workmanship ....'
The significance of the wet-wall tech-
nique is that in addition to the mortar
jointing and rendering being applied
wet, and then being allowed to dry
out, it was also a requirement under
the 1907 law, that '. . Every brick
or stone used in the construction of a
wall or panel of brick or stone nogging
shall, previous to being laid, be tho-
roughly soaked (not wetted only) in
fresh water and be laid soaking wet . .'
After the wall was built, if properly exe-
cuted and in accordance with the 1907
law the structure should be . .
protected by plastering one inch thick
in cement or other external coating ap-
proved by the Surveyor . .' The out-
side surface was most times finished
with pebble-dash rendering, that is, the
technique of throwing fine aggregate of
lime stone chippings into the mortar
In the case of construction in the
city, it was also a requirement under the
Kingston building law of. 1907 that
wire netting or wire should be placed
across the face of the in-fill to prevent
the panel from falling or being displaced
by vibration of the building.
Dry-wall construction technique did
not employ the use of mortar in any
major way. The structural members
were tied together using carpentry joints
such as the mortise and tenon, or they
were securely nailed, spiked, screwed
or bolted together. There were three
main types of dry walling: timber
cladding, wattle walling and thatch wal-
ling. It should be noted that under the
1907 law, it was required that domestic
buildings with external timber walls
should not be within 50 feet of any other

building or of the land of any adjoining
The method of timber walling or
cladding was used in the construction of
many very fashionable houses. Some
were constructed entirely of timber
throughout. Reference is sometimes
made to this type of construction as
'the board house'. The exterior sur-
face of the timber was usually finished
in the traditional sand-dash, that is sea
sand is thrown into the paint work
when wet to help to preserve it from in-
sect attack, and to waterproof the struc-
The other type of dry wall which was
commonly used, especially by the poor,
was that of the wattle walling, but with-
out the daubing on of mortar afterwards.
The third method, the technique of
thatch walling, was practised mainly
in the countryside by poorer persons.
Here the walls and roof were construct-
ed of thatch around the timber frame,
using the thatch-palm, or grass as the
It was common to see both dry-wall
and wet-wall techniques used together
on a building, such as timber cladding
of side or rear rooms, and in many
cases for an upper floor, whilst the
ground floor was of wet-wall construct-
ion. Internal walls of the wet-wall tech-
nique usually continued in the same
material, however in some instances,
timber walls were found.

A new fashion was the replacement
of the jalousie, that is the wooden louvre,
by double hung sash windows and by
french windows, which are the narrow
pair of glazed doors opening onto areas
such as verandahs. The more expensive-
ly finished houses had ceilings, with the
principal rooms having a decorated tray
type. Many ceilings were ornamental,
with mouldings and reliefs, sometimes
even around electrical outlets. The floors
of the outdoor spaces, porches and
verandahs, were generally ornately
tiled, or concreted and finished smooth,
and placed lower than the main part of
the house, which was generally floored
with timber throughout. Kitchens always
had tiling or concrete floors.

The form of the plan of the house in
this period had been amended. Where-
as in the earlier structures, movement
around the .house was concentrated
around the hall as the principal room,
with rooms constructed without specific
designations, these later dwellings were
so designed that rooms not only opened



I support of the request of the FAO Council FIDCO
agrees to give special recognition to
"THE FOREST" during 1985 and to consider the conservation of
Jamaica's forest resources as a matter of national concern.
FIDCO agrees to heighten public awareness of the importance of forests for:
V, the quality of life;
P the safeguarding of environmental stability;
P their contribution to socio-economic progress:

FIDCO also agrees to assist with programmes providing opportunities for Youth to participate in
tree planting and forest conservation.



TEL: (809) 92-97271 4

,,3 hurricanes, and have remained intact,
displaying their dignity and beauty.
Much, however is being lost through
vandalism, unsympathetic renovations
mainly for commercial purposes, or
wanton demolition for alternative
development schemes. Still others have
been abandoned and are being allowed
to deteriorate. These trends are all re-
grettable, because if they are allowed
to continue, the nation will lose an
important part of its housing stock,
and a significant element in its archi-
tectural heritage.


S 1. This style describes the buildings which
evolved in the post-Victorian period, and
was greatly influenced by the Bauhaus
School. This was followed by the Inter-
national Style, c. 1950s; the current
dominant style in architecture is being
termed Post-modernism.

CARNEGIE, James, Some Aspects of Jam-
aica's Politics, 1918-38, Institute of
Jamaica, 1973.
CLARKE, Colin, Kingston, Jamoica, Urban
Development and Social Change 1692-
1962, Berkeley: University of California
Press, 1975.
DUNN, Richard S., Sugar and Slaves, London,

one into the other as before, but also
onto common spaces such as passages or
corridors and verandahs. Each room
tended to have a designated purpose,
such as pantry, bathroom, dining room
or bedroom. It should be noted that the
kitchen began to be attached to the
house, unlike the period before, but was
still isolated from the main part of the
house by the pantry. This was because
coal burning and wood fired stoves
were still being used.
The buildings though identifiable as
of the period, varied considerably. They
nevertheless had typical features, such
as the half timber work especially at
gable ends, a trend which was one of
the British revivals of a Medieval style of
building. The roofs were extremely ex-
pressive, and exhibited many different
shapes and combinations. However, for
the majority of buildings in the period,
a one third pitch was common up until
sometime in the 1940s when it began to
become less steep. As a group, the build-
ings are strongly Jamaican, however,
closer examination would reveal traces

of the influence of the English country
house, or the American shingle style
bungalow, especially for the larger struc-
tures. Verandahs tended to be colon-
aded. Earlier ones tended to have deli-
cate and slender molded timber posts
with intricate or stylized fretwork and
balustrading of the early Jamaican
Vernacular, whereas the later versions
featured the Tuscan columns, con-
structed in stucco fashion, in the style
of the Georgian great house and town
mansions. Much later, the colonades
evolved into more stylized forms, main-
ly rectangular in character.

In Jamaica today, many of the build-
ings which came about in 1907 to 1951
are assuming some importance be-
cause of their development potential,
especially those with large land area
around. Unfortunately, their value as an
important part of our architectural
heritage has not been given the proper
acknowledgement and protection they
deserve. Most of these buildings includ-
ing the smaller domestic types have sur-
vived the onslaught of earthquakes and

GREEN, Pat, "Small Settler Houses in Chapel-
ton: Microcosm of the Jamaican Ver-
nacular", Jamaica Journal, 17: 3, 1984.
Jamaica Laws of, 1907, Kingston Building
Law (amended) Cap. 24.
PHILLIPS, R. Randel, Introduction, "The
Modern English House", Country Life,
London, 1934.
PLANTERS' PUNCH, 1920-1940.
ROBERTS, G. The Population of Jamaica:
Cambridge University Press, 1957.

Mr E.N. Bird; retired Civil Servant.
Worked with the Central Housing Authority,
Kingston, in the 1930s. He remained in the
government service until in the 1950s, when
he retired from active service as the assistant
permanent secretary with the then Ministry
of Housing and Local Government.
Mr Herbert Pitt, Master Carpenter
Began in the building trade as an apprentice
at age 15 and is still actively engaged in con-
struction. He was born in St. Catherine and
has done most of his building in that parish,
although he has also been engaged on projects
across the island.
Mr T.A.D.. Smith, Master Builder
Given responsibility of his first building site
in the 1920s. About 1927, began working
with the Public Works Department (PWD). He
worked on many major projects across the
island during the 1930s and 1940s.

Top: House on Hopefield Avenue and below, "Sedgebrook Park", Lady Musgrave Road.

One of the most intri uin

collections of Jamaican poems
"The sensibility in yet published. ..
TAMARIND SEASON is ... the book is a mixture of miraculously beautiful
a woman's intimate, language .... It is full of delights."- Dennis Scott -
Sunday Gleaner magazine.
gentle, shy, painstakingly n
honest, acerbic, maniac, mercurial. "Anthony McNeill is the first and most accomplished
This is the important other half, the poet to appear out of the 'now' generation of the
perspicacity missing from the anglophone Caribbean. McNeill's solutions over the
current record of the literature of next few years will be one of the major achievements
the Caribbean." Pamela Mordecai in our literature." Edward Brathwaite
"Lorna Goodison's first collection "Tony McNeil's extraordinary poems are at once .
of poems TAMARIND SEASON is deliberately controlled, and inwardly . anarchic.
full of good things ... the poems His verse is high-voltage current burning in a vacuum
are without pose or pretension, bulb of words.. McNeill's imaginative world is
witty, sharply sensuous, con- nightmare and beyond nightmare, the edge of being."
-Louis James
versational and casually intimate. -Louis James
The voice is distinctive, and effort- 50
lessly Jamaican even when she m J$12.00 U.S.8.50
seems to be writing in standard in Jamaica only Cre MceS t Post paid overseas
English ... .They affirm the value altarof cl id
of talk and love between individuals,f
and the dignity of ordinary people Poems by Anthony McNeill
and of private visions."
- Dennis Scott Sunday Gleaner
Magazine, 1980
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The Editor welcomes letters from readers
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I enjoyed the very informative
article on the Dome ofMontego
Bay which appeared in 18:2 (May
1985) of the Jamaica Journal inside
back cover of that issue.

However, I must point out a
very small technical flaw. I refer
to the notation made by the writer
to the river being called "Rio
Camarones" which was then said
by the writer to mean Crab River
or River of Crabs. However, I
must say that Camarones is the
Spanish plural of Camaron which
means shrimp, not crab. El
Cangrejo is the word for Crab
and this would have been Rio

Shrimp River or Rio
Camarones is indeed a logical
name for a small river, as, even
today, the rivers in the Montego
Bay region although somewhat
polluted, still have several of the
fourteen freshwater shrimp or
crayfish species known from

K.A. Aiken

Zoology Department
U. W.I., Mona.


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An Indian Family at Golden Vale Plantation, 1896.

Transients to Citizens

The Development of a Settled East Indian Community

By Verene A. Shepherd

E ast Indians were imported into Jamaica to supple-
ment the declining local labour force after the
emancipation of the slaves. The system of Indian
indentureship began in 1845 and ended in 1921. The Indians
laboured under contracts and were promised repatriation at
the expiration of such contracts. Despite its original inten-
tion, however, Indian immigration developed into permanent
settler migration as the majority of those imported into the
island failed to return to India. This article will attempt to
show how the transition from contract labourers to free
settlers developed among the East Indians of Jamaica.
Indentured immigrants were regarded merely as transient
labourers. It was only after being free of the yoke of in-
dentureship that the Indian could make a decision either to
remain as a settler in Jamaica or be repatriated to India. It
will be seen, however, that in many cases the decision to set-
tle was not always voluntarily made as many obstacles were
put in the way of repatriation. Settlement also had problems,
chief among these being that of obtaining land, as land
grants which were first offered as an inducement in 1869
were abolished after 1906. In addition, the lands offered be-
fore 1906 were not always accepted by the Indians as they
were often isolated and infertile.

Gaining Freedom
Before the legal termination of the system of indenture-

ship in Jamaica in 1921, the majority of East Indian inden-
tured labourers became free by virtue of having completed
their legal five-year period of service and being issued with a
certificate of freedom. This was a limited form of freedom,
however, as the immigrants' movements were restricted. While
they were free to move from estate to estate or from parish
to parish, they could not leave the island or claim return pas-
sages to India until after a further five years of continuous
residence in Jamaica. Complete freedom in terms of freedom
of movement and choice of occupation was not, therefore,
achieved until East Indians had remained in Jamaica for 10
Time-expired Indians greatly valued their freedom. This is
indicated by the low occurrence of cases of re-indenture,

In the previous issue, we presented a subjective view
of the East Indian immigration experience through the
eyes of a distinguished descendant of immigrants.
This article further explores that experience by
looking at the factors which caused the
Ihdians to settle here after their indentureship expired.

particularly after 1891. Re-indenture had been allowed by
Law 23 of 1879, which stated that:
at the expiration of their five years' indenture, immigrants may
enter into a contract of service for one year. While such a con-
tract is in force, the immigrant will be subject to the provisions
of the Immigration Laws as if he were under indenture.

East Indians in Trinidad and British Guiana also avoided
re-indenture. Once free, Indians in the West Indies exhibited
the same reluctance to re-submit themselves to forms of servi-
tude as their Afro-West Indian counterparts. Such reluctance
was commented on by the protector of immigrants, Charles
Doorly, in 1909. In response to a letter from a proprietor
asking him to use his influence to induce these 'second term
coolies' as they were called, to apply for jobs on Seven Rivers
Estate, Doorly replied that though he had advised them of
the availability of jobs there, none expressed any wish to
apply for them.2 The failure of 'second term coolies' to re-
indenture was one of the main reasons for the inability of
the immigration fund to pay return passages, since contri-
butions by employers of 'second term coolies' were intend-
ed to help to finance these passages.
Apart from gaining freedom through serving out their
five-year contracts, there were two other legal methods by
which the indentured East Indian workers could be made
free. These methods were, release from indenture owing to
physical disability, and commutation. Both methods were
used up to 1920.
Law 23 of 1879 had provided that:
the Protector may in his discretion relieve an estate, or an
Employer of an indentured immigrant from the care of an
Immigrant incapable of service from permanent infirmity or
sickness, and may direct that a certificate of exemption from
further service be granted such Immigrant and that he be re-
ceived into and retained in any hospital or in any general
Depot that may be established at the charge of the Immi-
gration Fund until an opportunity offers to send him back to
the port from which he embarked.3

A percentage of each shipload of immigrants that arrived in
Jamaica was released from indenture. The protector recorded,
for example, that 9.36 per cent of the immigrants who
arrived on the immigrant ship, the Ganges were released from
indenture between 1908 and 1915. The most common causes
of such release were illnesses such as ankylostomiasis and in-
Those released from indenture in this way were repatri-
ated free, and over several years formed a large percentage of
those returning to India. They were also immediately removed
from the care and maintenance of the planter. Release from
indenture could only be effected after such a request had
been made by the employer not by the affected immigrant
and only after a confirmation of the immigrant's disability
was made by the medical officer of the particular parish.
Immigrants who were released from indenture had no obli-
gation to finish their period of compulsory residence, but
could return to India at the colony's expense when a return
ship was available. A total of about 397 labourers were re-
leased from their indentures between 1903 and 1920 an
average yearly release of 23.3 per cent.4
By Law 23 of 1879, immigrants could, as some slaves did
through manumission, commute the unexpired portion of
their indenture through cash payment to their employer. This
was at the rate of one-fifth of the sum paid or payable by the
employer in respect of each such immigrant for every year or

portion of a year remaining unexpired of his indenture.
Though some Indians gained freedom each year through the
use of this facility, their numbers were small compared to
those who waited until their contract expired. Commutation
was, however, at times a necessity, as in the case when some
members of a family wishing to return to India, were still
under indenture. The latter could only be released through
commutation. Those freed in this way and who wished to re-
turn to India had to stand the full cost of their repatriation.
Return to India was not always the alternative adopted by
immigrants freed through commutation, however. Of the 15
who commuted their indentures in 1910-11, for example,
only three returned to India.5 No commutation fees seemed
to have been charged for children under 16 years, conse-
quently, employers were sometimes reluctant to release
children from their employ when their parents commuted
their indenture. When Rajnauth of Green Castle Estate
applied to her employer, Mr Roper, for commutation in
1909, she also expressed the wish to take her child with her.
Roper was reluctant on the grounds that he had already paid
half the indenture fees for this child. His lawyer appealed to
the protector to solve this case.6
One of the first decisions which a 'free' Indian had to
make was whether to remain in Jamaica or opt for repatri-
ation. Although Indian immigrants who completed five years
under indenture, plus any extensions of time imposed as
penalty by the courts, received certificates of industrial
residence from the protector under the provisions of Section
39 of Law 23 of 1879, this did not immediately entitle them
to return passages. This was because time-expired Indians
were not free to leave the island until they had completed
five more years of continuous residence. At the end of this
compulsory 10 years' residence, the immigrant then became
entitled to a return passage to India.

Opposition to Repatriation by W.I. Planters

The provision of a return passage to India had, from the
inception of Indian immigration, been obligatory on the part
of the colonies and was, in fact, an essential ingredient of the
contract signed by intending emigrants. The rationale for the
inclusion of repatriation as a necessary part of the emigration
and immigration laws is perhaps best expressed by the secretary
of state, Lord Stanley, who felt that it was not enough '...
to rely upon the free thought and frugality of the emigrant
himself to secure the means of return when the proper time
arrived . 7 so that provisions had to be made by '...
other and more certain means'.
Planters in the importing colonies, however, had never
been supportive of the obligation to provide return passages
which the immigration and emigration laws imposed upon
them. Resistance to repatriation started from as early as
1838 when immigration schemes were being considered and
continued into the early 20th century. The agitation of the
planters caused frequent changes in the laws relating to
The planters' objection to providing repatriation for time-
expired Indians stemmed from the fact that between 1861
and 1897, planters bore the full cost of the immigrants' re-
turn passage which up to then averaged about 6. 10s. per
statute adult. Between 1891 and 1895, 22,710 was spent
on repatriation.9 Before 1861, there had been inadequate
financial arrangements to provide for the repatriation of
Indians, though repatriation had been guaranteed by law.


Number of Number of
Parish District Allotments Acres

St Thomas Grampian and Mt. Donald 70 783
St James Silver Grove, Shawfield
and Dumfries Mountain 28 312
Clarendon Rose Valley 10 111
Green Bottom 11 141
St Elizabeth Buchanan's Patent 1 15
Mulgrave 1 15
Cambrook 1 11
St Catherine Retirement and Hog Hole 10 106
Red Cap 20 243
Pimento Grove 28 332
Bish's 10 110
Pretty Bottom 13 140
Russell Mountain 9 117
Osborne 10 122
Feraras 7 71
Gibraltar and
Gibraltore 16 182
Kingston Admiral's Town 1 BuldingSite

246 2,811

Source: Annual Report of the Protector of Immigrants, 1903-1904.

When the protector of immigrants had first submitted an
application to the Jamaica Assembly for funds for the
repatriation of Indians introduced since 1845, for example,
the Assembly had declined to vote new taxes for the pur-
pose; it hoped instead to use Jamaica's share of the guaranteed
loan of 100,000 provided by Imperial Acts II and 12
Victoria C130 for promoting immigration and for public
works. The crown agents in England, however, initially re-
fused to sanction this as they felt that the loan could not be
used for this purpose. In the absence of an alternative source
and in view of the fact that immigration to Jamaica would
not resume unless the promise of repatriation was honoured,
the guaranteed loan was finally applied to repatriation, which
commenced in 1853. The new Immigration Act of 1858
however, made provisions for return passages. These were to
be met from general revenue. An 'Immigrants Colonization
and Return Passage Fund,' was also set up and finan-
ced by a per annum contribution from the general revenue of
1 for every immigrant alive in every year.
Resistance to providing for repatriation had been early
expressed by the Falmouth Post which had stated that:
... unless we can get immigrants who will remain with us ...
the cost of their importation and provision of sending them
back to their native clime will exceed any temporary advantage
that may be derived (from immigration).

This clearly reveals that settlement had traditionally been
preferred in some quarters to repatriation. The Falmouth
Post had also objected to repatriation on the grounds that it
did not encourage immigrants to spend their earnings in
Jamaica but rather, wages were saved with a view to remit-
ting them to India. These reasons had also influenced the

Morning Journal in 1838 to advise the planters to '. .. stick
to Quashie and leave the Hill Coolies alone,'1 as the require-
ment of repatriation '. . took the gilt off the gingerbread'.12
The constant calls by the planters to remove their obli-
gation to provide immigrants with return passages was never
entirely heeded, except in Mauritius where after 1851, plant-
ers were no longer liable to provide time-expired immigrants
with return passages. This obligation was, however, retained
in the West Indies, which was much farther from India than
Mauritius and the return passage therefore higher; and where,
according to Dr. Comins (an Indian official deputed to the
W.I. in 1891) the opportunities for earning and saving
money were not as great. Whereas return passages from
Mauritius cost just about 2, the passage from the West
Indies up to 1916 cost up to 15.
The planters in the West Indies were more successful in
getting the government to both sanction the offer of alter-
natives to repatriation to induce immigrants to settle and
to limit their contribution to the cost of return passages.

Settlement vs Repatriation

The first attempt to induce time-expired Indians to be-
come permanent settlers in Jamaica was made before 1879
and was in the form of a colonization bounty in cash or
land. This meant that in lieu of return passages, immigrants
could accept 12 in cash or 10 acres of crown land. Because
the crown lands offered were often mountainous and infer-
tile, the acceptance of money grants was the more popular
choice. Of the 1,467 immigrants introduced between 1845
and 1847 who accepted the colonization bounty, for
example, the majority opted for money grants. Up to 1877,
close to 32,000 had already been spent on bounties.13 The
removal of the option of cash grants in 1879, however,
meant that all who refused infertile and mountainous crown
lands (which subsequently reverted to the crown) had to find
suitable lands at their own expense. This was the course
taken by the parents of all second generation Indians inter-
viewed. 'Wills' of St Thomas, for example, recalled that his
father had been granted 10 acres of land at John Crow
Mountain. As the land was mountainous and moreover, as
settlement there would mean isolation from his friends, the
land was never occupied.
Law 12 of 1897 abrogated the privilege of land grants; but
because of the need to encourage immigrants to become set-
tlers and reduce the expense of repatriation which accrued to
planters, this offer was again revived under Section 7 of Law
13 of 1903. In that year, 132 time-expired Indians accepted
this form of colonization bounty. Table 1 indicates that a
total of 246 allotments numbering 2,811 acres was made to
immigrants and their families in several districts in St Thomas,
St James, Clarendon, St Elizabeth and St Catherine. The
lands granted near Bath in St Thomas and at Silver Grove in
St James are shown in Figures 1 and 2 respectively. Thirty
more allotments totalling 311 acres were made between
1904 and 1905.
Like previous allotments, these lands were either moun-
tainous and infertile or lacked a proper water supply and
consequently, the majority of allottees refused to settle on
them. Had all been accepted, residential separation might
also have been a feature of the East Indian population in.
Jamaica. The allotments made at Hayes in Clarendon were

F3GE 1
Map Shovwno Londs Granted to
East Indlon Settlers Near Both,
St Thomos Around 1906.

S' "' S E-rX

Y L A N MA 0, K -'
V -- --- .-

o I_

P 5 0;

I k Hal l."
.. - -- _

-, ,. ~-,,I .X !" ^ ; --.-.-f
S. M.ll

c IDn M -III

-*3 *. C

.: 'Y .-f5' C

SOURCE: Fie 1B/5/75/453,C.0 8721/03, JAMAICA ARCHIVES.

Figure 1: Map showing lands granted to East Indian settlers near Bath, St Thomas around 1906.
^ ~~~~^ "0 ''Q r .S^ "^ ^ l '' ''^

p t A<-, "^ iRO O ^

Fiur I: c^p shwn a\/-rnedt at ninsttes --_BtS Toa ron

all refused by the East Indians on the basis that there were
no provisions for water. The Indians demanded that wells be
sunk before any of them would consider settling on these
lands. Similarly, no less than 240 time-expired Indians met
at Bog Walk in St Catherine, with the bailiff, and proceeded
to inspect the crown lands that they had been granted at
Gibraltar and Gibraltore. On inspection it was found that
these lands were hilly and without water. The allottees con-
sequently refused to accept them. 4
A departure from the type of lands normally granted to
Indian immigrants who wished to settle was observed in the
case of lands at Hog Hole and Retirement Lands near Spanish
Town, which had been purchased from the Public Works
Department. Unlike other allotments, these lands were fertile.
Hog Hole and Retirement Lands had actually been earmarked
by the Public Works Department (PWD) for the depasturing
of mules since no more land for this purpose was available at
the prison farm. The PWD was, therefore, reluctant to part
with the land. Some controversy subsequently developed
over the government's action in acquiring and allotting these
lands. The PWD argued that Hog Hole and Retirement lands
were expensive lots and that the government would spend
more on acquiring them than on repatriating the 'coolies'. If
each settler got 10 acres, the spokesman for the PWD argued,
the cost would be 50 per settler as opposed to the 15 re-
quired to repatriate each time-expired immigrant.15 More-
over, it was felt that in allotting these fertile and costly lands
the government was setting a dangerous precedent as this
action, '.. may lead coolies to form extravagant ideas of the
kind of land they will have allotted to them.' 6
As the arrangements for Indian settlers to occupy Hog
Hole and Retirement Lands had been far advanced, they were
allowed to proceed. To counter the fear of a precedent ex-
pressed by the PWD, the protector indicated that if other set-
tlers complained about the poor state of their allotments in
comparison with those at Hog Hole and Retirement lands, he
would simply inform them that no more lands of this nature
were available.
Land Grants Abolished

In 1906, the practice of offering land grants in lieu of
repatriation was discontinued. There were three principal
reasons for this action. In the first place, the system of land
grants was proving to be almost as expensive as return pas-
sages. Secondly, the rate of repatriation did not drop as signi-
ficantly as the protector had hoped. The whole object of
land grants, which was to save the immigration fund the cost
of the immigrant's return passage, while at the same time
saving on the cost of bringing in new labourers, was not,
therefore, being achieved. This claim was made by the pro-
tector, F.L. Pearce, who stated that:
S. .this object has not been achieved for the rate of the re-
turn passages has remained undiminished while the expense of
allotting land to the Coolies (sic) who stay ... has been added
to the burden of the Fund.17
The cost of allotting land to the Indians who chose this
alternative to repatriation was approximately 12 per head,
while the cost of return passages was just about 3 more per
statute adult in the early 20th century. The surveyor-general
consequently advocated the abandonment of Law 13 ot
1903. His recommendation was accepted by the protector of
immigrants and'the immigration fund advisory board.
The third factor which influenced the Government of

Jamaica to abolish land grants in 1906 was that the full
effects of Law 2 of 1899 (which amended Law 12 of 1897)
would be felt when the next set of return passages became
due in 1909-10. Law 12 of 1897 and Law 2 of 1899 had
made changes in the laws relating to repatriation. These
changes were made on the recommendation of Surgeon
Major Comins who felt that the liability to provide return
passages was a great tax on the immigration fund and greatly
restricted the demand for immigrants in the colonies. Law
12 of 1897 was, therefore, introduced and abolished com-
pletely free return passages. By this law, immigrants intro-
duced after May 1897 were required to contribute to the
cost of their repatriation at the rate of one-quarter for adult
males and one-sixth for adult females. Children and destitute
and disabled immigrants were, however, repatriated at the
expense of the colony. The proportion paid by time-expired
immigrants wishing to return to India was increased by Law
2 of 1899 to one-half for adult males and one-third for adult
females. Repatriation was therefore expected to decrease
even without the added incentives of land grants.
The effects of these laws were, in fact, immediately felt
and bore out the optimism expressed by the protector in
1908 that repatriation costs, which had totalled 22,710
between 1891 and 1895, would be reduced as from 1909. In
1909, only 111 Indians enlisted for repatriation. This was in
contrast to 680 who returned in 1905-1906. This decrease
was directly attributed to the contributions imposed on re-
patriates which in 1915 amounted to 7.10. 6d. for adult
males and 5 for adult females. The protector reported in
1910 that as these new laws had resulted in a considerable
reduction in the number of Indians returning to India,
Jamaica had saved a portion of the cost of their return pas-
sages. This would help to reduce the deficit of the immi-
gration fund which for the 10-year period, 1901-09, had
been 9,309. In addition, the colony according to the pro-
tector, . retains the services of a large number of .
labourers who become useful and often prosperous members
of the community.'18

Problems of Repatriation
There were six additional factors which militated against
the repatriation of all who were entitled to assisted return
passages. Most of these factors aided settlement very often
involuntarily. The first factor was that in addition to contri-
buting to the return fare, immigrants had to pay for warm
clothing and blankets for the voyage at the rate of 1 for
adults, 15/- for children between ages 4-10, and 5/- for those
below age 4. This added to the financial difficulties which
prevented many immigrants from returning to India. Second,
Jamaica was very tardy in providing return ships. This had
been the trend from the early period of Indian immigration
and was commented on by the Colonial Land and Emigration
Commission in 1858. The commission had remarked that:
financial difficulties have rendered Jamaica more tardy than
her sister colonies British Guiana and Trinidad in furnishing
Indian labourers with the return passage to which they are
The Colonial Land and Emigration Commission was referring
to the fact that even though immigration of East Indian
labourers into Jamaica had begun from 1845 and the first
return passages were therefore due in 1850, it was not until
1853 that the first passages were provided. This tardiness was
due to the fact that no financial arrangements had been made
to provide for the repatriation of the first immigrants. In



Year % Released % Returned % who paid
of Number Total % from Inden- as destitute a part of their
Ship Intro- Intro- Repatriated ture and and repatriated Return Passage
duction duced Repatriated free






Source: C.G.F. 1B/9/28 and 1B/5/76, Protector of Immigrants Papers, Jamaica Archives.











addition to financial difficulties, return ships did not sail
from Jamaica as regularly as from other colonies because,
particularly after 1897, the number opting to return was not
always sufficient to fill a ship, and even though attempts
were made as much as possible to ship the small numbers
with returnees from Trinidad or British Guiana, their return
was always dependent on whether or not these colonies had
space to accommodate them.

Third, when prospective returnees had to wait until there
were sufficient numbers of them for Jamaica to provide a
return ship, it sometimes happened that when the ship did

come, there were too many to be accommodated on it. At
such times some of the healthier ones were inevitably left
behind because preference was always given to old, destitute
and disabled immigrants who, as Table 2 indicates, made up a
notable percentage of the total repatriates on each return
ship. In 1902, for example, there were so many immigrants
applying for return passages, which had not been provided
since 1895, that not all could be accommodated. Although
1,126 were able to return, the largest number ever to be re-
patriated from Jamaica in any one year, about 19 were asked
to wait on the next return ship. This caused a great furore as
these immigrants had sold off all that they possessed. They

______ r./ /, a->_____





2... -I'r^ .,

'-. -. :: -- ..

_^A ^i \ -

\ -,-,-.
.. / -.* /

., *o,

; ,- -
2r P f>v

CR,,,. LI '.cb

Figure 2: Map showing boundary lines of land grants to East Indians at Silver Grove Mountain. St. James.

were forced to return to the estates on which they were first
indentured to seek employment.
Fourth, some disabled and invalid immigrants were them-
selves forced to settle in Jamaica and usually became a charge
on the immigration fund or the parochial treasury. This
sometimes occurred because of the very strict rules governing
repatriation laid down by British Guiana which in some years
accommodated return immigrants from Jamaica on its ships.
In order to guard against high mortality rates, the medical
board in British Guiana refused to accept immigrants whom
they considered Unfit to travel and unlikely to survive the
voyage. These included lepers, maimed and helpless, mental-
ly deranged, blind immigrants and those with sores and con-
tagious diseases. The medical board in Jamaica, therefore,
tried to ensure that no immigrants fitting these descriptions

embarked for British Guiana. In 1902 the board rejected 13
on account of these stipulations.
Fifth, after 1903 Indians could be refused repatriation if
they did not claim their return passage within two years of
its becoming due and claimable. The imposition of this time
limit created hardships for Indians who were not able to
meet the deadline, and was the subject of much controversy
between the Government of Jamaica and the East Indian
National Union in the first quarter of the 20th century. This
controversy stemmed from the fact that even though the law
allowed the protector to use his discretion and allow repatri-
ation at a later date in cases where failure to claim a return
passage when due had been attributable to illness or other
unavoidable causes, this does not seem to have been general-
ly done.

The sixth and final factor which affected the repatriation
arrangements from Jamaica and resulted in immigrants set-
tling in Jamaica when their desire had been to return to India
was the outbreak of World War I. War conditions affected
shipping as it made it risky to take emigrants to the colonies.
In addition, some ships were requisitioned by the navy.
Nourse Ltd. who had the contract to provide emigrant
ships had a fleet of six ships before 1914. This pre-war
fleet was reduced to three by 1920. Furthermore, though
the obligation to provide East Indians with return passages
still existed, the contract with Nourse for repatriating immi-
grants from the colonies expired during the war. A new
contract could only be signed with the colonies after the
war if they would agree to pay an increased rate of 28
per statute adult from British Guiana and Trinidad and
29 per statute adult from Jamaica. Nourse Ltd. informed
the colonies that its three available ships could be placed at
their disposal in 1920 for British Guiana and Trinidad and in
1921 for Jamaica. Repatriation from Jamaica under these
new terms did not in fact commence until 1923 in which
year 676 Indians returned to India. This was the first return
shipment since 1916 when 270 had returned.
Despite the operation of the above factors which retarded
efficient repatriation and promoted settlement, the desire of
many immigrants in Jamaica to return to India remained un-
diminished. This is indicated by the numerous letters of re-
quests for repatriation which these immigrants wrote to the
protector of immigrants. The following is an extract from
one such letter. It was written by Poiri, who had come on the
ship Dahomey, 1903. He wrote:
I am very much desirous to go home and I shall be very grati-
tude (sic) if you kindly send me away to India ... by the next
ship ....
I feel very sad in Jamaica .... I am willing to pay passage (sic)
and clear off from this island.20
The frequency of such letters increased between 1927
and 1928, perhaps because as a result of the time limit placed
on the claim of return passages, Jamaica's legal obligation to
arrange for the repatriation of immigrants would expire in
1928. This was because the last batch of Indian immigrants
arrived in 1916. Their 10-year period of compulsory residence
would, therefore, expire in 1926. If two more years were
added according to the law, then after 1928, no more return
passages would be legally provided. The last return ship did
not in fact leave until 1929 when 425 embarked on the SS
Sutlej. Requests for repatriation, particularly for destitute
Indians continued up to the late 1930s and early 1940s,
especially as the economic conditions of East Indians worsen-
ed. In 1930, for example, 1,300 requested repatriation. The
most sustained requests came from the East Indian Asso-
ciation of Jamaica, the East Indian National Union and the
East Indian Progressive Society which represented the East
Indian community in Jamaica. Requests were based on their
claim that many East Indians had not known of the time
limit placed on their claim of return passages and, therefore,
their requests should be honoured. In the 1940s, the EIPS
continued its case for the repatriation of time-expired Indians
and the protector or immigrants, Allan Ritchie, did in fact
ask for a list of immigrants who claimed return passages and
promised that after the war the government would consider
their request. However, no further free or assisted repatri-
ation took place from Jamaica after 1929 though arrange-
ments could be made at any time for all Indians who could
afford to pay their full passage.




Group worship on an estate

Opposition to Repatriation From India

The complete cessation of repatriation from Jamaica after
1929 was due partly to the successful agitation in India it-
self for the abolition of return passages. This agitation had
been due to three causes. In the first place, the high mortality
rate on return ships in years when large numbers of invalids
were repatriated was a matter of grave concern. Secondly,
the high proportion of destitute Indians who returned to
India from the colonies and who were unable to maintain
themselves in India was greatly opposed; and thirdly, it was
felt that great adjustment/re-adjustment problems were ex-
perienced by the majority of the repatriates.
The first cause for the agitation against return passages
which developed in India from 1930 stemmed from what
became popularly known as'The SutlejTragedy'. On the voy-
age of the Sutlej in 1929 with return immigrants from Jam-
aica and British Guiana, 44 Indians had died. The Colonial
Emigration Agent at Calcutta blamed these deaths on the
embarkation of Indians who were in 'precarious health'. In
addition, the Gleaner reported that the Sutlej had been over-
crowded.21 These charges were denied by the protector of
immigrants in Jamaica who pointed out that the proper
regulations laid down by the Government of India had been
followed and that no immigrants who were not likely to sur-
vive the voyage had embarked from Jamaica. On the con-
trary the deaths had been due to an outbreak of.measles, and
even so, only seven from Jamaica had succumbed; the rest
being from British Guiana. Nevertheless, the Government of
India ordered an enquiry into this voyage. The enquiry was
entrusted to a committee consisting of C.S. Bingeman, dis-
trict magistrate of the 24 Pargannas, Lieutenant Colonel A.
Denham-White, protector of emigrants, Calcutta, and M.M.H.
Guuznavi, a member of the legislative assembly. One of their
major findings was that return ships had been using the same
scale of rations and medical comforts prescribed for emi-
gration from India during the operation of indentured mi-
gration. These were, however, inadequate and needed to be
upgraded particularly as return ships contained so many old
immigrants. With a view to preventing future tragedies, the
committee made a number of recommendations dealing with
the improvement of food supplies, medicines, scale of ac-
commodation, and regulations to prevent invalids from
undertaking the voyage.

These recommendations were never implemented, how-
ever, because of the growing opposition in India towards re-
patriation. Such opposition had been launched by the press
and by Gandhi and C.F. Andrews, since 1920. This opposi-
tion was based on the inability of destitute Indians to main- '
tain themselves and the general inability of returnees to set-
tie down in India. Opposition on these grounds was supported .r .
by the Government of India which also felt that the repatri-
ation of Indians who were unable to support themselves or e.
who were without friends or relations who would do so, was
undesirable in the interests of the repatriates themselves. '
Indeed, the conditions of those who returned to India were
generally so deplorable that the Government of India was
urged to rule against continued repatriation. Chaturvedi, the
editor of the Calcutta newspaper Vishal Bharat, who under-
took an independent enquiry into the state of repatriates I -
and in fact was involved with C.F. Andrews in rehabilitation
work among them, complained that the repatriate was al-
most a stranger in his own land, '... for things have changed
so much during his absence, that he can no longer recognize
in the land to which he is coming back the country which
he left 30 years or 40 years ago'.22 4
In 1920, Chaturvedi had visited Matiaburz, a suburb of V
Calcutta where large numbers of returnees converged. They a a'
were described as being, '. .. scattered throughout the dis- .4
trict crowded in bustees, malaria riddled, without work,
nourishment or medical relief.. '23 Many of those who had 'c .
no money had reportedly been driven from their villages on z~.-' '
their return to India because they could not fit in with the ..
social structure of the village community. Most of the immi- East Indian Girls in Janmaican Dress. Port Antonio, 1897.



And earn a steady Income
Buying a few shares in some big business
may not mean much. But, buying units
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difference. Your Units
represent a share in the ." 0
money that is pooled to
purchase shares in
profitable companies,
and other investments
that pay dividends to
build the value of your
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regular income from dividends
in the Income Fund.
Because there'll always be fluctuations
in the value of the underlying securities in
each fund Unit Values and yields ...........
may go down as well as up and there U
is no assurance of continuous growth. JAMAICA

Buy units now Keep your money growing!
Trustees Bank of Nova Scotia Trust Company Limited

grants so rejected, crowded the riverside with the vague hope
that a ship might take them back to the colonies. According
to Mahatma Gandhi in an article to The Young Indian, these
repatriates had jumped out of the frying pan into the fire,
and their constant cry was . .anywhere out of India!'24
According to Gandhi, their misery had been aggravated by
the fact that a number of those who returned were colonial
born, . . descendants from uncultured half-disindianized
parents, . social lepers not even knowing the language of
the people'.2s These factors resulted in the announcement
by the Government of Jamaica in 1930 that there would be
no future repatriation of Indians from Jamaica.26 The
government was therefore constantly urged to use the money
intended for repatriation to settle Indians on the land in the

The permanent East Indian community in Jamaica, there-
fore, developed when time-expired Indians, Indians released
from indenture and Indians who commuted the unexpired
portion of their contract opted for settlement in lieu of re-
patriation. In 1889, this community totalled approximately
10,000 people.27 This number war progressively increased
each year as more and more Indian immigrants completed
their indentures. Indeed, 53 per cent of all those introduced
between 1879 and 1916 settled permanently in Jamaica a
continuation of the pre-1879 trend as 69 per cent of Indians
introduced between 1845 and 1878 settled in the host
society. A similar trend was observed in other West Indian
colonies. Between 1843 and 1917, for example, only 66,140
of the 238,909 Indians introduced into British Guiana, re-
turned to India.28 On the abolition of indentured servitude
in Jamaica in 1920-21, the majority of those who became
free also settled permanently. By 1930 when organized
repatriation was terminated, the East Indian population in
Jamaica totalled 17,599.29


1. Jamaica Law 23, 1879, Secs. 41 and 43.
2. Central Government File (hereafter C.G.F.) 1B/9/27, Doorly to
Gooderidge, 22 October 1920, Jamaica Archives.

3. Jamaica Law 23, 1879, Sec. 38.
4. Protector of Immigrants Reports, 1903-1920.
5. "Rules for the Government of the Immigration Department",
C.S.O. 1/B/5/76/547, Jamaica Archives.
6. C.G.F. 1B/9/27, J. Cohen to Charles Doorly, 1 November 1909.
7. Dr. Comins, Report on the proposed abolition of return passages
from Trinidad and British Guiana, Jamaica Archives.
8. Ibid.
9. C.G.F. 1B/9/27, Doorly to the Colonial Secretary, 27 May 1909.
10. Falmouth Post (Jamaica), 11 February 1845.
11. Morning Journal, 21 April 1838.
12. Ibid.
13. Crossman Commission Report, 1884.
14. Colonial Secretary's Office (hereafter C.S.O), 1B/5/75/8721,
Protector of Immigrants to the Colonial Secretary, 18 August
15. C.S.O. 1B/5/75/43, Public Works Dept. (hereafter PWD), to the
Colonial Secretary, 5 October 1903.
16. Ibid., Riddell to the Colonial Secretary, 5 October 1903.
17. Protector of Immigrants Report, 1909-1910.
18. Ibid.
19. Bulwer-Lytton to Governor Darling, Despatch No. 16, 7 June
1858 in Papers Relating to the West Indies and Mauritius (Lon-
don: 1858).
20. C.G.F. 1B/9/76, Poiri to the Protector of Immigrants.
21. Daily Gleaner (Jamaica), 14 May 1930.
22. B. Sannyasi and B. Chaturvedi, A Report on the Emigrants Re-
patriated to India under the Assisted Emigration Scheme from
South Africa and on the Problem of Returned Emigrants from
all Colonies, Calcutta: 1931.
23. Ibid.
24. Ibid.
25. Ibid.
26. C.G.F. 1B/9/81, Report of the Colonial Emigration Agent, Cal-
cutta, 6 March 1930.
27. Protector of Immigrants Report, 1889-1891.
28. G. Roberts and J. Bryne, "Summary Statistics on Indenture and
Associated Migration Affecting the West Indies, 1834-1918",
Population Studies, Vol. XX, No. 1, July 1966.
29. Protector of Immigrants Report, 1930.


Pat Green is employed as a project architect with the Ministry
of Construction and has a special interest in the island's
historic buildings. She contributed "Small Settler Housing
in Chapelton: Microcosm of the Jamaican Vernacular" to
Jamaica Journal 17:3.

Verene Shepherd is a graduate student in the Department
of History, University of the West Indies, Mona.

Gloria Escoffery O.D., is Jamaica Journal's regular art re-
viewer. She is an artist, poet and journalist and head of the
English Department at Browns Town Community College.

Karen Booth is a senior editor with the newly launched
South-North News Service, a syndicated, non-profit wire
service which will provide U.S. and British newspapers with
feature articles on developing countries written by local

journalists. Mrs. Booth previously worked for many years
for Time magazine in New York.

Karl Aiken contributed "Lobsters: Their Biology and Con-
servation" to Jamaica Journal 17:4. A lecturer in the depart-
ment of Zoology, University of the West Indies, Mona, his
major areas of interest are fish and ecology.

Barry Jupp lectures in the Department of Botany, Univer-
sity of the West Indies, Mona. Dr. Jupp is particularly inter-
ested in the growth, productivity and ecology of freshwater
and marine plants and contributed "The Seagrasses of Jam-
aica" to Jamaica Journal 16:4.

Malcolm Hendry specialises in coastal geology and lectures in
the Department of Geology, University of the West Indies,
Mona. Dr. Hendry previously worked as a geologist with the
Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica.


Six Options

By Gloria Escoffery
When the Hobbyhorse leans in the corner, it is just a stick; as soon as
it is ridden, it becomes the focus of the child's imagination and turns
into a horse. E. H. Gombrich

he National Gallery midsummer exhibition of en-
vironmental art,1 which features American artists
Sam Gilliam and Joyce J. Scott alongwith Jamaicans
David Boxer, Laura Facey, Colin Garland and Dawn Scott,
while in my opinion not entirely successful if success were
to be measured in terms of peak performance by each parti-
cipant is, however, a four-star event in the gallery's 1985
calendar. Let me elaborate.
Curatorial policy of a public institution such as our
National Gallery has to take account of multifarious func-
tions and responsibilities. Without going into the philosophic
issue of the role of art in society or the cultural and socio-
economic factors which inevitably cast their shadow on all
blueprints for development, one must recognize that each
exhibition has to be seen and judged as an event with dif-
ferent, though complementary objectives. A particular show
may even, as in this instance, foster a spirit of lively impro-
visation, trial and error rather than enshrined-for-all-eternity
success. The annual national show exists to provide a show-
case for new and established talent and to enable the public
to take the artistic pulse of the nation at regular intervals.
This is quite a different matter from the depth charge of the
retrospective. Between these major events the educative and
recreative process goes on, usually in the form of thematic
If one looks closely at this 'intermediary' programme, how-
ever, it is evident that even here there are shifts of emphasis
which suggest that a coherent policy is being pursued. The
objectives so far have included a major bid to highlight a

hitherto neglected Jamaican genre the 1979 "Intuitive
Eye"; to dramatise the vital connection between the arts
- 1983 "Art and Dance"; to demonstrate the consistency of
individual artistic vision 1981 "Theme and Variations"; to
demonstrate the diversity of approach possible in handling
the same theme 1977 "The Self and Each Other", 1978
"The Passion of Christ", 1983" Male and Female . "; to
focus on a particular medium 1966 "The Print" and 1981
"Works on Paper". Then of course there have been the oc-
casions, too numerous to list here, when the gallery has taken
the opportunity to expose the public to selections from public
and private collections sometimes, as in the 1983 "Aspects
of Brazilian Art" and the 1983 "Contemporary Venezuelan
Art" with the added advantage of being able to tune in on
the outside world.
It would take a computer mind, which I lack, to make a
check list of objectives described above which appear to have
been pursued in the environmentalist show. It must be pointed
out, though, that an extra sense of life was injected into the
gallery programme by this experiment. Instead of using
works which were already shown, the chosen artists were
asked, perhaps I should say challenged, to come up with
ideas that could be carried out within a given space and with
such resources as the gallery could provide. This, in terms of
financial assistance to local participants must have been, as
you and I know, very limited.
For the Jamaicans I cannot speak for the two Ameri-
cans because I do not know if what they had previously
shown elsewhere is classified as environmental art this was
an adventure into a new medium. I must make this state-
ment with a qualification of degree, however, Boxer and
Garland and indeed, Facey, being well-known for their
handling of assemblages in shallow space and creating 'en-
vironments' of one sort or another. Dawn Scott's mixed

media assemblage in high relief, The turquoise bower (shown
in the 1983 annual show) had indicated a move away from
her familiar batik-narrative style towards greater plasticity.
If, then, the intention behind the show is, in pursuance of
aims outlined in the catalogue of the 1983 "Aspects I" ex-
hibition, 'to probe the creative process itself' the curatorial
action here seems to have been a prod along with the probe.2
And there is, of course, the added fillip of the American pre-
sence, which was bound to be stimulating, and to set the
public making comparisons a socially indispensable pro-
cess if only because it is only when we see ourselves in re-
lation to the outside world that we begin to understand our-
Before commenting on the individual exhibits, it may be
useful for me to give a brief sketch of the background of the
two American artists. Sam Gilliam, born in 1933 in Tupelo,
Mississippi, had as his launching pad specialised training in
painting, and has a distinguished academic background not
unlike Boxer's, culminating in an honorary doctorate of
letters from the University of Louisville. His curriculum vitae
records such a long list of solo and group exhibitions, com-
missions, awards and prizes that it would be impossible to list
them here. Suffice it to say that his work is known and highly
regarded in Washington D.C., New York, San Francisco,
Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta and many other American
cities, and has also been shown extensively in Europe. Joyce
Scott, 15 years Gilliam's junior, is not quite as firmly estab-
lished, but she has chalked up quite a record of training, ex-
perience and exposure. Her forte is crafts; the mind boggles
at the energy and initiative of this woman not yet 40 years
old who has managed to obtain proficiency in leathercraft,
earth fibres, traditional Nigerian tie-dye, native American
beadwork and weaving, not to mention her involvement in
theatre work and multimedia fashion performances.
In dealing with the unfamiliar, the mind inevitably seeks
correspondences which may serve as grounds for comparison.
I have already linked Gilliam with Boxer and, knowing Dawn
Scott's achievements with batik, Laura Facey's in 'stuffs',3
the local viewer might have expected a lively interplay of
comment on the 'feminine contingent'. As it happens, how-
ever, the links and comparisons between visitors and locals,
and the complex inter-relationships of style and content,
open up entirely different lines of thought. The show is,
in fact, full of interesting surprises, justifying my original
claim for it as an outstanding achievement within the con-
text of the National Gallery programme.

Environmental art, though by no means a new art
form, is new to Jamaica. Its main advantage is that
it offers diverse opportunities for the artist to involve
the person referred to by Gombrich as 'the beholder' in a
more intimate way. He may be taken on a museum tour which,
by the intelligent use of multimedia techniques, involves his
sensibilities to a greater or lesser extent. He may be sub-
jected to an intense emotional experience which generates
empathy with the individual or general human condition. He
may be taken on a joy ride or invited to stand back and look
at a microcosm of the cosmos, the world, a personal room

or space in a showcase. He may also be invited to query the
very nature of man's perception of space, the complexity of
its physical and psychic ramifications, a line of development
prefigured by the canvases of Picasso, Magritte and Mondrian,
to name only three of the true originals of 20th century art.
The reason I have chosen as the epigraph to this article a
quotation from the writings of E.H. Gombrich is that, al-
though he writes principally about the evolution of style
from naked perception of that something out there and his
studies focus on representational art, he has brought to the
forefront the role of the conditioned beholder in creating
what is seen (in 'life' no less than in 'art'). The hobbyhorse
which he refers to above is still, however, something which is
moved out there in the picture. He becomes an even more
lively beast if the 'beholder' himself is invited to move into
the space with the hobbyhorse as in environmental art -
or, to even extend it further as in kinetic art by entering
the 'picture' and taking the reins.
There is another way in which I find the thesis propound-
ed by Gombrich particularly relevant while viewing this
show. Not only beauty, but meaning itself, lies in the eye of
the 'beholder'. Interpretation becomes more complex when
the process of what he calls 'decoding' depends not merely
in matching what we see in the picture with bits and pieces
of coded experience we refer to with the conviction that this
is what life looks like, but also in hazarding a series of hypo-
theses about what stylistic conventions a particular artist is
using, what message he is intending to convey as he plays on
our senses, bombarding us with puns from every angle. Soon
we begin to ask ourselves all sorts of questions. Does the
artist have a responsibility to communicate with us, with
Everyman, regardless of cultural background? And if so what
is the highest common factor we can count on? Is there some
base line of aesthetic satisfaction the beholder has a right to
demand or should he more tolerantly accept with thanks
whatever he is personally conditioned to receive? Must we
dismiss all possibility of an objective standard of communi-
cation? Is communication the criterion; if so on what terms is
it to be judged by its extensiveness? Intensity? Quality?

The diversity of reaction to this show proves to be an in-
teresting and true reflection of our multi-level culture. Here I
use the word 'culture' in the wider social sense. The disparity
between the two meanings is of course exploited by Dawn
Scott who ironically telescopes them in her title A Cultural
Object, a touch of verbal wit which will have clinched the
meaning of her exhibit for the cognoscenti and have been
lost on the rest.
It may be worthwhile pausing at this moment to consider
the usefulness of literary labels as well as, in this show, the
various graffiti, posters, fragments of the printed page (in-
cluding maps), which appear in particular in the exhibits of
Dawn Scott, David Boxer and Joyce Scott. A thesis could be
written on this topic. Here I must confine my reflections to
those which relate to my own response, substantially affect-
ing the way I saw the works.
I went through the show for the first time ignoring the
titles or labels. I also found it an unbearable strain to read
all the messages claiming attention in the Joyce Scott exhibit.
The first impressions I received from the Sam Gilliam exhibit


Sam Gilliam and his "Autumn Surf Niagara '"

was totally uncoloured by preconceptions. Consequently I
took in with my eyes what I thought was a purely abstract
arrangement of fabrics, mirrors, and an abstract background
arrangement of bars or beams it is difficult to find a neu-
tral word which excludes the idea of purpose. Had I taken
cognisance of the title Autumn Surf Niagara as I un-
doubtedly should have done, my reaction would have been
entirely different. As it was, I felt somewhat disappointed
that this was a 'showcase' type use of space in which one
could not move about and interact. The title would have set
me thinking associatively of conventional nature scenes, of
parks and 'scenic' places where the visitor stands at a dis-
.tance and points his camera in the direction of the most
spectacular 'view'. I would have remarked that those 'cas-
cades' of drapery note the after-the-event choice of word
- did indeed suggest a waterfall. In terms of style, I should
also have wondered if the artist, with his sophisticated art
history background, intended a new use post-impressionist
technique, a historicising exercise, in fact, which would give
a reinterpretation of the impressionist approach to nature.
And then all sorts of other ideas would have come flooding
in. Laura Facey, an artist known for the way she constantly
wrestles with problems relating to man and the natural en-
vironment would have been hastily ushered in to join the
company of Gilliam and Boxer on the stage of my thoughts.
But how relevant was all this to the impact of the work I
was looking at? Was it better, or worse to see it, as it were,

without footnotes, even perhaps if I read the clues wrongly
and started to interpret it as a form of social comment of a
much less subtle kind, or as a pure abstraction? Does a critic
have a duty to do his homework and so approach, and actual-
ly perceive, a work of art quite differently from the way the
average gallery goer sees it? Clearly one is on the wrong track
anyway to try to conceive of an 'average gallery goer'.
In attempting to relate to Autumn Surf Niagara, I was
assisted less by the title than by information given to me by a
member of the gallery staff who was in the know: that Sam
Gilliam had at some point in his career made the decisive step
of taking his canvases off their stretchers and showing them
in other ways. The wooden structures which I had taken to
be 'purely' an element in the design, creating firm rectangles
against which the free flow of the draperies was more effect-
ive, were transformed before my eyes into 'stretchers'. It also
helped to know that this work, part of a consistent series,
had undergone some modification in Jamaica; the stretchers,
the mirrors, and a piece of local colour in the form of a small
square of printed cloth from the craft market, had been
introduced. Now my thoughts could really run wild. To carry
the exercise to an extreme and ridiculous length, could I not
interpret the cheeky little piece of print cloth as a comment
on the modest relative size, or creative origin or productivity
of Jamaica and the United States? And what of the mirrors?
I really have no clue to what went on in the artist's mind,
and he had already departed, so I wasn't able to ask him.

Joyce Scott and friend construct her environment, "Things Lovers Do".

Should I have needed to do so? This remains an open ques-
tion. I cannot claim that the fact that most Jamaican viewers
would politely walk by this display makes it any less great,
especially if I am about to insist that the Boxer room, with
all its iconographical hurdles, will remain inaccessible in its
totality to the majority of viewers, and yet profoundly though
subtly transform the way they look at life. Is this the criterion
by which we must judge whether something succeeds as art?

In considering the response of the Jamaican public to art
generally, it must be admitted that we are rather parochial
and need to be educated, but is this necessarily bad? What
is 'bad'? Bad or good for us in so far as it inhibits or facili-
tates a pleasurable reaction? The question sign has always
been my favourite punctuation mark (after the semi-colon)
but in this column I find I have to make it work overtime,
and this is indicative of the laser beam success achieved by
the National Gallery in bringing the show off. If I had start-
ed out my review with a conventional expression of ap-
probation like 'This is a stimulating show', the idea would
have died on the spot. It is better for it to have emerged en
Before going on to comment on the five other individual
exhibits, another word about us as beholders our draw-
backs and our strong points. I am unable to give the statis-
tical percentage of visitors to the show who can read the cap-
tions or are in the habit of reading. For those who can't,

and indeed for those who can, Dawn Scott undoubtedly is
the bombshell dropper. But is a life-sized 'effigy' of a near
madman placed at the centre of a maze made of old zinc
sheets really acceptable as art? Some viewers are inclined to
think not. This might be a reflection of how convoluted we
are, how uncomfortable with the selves we refuse to know,
in the middle reaches of our society, the ramifications of
which can be understood only by those like myself who
'born and grow right yahso'. On the top layer, imagine a
sheet of restless yearning for whatever is in vogue in New
York, beneath it a morass of suspicion that the "Emperor
of Ice cream"5 is more naked than Dawn Scott's ghetto
dweller. Empathise with the 'beholder' who is constantly
having his aspirations undercut by the need to Anancy him-
self out of a bad situation with defensive tactics of one sort or
another. Consider the fate of a soul destined to float above
the world of the zinc fences and the scrawled obscenities; or
subscribing to a traditional code (established in the forties)
which places the masses, the 'sufferer', at the centre of our
democratic social structure. (Now I am talking like Dawn
Scott, as many may do for a while after viewing her exhibit.)
Pity the poor devil whose already dated 1960s 'anti-Euro-
centricism' screams at you as you overhear him, genteely
damning with faint phrase in that oh so not non-U British
accent the Boxer exhibit: 'Yes, quite a lot of work here, but
rather boring; I seem to have seen it all somewhere before'.
Let us go back to the exhibits.

WY ~i -p

Dawn Scott prepares to cast the centrepiece of her "A Cul
Object" (above); a scene from her environment at right, top.

Love is an intriguing subject, especially to the young, who
are not sufficiently blase to demand that in art Things Lovers
Do, if not treated with a seriousness that shows it as some-
thing that can make people shout or weep, should then al-
ternatively project it as a source of exquisite wit. In the
Joyce Scott enclave I was a bit puzzled about the intended
overall tone. In this age of irony, ambivalence is of course in
order. Was there cause here to wince and bite one's lips and
giggle and simultaneously shed a few tears while cursorily
glancing at the way the consumer society exploits court-
ship at the valentine card level? I suspect that all this (along
with black protest) is intended to come through, but, for me
at least, it doesn't. From the formal point of view, I think the
opportunity to use floor space in an interesting way is wasted,
that is, there is no point, or inevitability about the placing of
the various objects and messages. The black mannequin.(?)
couple who is evidently intended to provide the focal point
of interest is too flimsy, too unremarkable as an image to
draw the display together.
If diffusiveness of interest is the undoing of Joyce Scott,
our Jamaican Scott, Dawn, a roots female who shoots from
the hip, put everything into the one-shot experience of the
viewer who travels down her corridor of doom to the figure
of despair at the centre. Perhaps, though, it was calculated
that he will find himself more slowly reexamining the graffiti,
giving a fresh look at the garbage-lined footpath, as he re-
traces his steps. Such cliche metaphors as 'retracing one's

steps' and 'coming down to earth' take on new, fresh life
in this determined pursuit of the raw truth, which defiantly
takes something off the streets and gives it back, in quotation
marks, in the context of an art gallery. The entire concept
was a flash of inspiration, and it is well carried out, to the
last detail, without even a 'tupse' of heightening to underline
the intrinsic symbolism. I presumptuously suggested to the
artist that she might just have hinted at a crown of thorns by
placing a twig of macca on the man's head. Not Dawn. Refer-
ences to the functions of religion there are, in the graffiti and
the 'holy picture' tucked in somewhere in the 'fence'; but
these are out there part of the mise en scene. The symbol-
ism comes through because of her overall concept and, let us
face it, because of the 'culture' bank of Christian imagery
which she shares with the beholder. A Moslem, unfamiliar
with the stations of the cross, would have perceived the
figure differently.
The coded messages that Scott transmits are such as can, in
our society, readily draw blood. Is there a hint of political
propaganda? Is she being as absolutely fair to both political
leaders as she claims? Is it possible to argue that such a work
should not be shown in our National Gallery because it pro-
jects just one side of life, a shameful one which exposes us
to the world and might even damage our tourist industry?
This is a level on which Jamaican tongues wag. Scott's posi-
tion is unassailable; this is merely her microcosm, her little
message to the world. As a matter of fact man's sufferings,


i I'


r il4!

t 0

- * *



David Boxer's environment, clockwise: one aspect of The Three Graces
component; heads ascending from the Narcissus component; Gorgon
head from the Wasteland; Monument to the War; Floor Piece; the Fall
of Icarus; The Three Graces.


: r**-

Laura Facey (right) and "The Room", this page. Colin Garland at far

man's inhumanity to man 'don't stop here'. Returning home
from the show I remembered and looked up an article with
photographs of the work of Ed Kienholz, an American ex-
ponent of environmental art with much the same humani-
tarian outlook, and a similar concept of how, by using pack-
ed, constricted spaces, and replicas of persons in a life situ-
ation, one can show the lower depths of loneliness and des-
From Dawn Scott's Zolaesque naturalism to the dreamy

subjectivity of Laura Facey's exhibit and personality -
one has to take a giant step in imagination. And yet more
than one person, considering the Jamaicans as a group, has
found that there is a common sense of sadness, or morbidity.
The feeling of having reached a dead end not necessarily a
reflection of concern for the state of the nation does in-
deed pervade the Facey exhibit. Neutrally labelled The
Room, and mentioned in advance publicity as an attempt to
create a perfectly peaceful place, one might have expected
some sort of retreat within the bosom of nature, with impli-



I ^ t- ^-a


cations of rest and perhaps regeneration, or an awakening
from torpor. But the keep-off-the-grass effect of the show-
case use of space here, combines with almost every detail of
the 'decor' to produce the effect of a mausoleum, or per-
haps a cemetery, the long gloomy rectangles, and polished
beams (suggesting expensive casket fittings) which form the
backdrop; so does the severe mourning contrasts in tone and
the urn-like fixture at one end; the garments and shoes sug-
gesting properties in some fixed ritual; the puppet hanging
there waiting for someone to activate it. There is one ex-
ception though. The rectangular sketch of a landscape which
lay at floor level just where one might expect the missing
person to have stretched out at ease is by no means a rest-
ful patch of zoysia grass, but rather a perfunctory sketch,
bursting with a feeling of suppressed life. A pastoral escape
may ultimately provide revival of the life forces. Even if one
is personally worn out, the processes of nature continue in all
their variety and apparent disorder.

Some such concept might have been deep in the core of
Laura Facey's subconscious mind when she produced the
original design for The Room, though the final effect was not
consciously intended. What has emerged as the work came to
fruition has a tremendous spiritual coherence. It is for-
bidding, not the feather bed we had anticipated. Sometimes
an artist like Laura Facey, whose work is profoundly intuitive,
comes out with a 'statement' that is quite different in mood
from what she originally intended, or even from what she
thinks she is making.
I found Colin Garland's exhibit disappointing. Perhaps
this was because I had based my preconceptions on his
Moon City, an architectural fancy exhibited in the last annual
show, and expected to be taken into a space in which all
would be excluded but surprising and exotic vistas and person-

ages erupting from his whimsical imagination. Instead, there
is a sad lack of fireworks; the marine mural which permanent-
ly enhances the lobby seems to have little relationship with
the rest, and the white sails (?) which form a canopy neither
function as a means of closing the too open-ended space nor
as an interesting arrangement in themselves. From the bal-
cony level, the dreaming lady in white (Narcissus' other self
Echo as the original dreamer ?) is a bit more effective than
below, but her retinue of cats, like herself and the sails, all
white, seem to be arranged in no particular order or relation-
ship to her. It is an interesting thought, by the way, to com-
pare this dreaming lady's inadequacy with a similar failure
mentioned in my comments on the Joyce Scott exhibit.

Jamaica's national cultural institution was founded in 1879. Its main
functions are to foster and encourage the development of culture,
science and history in the national interest. It operates as a statutory
body under the Institute of Jamaica Act, 1978 and falls under the
portfolio of the Prime Minister.
The Institute's central decision-making body is the Council which is
appointed by the Minister. The Council consists of individuals involved
in various aspects of Jamaica's cultural life appointed in their own
right, and representatives of major cultural organizations and insti-
The Institute of Jamaica consists of a central administration with a
number of divisions operating with varying degrees of autonomy.
Chairman: Hon. Hector Wynter, O.J.

Colin Garland's "Reality and Illusion".

Colin Garland's real forte is his magic paint brush, which
had full scope as a vehicle for wit in the cats exhibited in his
recent Harmony Hall show. As sculptured objects, the cats
are not sufficiently interesting to carry off their blank white
surfaces. There too, he had the sort of fairly small room in
which detail counts. In this instance the space is just not
right for Garland, or maybe the opportunity had caught him
at one of those off seasons or burnt out moments all artists
pass through.
To David Boxer, on the other hand, this show was not
simply a challenge to meet particular conditions within a
given time but an opportunity to lay on the line the entire
logical development of his art for the past 10 years or more.
His compendious exhibit cannot be adequately dealt with
here; the most that one can do is make a few points about
his particular use of space and the style of his thought,
which, happily, coincides so perfectly with the style of his
expression. Were this not so, the effects would have been
disastrous, considering the complexity of the exhibit. But
what must come through to every 'beholder' even to those
who cannot follow him in his iconographical excursions is
the extraordinary coherence of the exhibit.
Let me ease myself into this tremendous critical task by

making a few comparisons which may be enlightening. Like
Sam Gilliam, David Boxer is essentially a traditionalist with
an intellectual bias though not at all unaware of the
aesthetic side of what is being projected. Unlike Gilliam, he
uses the technique (also employed but with far less virtuosity
by Joyce Scott) of the tour guide. When I commend his vir-
tuosity I am referring not merely to the fact that he brings
into play such a variety of media techniques, treating the
viewer to a long film made by himself and such side effects
as the spectacle of curtains constantly fluttering in a still
atmosphere, but that every single effect has been carefully
improvised to add meaning within the context of the whole.
Take for instance the detail of the tilted floor in the Victorian
tableau of the Three Graces. I had not realized why I was
beginning to feel off balance, as one does in the 'giddy
house' at Port Royal, until my companion pointed out the
reason. How truly in keeping with the entire concept of an
age when an opulent civilisation hovered on the brink of de-
cadence! Every single detail, every stimulus, matters. If a
section of wall or a limb is blue, it has to be exactly the right
blue; if units are arranged in a certain order one soon realises
that it is necessary to look into the rationale of the arrange-
ment. This has to be so because at the very heart of the
theme lies this contrapuntal movement of order/disorder -
the Apollonion and Dionysian principles which seem to
govern not only human life but also the extra-terrestrial
forces or elements of nature which account for 'natural' dis-
asters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Boxer has the sort
of imagination which encompasses the macrocosmic and the
microcosmic, seeing them as one.
This view of life leads to an acceptance a fatalism if you
will which may be variously regarded as pessimistic,
morbid or tranquilising. Let us look at the role in the cosmic
drama of the shoal or chorus of tiny fishes which unobtrusive-
ly usher the visitor around the room. They first appear in
the mural behind the Narcissus tableau, creating some excite-
ment in an otherwise still ambience as they erupt, Vesuvius-
like, from their neatly ranged glass tanks. Very soon they
take on the guise of human beings as their pretty scales on
close scrutiny turn out to be composed of diagramatic rep-
resentations of human anatomy. Then one notices that some
of these strange mutants, following the example of the
creatures in Bosch's compositions, have assumed snail shell
heads. There is so much to see and enquire into, so many
images represented in the various tableaus and 'altars' broken
into sub-zones of interest by boxes, cabinets, vertical and
horizontal showcase grids, that one hardly remembers the
fishes till, after the final altar to disorder, there they are
again, graceful and harmonious as ever, but not without a
hint of their true piranha viciousness, ready to conduct the
viewer to the exit door, the original point of entry; there he
is at last free to depart more or less 'with calm of mind all
passion spent'.7

Boxer, the consummate showman, knows the value of re-
iteration, with transformations, of the same images the
balls, the grids, the spirals, the Vesuvius motif, the cracks and
breaches inflicted by time and by sudden calamitous events.
Let us pull our thoughts together by considering one of the
main recurrent images, the classical plaster heads, which visu-
ally tally with the main title Headpiece. Their first, over-

David Boxer (right) and a scene from "Narcissus trapped in his self kiss".

whelming appearance is in the opening movement, as it were,
confronting the viewer as he passes uneasily by the corner
charnelhouse where bunches of heads, or skulls leer out,
initiating the holocaust theme which explains the reference
in the sub-title to "the Riefenstahl Requiem".8 What con-
fronts him next is this most orderly arrangement of classi-
cal heads which, in pairs, and using mirrors to simulate a
reflecting pool, play out the drama of the Narcissus myth.
The tidy geometrical arrangement which ensures that the
heads are by degrees progressively elevated plinth by plinth,
starting from one which is impacted in the platform below
ground level, underlines the irony. What dreadful corruption
one has witnessed, and here are these bland countenances
moving upward at clockwork intervals as it were, content,
as if their harmony was preordained. Behind them the figure
of Apollo rules, the golden haze of his glory somewhat
mottled, however. And the heads themselves show signs of
wear and tear, scarification and blotches of blue paint which
can be variously interpreted. The skulls will reappear in a
shopping cart and elsewhere disguised as very sinister pack-
ages. So will the classical heads, of course.
Boxer fully understands the force of images which are in-
complete, forcing the viewer to draw his meanings from the

context, filled in of course by the associative content of his
own imagination. This technique is nowhere more evident
than in the Icarus tableau where a pair of plaster hands palms
down, and a pair of very dead looking wings placed beside
the skeleton of an umbrella, by what seems almost a feat of
sleight of hand, convinced me that the armless boy mane-
quinn actually had the alert expression of a bold and curious
child. Another of his cunning conjurer's tricks is to draw
attention to tiny, 'distant' events and figures, which one
must strain to perceive and interpret, peering through a hole
in some foreground gauze perhaps. The actual fall of Icarus is
presented in this way. Any one with a modicum of artistic/
literary background will derive added pleasure from identi-
fying a glancing reference to Brueghel's Icarus and the re-
flection it occasioned in W.H. Auden's poem 'Musee des
Beaux Arts'.9
Space is running out, but I must make one last comment
on Boxer's technique for the benefit of those who may not
get the point and accuse the artist of merely rehashing the
leftovers of culture. If we have made one step forward in the
20th century, or should I say established one axiom,.it is
that all is permissible so long as it works. One has to conjec-
ture what an artist is trying to do and then only can the ques-

tion of success or failure be considered. As far as I am con-
cerned an artist may use any medium and technique includ-
ing, as Boxer does, collage, painting, piling bits and pieces
of 'junk' into boxes or cutting up the pages of what look like
in some cases rather valuable art books. Wit and humour have
their place along with serious thoughts, if one can manage to
coordinate them as Boxer does in The Three Graces tableau,
which presents a comic pastiche of Victorian melodrama.
Here he achieves a sense of time out for jokes while the
moment of calamity is on the point of overtaking u! (and the
clock is perhaps just about to toll the hour of 13).
Can you believe that this show was brought to fruition in
its final days in the very teeth of a general strike? My con-
gratulations to everyone involved, not only the exhibitors
but the curator of the show, Rosalie Smith McCrea, the
acting assistant curator, David Muir, and the entire National
Gallery staff.


1. The show will run until November.

2. Introduction by David Boxer in "Aspects I" Catalogue, National
Gallery of Jamaica, 1983.

3. See review in Jamaica Journal 18: 2.

4. E.H. Gombrich: Art and Illusion, Phaidon Press, 1960. Readers
who wish to pursue this author's ideas to a later stage of develop-
ment may refer to The Image and the Eye, Phaidon, 1982.
Another fascinating source book for ideas on perception in re-
lation to interpretation is a collection of essays (including one
by Gombrich) in The Language of Images edited by W.J.T.
Mitchell, University of Chicago Press, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1980.

5. A reinterpretation of the central figure in a poem by Wallace
6. Lawrence Weschler, "The Subversive Art of Ed Kienholz", Art
News Vol. 83 No. 17, September 1984.

7. John Milton.

8. Leni Riefenstahl (b. 1902) German film director and photo-
grapher who is noted for her Nazi propaganda film, Triumph of
the Will (1934) and that of the 1930 Munich Olympics.

9. "In Brugehel's Icarus, for instance: how everything
turns away
quite leisurely from the disaster, the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had for him on the white legs disappearing into the
green water..."



of our culture.

Culture is a most important aspect of
every society. It is at one and the same
time the roots of a people and the
ramifications of their aspirations. It
expresses in tangible form, from whence
a people are coming and where they
are going.
In Jamaica, the expression of our culture
is manifest in the various indigenous arts
and original creations of our many
talented people. Dancing and music
that reflect our roots, painting and
sculpture oriented toward our own
unique destiny, abound throughout our
society. It is the rich fabric of our island
life and we believe that it should be
encouraged and supported by the entire
The companies in our group are always
willing to support the development of
culture in Jamaica.

Head Office: 7-9 Harbour Street, Kinston.

When Jamaica Welcomed the World

The Great Exhibition of 1891
By Karen Booth

HVilliersStuart, Esq., of Dromana,
County Waterford,:woke in the
bright, clear, cold dawn on 27
January 1891. With other distinguished
guests invited by the governor for the
opening of the Jamaica International
Exhibition, he had arrived some days
earlier on the Royal Mail S.S. Medway.
The Medway also brought to the Ex-
hibition 'a Corps Dramatique', a variety
corps, some acrobats, a ventriloquist, an
'eminent pyrotechnist', and several
basket-weaving Carib Indians from St
Opening Day
To Mr Villiers Stuart we are indebted
for the detailed description of the open-
ing day, which was typical of late Vic-
torian dazzle and opulence, starting

with the assembly at King's House of
governor Sir Henry Blake and official
guests splendid in court dress or full
dress uniforms ablaze with decorations.
The governor and party climbed into
their assigned carriages to travel the
dusty road to Market Wharf downtown,
where they would greet the 25-year-old
Prince George who had come to Jamaica
in command of his ship the Thrush. The
future King George V was the younger
son of the Prince of Wales and had come
to open the Exhibition on behalf of
his father, its patron.
The crowds, assembled on all sides to
greet the prince, cheered as the governor
and his party rolled by. At Half Way
Tree, the military added to the dazzling
spectacle. The Trelawny Volunteers in
grey felt sombrero hats, scarlet jackets

and grey trousers provided a mounted
escort while the West India Regiment
in their Zouave uniforms and the King-
ston Volunteer Militia lined the route.
All along the road were arches, flags
and banners bearing such welcoming
slogans as 'Long live the Lady of Jam-
aica' or 'Welcome to our Sailor Prince'.
At the pier which was decorated in
bright bunting, the King's House guests
joined a crowd of brilliantly uniform-
ed officials. In the harbour, Russian,
Spanish and English ironclads drawn
up in a great semicircle thundered a
salute. As the prince passed in his steam
pinnace down an avenue of men o' war
boats, they saluted by raising their oars
'like a grove of pine trees'.
Flowers showered down from build-
ings along Harbour Street as the royal

The Moorish style building constructed for the Exhibition on lands now occupied by Wolmer's Schools

procession approached the town hall.
'His Royal Highness was greeted with
acclamations from thousands of loyal
throats and the whole brilliant scene -
the decorations, the crowds, the colours,
the cheers, combined to render the
pageant one not easily to be forgotten.'
The mayor welcomed the prince, re-
calling that he had first visited the colony
11 years before, and expressed the grati-
tude of the whole island to Sir Henry
Blake for organizing the Exhibition.

On the return journey to King's
The loyalty of the teeming masses, which
had been bubbling and seething all the morn-
ing, now fairly boiled over . the cheers
became deafening while as for the softer
sex, they seemed ready to spring out of
their smart dresses in order to give adequate
expression to their feelings. The waving of
handkerchiefs, the wafting of kisses seemed
but a poor vent; one lady was heard to say,
'I would like to hold his hand and kiss it'.

The coloured women called Prince
George 'Queen Grandmamma's son'.
There was a welcome pause for rest
and refreshment before the official
party, now joined by the ladies, set out
to open the Exhibition at one o'clock.
The spectacle there was described as
'very brilliant, the interior of the build-
ing being decorated with a profusion of
tropical flowers and foliage arranged in
festoons from column to column.
Transepts and galleries were thronged
with gaily dressed ladies, who seemed to

compete with the floral ornaments in
richness of colouring.'
When the prince, the governor and
Lady Blake had been seated on three
chairs of state with the other dignitaries
grouped around them on the dais, there
was a pause for the camera. 'Every beau
and every belle struck their most grace-
ful attitude, and put on their most
charming smiles.' However, at the criti-
cal moment there was 'an ominous
fumbling and fuss'. The 'operator',
as it was discovered later, had quarrelled
'with the Exhibition authorities and 'the
hoped-for historic photograph never be-
came an accomplished fact'.
There were the usual addresses and
congratulations, a choir sang a psalm,
the Bishop of Jamaica gave his blessing,
and the governor handed the prince a
golden key 'which I earnestly pray .
may be a fitting emblem of a golden
future for Jamaica'. As the prince de-
clared the Exhibition open, there was
wild applause, a fanfare of trumpets and
an artillery salute.
The prince with Lady Blake on his
arm, followed by the governor and his
guests, then toured the building and the
grounds. Mr Villiers Stuart who had
arisen in the cold, clear, dawn now com-
mented that:

We passed from court to court, the temper-
ature the while steadily going up until 85
degrees was reached. At this crisis we arrived
at a stately trophy of champagne bottles

labelled with the most noted vintage from
Epernay and Rheims. Here a beneficent
Frenchman advanced, followed by his Myrmi-
dons bearing a tray of glasses sparkling and
bubbling over with the driest and best brands,
which were distributed amongst us very op-
portunely, and just in time to restore our flag-
ging energies.
That night, after a banquet at King's
House, 'the demand upon our energies
was by no means ended' as Mr Villiers
Stuart and his fellow guests returned to
the Exhibition to see the fireworks. As
the long day ended, he remarked that
he was most impressed by:
the illumination of the fleet as seen from the
balconies of the Exhibition Building, a con-
spicuous feature in this display being the
Russian ironclad Minnie, the masts, spars, and
hull of which were picked out in fire by
means of thousands of little electric lights. As
seen in the distance she had the aspect of a
demon apparition, the ghost of some depart-
ed cruiser revisiting the scenes of her piratical
Nearly 8,000 people had visited the
Exhibition on the opening day. By the
time it closed three months later, 302,
831 visitors would have been admitted
[Handbook of Jamaica 1891-2 p. 577].

The Idea is Born
The Jamaica Exhibition, like the rash
of other exhibitions held all over the
world during the last half of the 19th
century, was inspired by Prince Albert's
resoundingly successful Great Exhibition
of 1851 at London's Crystal Palace. At
the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in
London in 1886, both the Prince of
Wales and the Queen had claimed to be
'highly satisfied' with a visit to the Jam-
aica Court and its exhibits of rum, coffee,
sugar, cocoa and more unusual products
including fibres and oils and perfumes.
A great exhibition had for years been
the dream of a .native-born Jamaican,
A.C. Sinclair. Mr Sinclair, who was
superintendent of the government print-
ing establishment and one of the com-
pilers of the Handbook of Jamaica, re-
ceived little encouragement from friends
who thought it impossible to organize
such an ambitious project in Jamaica.
Then in March 1889, Sir Henry Blake
arrived as the colony's new governor
and Mr Sinclair 'recognized the time and
the man'.1
Mr Sinclair's enthusiasm fell on deaf
ears until he persuaded William Faw-
cett, director of gardens and plantations
and then chairman of the board of
governors of the Institute of Jamaica, to
interest the governor. At a meeting of
the board of governors in September
1889, Mr Fawcett proposed holding an

A plan of the grounds

exhibition in Jamaica 'illustrative of its
natural products and their manufacture,
combined with a loan art exhibition'
[Handbook 1890-91 p.546]. The board
was then appointed as a committee to
draw up a preliminary plan to present to
the governor who was invited to head
the group.

According to the Handbook of Jam-
aica fo. 1891-92, Sir Henry 'manifested
from the first a most lively interest in
the scheme, and encouraged by him, a
much wider scope was given to the idea
than had at first been contemplated'. At
a public meeting held at the public library
on 19 September, Sir Henry put before
the 'leading' gentlemen of Kingston
three resolutions. The first invited other
West Indian colonies to send such ex-
hibits 'as will clearly indicate the great
resources of these colonies'. The second
urged England and 'other countries with
which we trade' to send special exhibits.
The third requested that gentlemen of
the island become guarantors 'to the ex-
tent of 10 and upward'.

The response was so enthusiastic that
over 800 was guaranteed in the room
that night. Shortly afterwards, a special
committee received guarantees upwards
of 10,000 in Kingston while the country
parishes raised thetotal to nearly 27,000

by the end of June 1890. To start the
building, Sir Henry asked the banks for
an advance of 15,000. Upon being re-
fused he then raised loans of 15,000
apiece from three wealthy donors: Er-
nest Verley, noted horse-breeder; George
Stiebel, self-made millionaire, custos of
St. Andrew and builder of Devon House;
and Colonel Charles James Ward, the
'nephew' of J. Wray and Nephew, cus-
tos of Kingston and perhaps the great-
est benefactor Jamaica had ever seen. (In
1912, he would give 12,000 to build
the Ward Theatre to replace the Theatre
Royal destroyed in the earthquake. )
Another 15,000 was advanced from
the public treasury. Thus the 30,000
which was the estimated cost of the
Exhibition had been secured within the
island itself.
In October, working committees
were formed to provide amusements,
handle refreshments and admissions,
arrange accommodation, telegraphic
facilities and freight and passage for
exhibits and visitors. The exhibits them-
selves were divided into six categories,
each with its own committee: 1) raw
materials 2) implements for obtaining
raw materials 3) machines and proces-
ses for making finished products 4)
manufactured goods 5) education 6)
fine arts, literature and science.

~~Cij~,~P 'P 'PhF.;3

Lady Blake

Sir Henry Blake

The governor informed foreign
governments and governors of all British
colonies of the intention to hold an
exhibition in Jamaica in early 1891
and invited them to encourage manu-
facturers and producers in their own
countries to participate. All goods for
the Exhibition were to be brought in
free of duty and no charge was made for
space, under the terms of the Jamaica Ex-
hibition Law passed in October. The law
also stipulated that control of the Exhi-
bition would be in the hands of the
Exhibition commissioners, the former
executive committee. George Stiebel
was appointed president of the com-
In April 1890, it was announced that
the Prince of Wales had agreed to be-
come patron of the exhibition and that
he and the rest of the royal family
would be represented by his son, Prince
George. The queen also agreed to loan
the famous Winterhalter portraits of
herself and the late prince consort.2
Committees were organized in Eng-
land, Scotland, Canada and New York.
The chairman of the London committee
was C. Washington Eves who had acted
as honorary commissioner for Jamaica
at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition.
Arrangements were made by Mr Eves
and the London committee for the
London Dramatic Company to come to
the Exhibition along with James Pain
and Sons who would be responsible for
fireworks. London would also provide
tickets and designs for medals and
awards. The mother country also pro-
mised an exhibit of post office appli-
ances and a complete set of jubilee coins
and medals from the Mint.
At the first meeting of the com-
missioners on 7 November, the building
committee unanimously recommended
Quebec Lodge as the site for the Ex-
hibition building. As described in the
Exhibition bulletin of January 1890,
'the site of the Exhibition Building is to
the north of the Kingston Race course
about a-mile-and-a-half from the King-
ston Harbour and nearly two hundred
feet above the sea. The position is a
very commanding one, both for the pur-
poses of seeing and being seen.'
The estimated cost of the Exhibition
building, which was to be built entirely
of wood and 'Moorish architecture', was
14,300. Originally it had been thought
that it would be cheaper to get the build-
ing constructed in the United States,
but in the end local contractors were
used. The architect was George Messiter.

The building would cover 40,000 square
The basic plan for the Exhibition
building was a cruciform with a 114'
high dome where the nave and transepts
met. The central nave would be 511'
long and 81' wide including the side
aisles while the transepts would be the
same width and 174' long. The nave
would be 59' high and the minarets
which would adorn the building's angles
would rise to 73'. The galleries could be
reached by interior staircases while the
scenery could be admired from the
roofs of the minarets. The grounds
would be laid out with ornamental
walks, trees, fountains, a band stand, a
concert hall and a Jamaica village and
In spite of predictions that the build-
ing would not be completed on time for
lack of imported bolts, preparations
went ahead on all fronts. Under the
supervision of Mr Fawcett, the grounds
were laid out with a magnificent display
of tropical foliage including palms,
coconuts and fruit trees uprooted by
giant tree-removers and then slowly
transported by ox-teams down Half
Way Tree Road to the Exhibition site.
By August 1890, it was obvious to the
building committee that they were run-
ning out of space, Canada alone having
applied for 50,000 square feet. As a re-
sult, an annexe was approved for Canada's
overflow, another for general exhibits
and a third for the 'moving machinery'.
An exhibition hall and an art gallery
were also added.

Hotels Built

From the beginning, the commis-
sioners recognized that one of their
major problems would be provision of

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Sketch of the original
Myrtle Bank Hotel which,
as the ad shows,
was opened
in time for the Exhibition


adequate and decent lodging for both
foreigners and people visiting from
country parishes. 'The fact was well
recognized', said the Handbook for
1891-92, 'that the lodging accom-
modation in Kingston was deficient ...
it was generally thought, too, that good
hotel accommodation was necessary if
the prosperity of the island of Jamaica
was ever to become, as was hoped, a
resort for winter travellers.'
Long before the Exhibition had ever
been conceived, there were litanies of
complaints from intrepid foreigners who
had had to sleep and eat in Kingston's
taverns and lodging houses. In 1873,
Charles Rampini and his wife were
taken by their driver to the 'Hall', 'for
by this grand name are inns known in
Jamaica'. The courtyard was filled with
goats, turkeys and 'wall-eyed' horses
and in such filthy condition that he pre-
sumed the 'litter had not been removed
for a week'. The owner, not moving
from her chair, called to a servant to
'put water into number 24'. Number 24
was 'gloomy as a vault' furnished only
with a bed, a chair and a basin stand
with a small strip of matting next to the
bed. 'There were few traces of that West
Indian luxury of which we had heard
so much before leaving home', com-
mented the dispirited Mr. Rampini
[pp. 17-18].
To remedy this sorry situation and to
create a hotel industry, a special com-
mittee was set up. In February, 1890,
at the opening of the legislative council,
the governor stated that he would sub-
mit a proposal for the encouragement
of the building of hotels and keeping of
livery establishments in the island. The
result was the Jamaica Hotels Law of
1890, passed on 24 April. This law
authorized the government to guarantee
the principal plus three per cent interest
on all debentures issued by hotel com-
panies. These new companies would also
be permitted to import all their materials
duty free. In return, they would have to
submit their plans to a government sur-
veyor for approval, all hotels in the
Kingston area would have to be com-
pleted within the year while those in the
country must be finished within 12
months from the passing of the law.
Under these generous terms, which in
effect pledged the island's resources if
the hotels went bankrupt, five hotels
were built. Two were in Kingston, the
Queen's and the Myrtle Bank, and one,
the Constant Spring, was in St. Andrew,
six miles outside the city.3 Already

under construction when the law was
passed, the Constant Spring even before
it opened its doors was thought by some
critics to be too far for casual visitors.
Nonetheless when it was finished in
1890, it was considered luxurious with
over 100 bedrooms, sitting rooms, dining
rooms, parlours and a 'magnificent
swimming bath attached'. Its extensive
grounds, walks and invigorating climate
were advertised as providing the 'unfail-
ing antidote' for invalids and those who
were 'worn-out, tired or nervous'. Two
trained nurses were on duty in the
The Myrtle Bank on Harbour Street
was the other first-class hotel with a lo-
cation more convenient for the Exhibi-
tion grounds. This 'substantial and com-
modious' building was said to have
'some very handsome rooms' while all
of them were well-furnished. It sought
commercial travellers and advertised a
special bachelors' floor. There was a
private pier, telegraph and telephone
and invalids were told that they would
'find the sea breezes peculiarly invigor-
ating and refreshing'. In fact, it was said
to be the coolest place in the city, 'sug-
gesting the Riviera in its situation and
general aspect.'4
The third hotel in the Kingston area
built under the hotels law was the
Queen's at the corner of Heywood and
Princess Streets. Not luxurious like the
other two, the Queen's was built with
the specific purpose of 'providing a
comfortable lodging for the respectable
peasantry of the island'. Colonel Ward
who had earlier loaned 5,000 to the
government to begin work on the
Exhibition, built the Queen's to 'sup-
ply a want long felt by country folk
of the humbler classes, that, namely,
of obtaining in Kingston comfortable
quarters at prices within their means,'
[Handbook 1893 p.483]. During the
Exhibition it would be filled with mem-
bers of the rural police force and country
If hotels were an urgent priority for
the Exhibition, equally important was
the improvement of the roads. Although
Anthony Trollope in 1859 found 'the
badness of the roads an additional excite-
ment', Sir Henry Blake realized that the
countryside would have to be opened
up for tourists expected to visit the
Exhibition, and for country people
bringing produce to the capital. In 1890,
the main roads were taken over by the
public works department, new bridges
were built in Portland and St. Thomas

and the railway had completed the first
12% miles of its extension. This was the
start of activity which by. 1896 would
increase the road network from 752%
to 1,839 miles.

Jamaica Rallies Around

Essential as it was to ensure the com-
fort of overseas visitors, the main task
was to rally the support of Jamaicans.
In 'A Letter to the People of Jamaica'
circulated in the form of a pamphlet, Sir
Henry Blake told Jamaicans what was
expected of them. 'We want you to
show the world how much we can pro-
duce, and we want you to exhibit any-
thing you can make. We hope to find
that you can make many things that we
now import, so that the money we send
away to pay for those things shall be
paid to you instead for your labour.' In
addition to exhibits of traditional crops
like sugar, cocoa and rum (which could
be compared with those of sister West
Indian colonies), there were possibilities
for new exports in trees and shrubs and
herbs 'the great value of which you
do not realize at present and which may
lay the foundations of exports as valu-
able even as the exports of sugar and
bananas'. Bush medicine was also of
interest. In the area of crafts, hats and
baskets could be made and saplings dis-
played for walking sticks and umbrella
handles. 'Even children could gather
the various coloured berries that grow
all over the island and string them'.
[Handbook 1890-91 pp. 549-50].
All over Jamaica, leading citizens
formed parish committees to promote
the Exhibition at local meetings and or-
ganize parish exhibitions; the best of the
exhibits were to be taken to the Inter-
national Exhibition. Although the turn-
out was later estimated at 5,000 people
with 230 attending each meeting, there
was a suspicion among the common
people that they were not being told the
real purpose of the Exhibition. Through-
out the colony the rumour quickly
spread that the Exhibition was simply a
means of finding out what the people
owned in order to raise their taxes. In
spite of a denial from the governor in a
letter read at the meetings, the Reverend
J.H. Chandler of St. Ann said that regard-
less of all that had been said and done,
the people held to the opinion that tax-
ation was at the bottom of the whole
affair. Nevertheless the organizers press-
ed on.
At every meeting, local committee
members explained how to organize

exhibits for the parish shows. In Annotto
Bay, Mr E.B. Baker pointed out that
there would be a botanist at the Jamaica
Exhibition who would be able to analyse
the bush plants which might lead to
some 'great medicines' being discovered.
Only that morning he had heard of a
case of consumption that had been
cured by a mixture of kola nut and
coconut oil. He also had seen banana
fibre which had been sent to England
after having its juices extracted and had
been sent back 'as fine and white as
could be wished for'.
Even the poorest person could make
something to send. In Bath, people were
encouraged to make bamboo into pipe
stems, napkin rings, and flower pots. In
Golden Grove, a Maroon instructed his
audience in how to heal wounds and
sores with herbs and roots. In Chantilly,
they could prepare medicinal plants and
sisal hemp. On 4 August the first of the
parish exhibitions was opened in Mon-
tego Bay. Other local exhibitions quick-
ly followed throughout the autumn

with the governor and Lady Blake visit-
ing nearly every one, before the year
was over [Exhibition Bulletin].
Jamaica on Show

In spite of gloomy predictions that it
could never be ready on time, 'the most
extraordinary commercial event in the
history of the Gulf of Mexico and the
West Indies' opened as scheduled on
27 January 1891. The main building
was described as 'graceful, light and im-
posing', greatly enhanced from the out-
side by the 'background of magnificent
hills'. The interior was 'of great beauty
and richness' with walls, dome and
arches in dull red and blue upon a cream
coloured ground:
The light and airy character of the structure
with its subdued and harmonious colouring,
the rich and in many cases brilliant hues of
the exhibits, the glitter of bright metal and
glass, and the ever-moving, many coloured
dresses of the visitors formed a scene never
before witnessed in Jamaica and which could
not fail to impress both the foreigner and the
native [Handbook 1891-92].

The public was admitted through
turnstiles either at the eastern gate or at
the main entrance to the south leading
directly to the Jamaican court. The Jam-
aican Street Car Company had extended
its line to the eastern gate while private
carriages let off their passengers at the
main entrance.
Jamaica's court occupied the central
part of the nave east and west of the
transepts, with a 'magnificent floral tri-
bute' directly under the dome. On dis-
play were the main products of the is-
land including sugar and rum, coffee
and cocoa. But the emphasis was on
minor products that the government
hoped could be developed into new,
profitable industries. As one writer later
remarked, 'If all Jamaica's eggs had re-
mained in the sugar-basket, she would
now be in the same unfortunate position
as are some of her sister islands in the
Caribbean Sea, which are entirely de-
pendent on the sugar-cane' [Cundall's
"Jamaica", p.422].
Sir Henry Blake and Mr Fawcett con-

L* Jan. 17

" Donovan

b Lowande


Circu s.
Smart Donkeys, Great Ath-
Lovely Ladies
Winsome Children.
Educated Dogs,
Trained Goats
Venomous Pythons.
Bead of t Slt t, bl rdly Jan. 7Lth


I -3


Jamaica Exhibition.

A STEAMFR for the conveyance of
visitors to the opening of the Ex-
bibition in Kingston will leave Port
Maria un Friday the 26rd January, at 6
a m., calling if sufficient indcucement offer
at the following prte on the tame day-
Annotto Bay 8 a.m.
Buff Hay 10 am.
Port ntonio noon
Mtnchin, al 3 p.m.
Port Morant 6 .m.
N. B.-These hours will be adhered to
as closely as circumstances will admit,
but are nt ,Ruarantee]. Ret rn Tiokets
available for six days will be isaud at
eight-hillingb each and may be had at
the office of the Roston Fruit Co. at the
a ove-named ports. Another steamer
will have Port Maria on Monday 26th
January, at 6 a.m., calling as above and
will probably arrive in Kingston the same
Boston F, uit Co.
V anager.


The dance takes its name from two of the major traditional
rites practised in Jamaica gerreh in Hanover and dinki-mini
which uses the musical instrument to benta, in St. Mary. The
dance evokes the ceremonies carried over from Africa from
whence the vast majority of Jamaicans originally came and
which lives today in several forms among rural Jamaicans
who invoke the spirits of ancestors for a variety of purposes.
Also utilised in the dance are the Horsehead character from
Jonkonnu as a symbol of fertility and the Yoruba-derived
shawling-dance called ettu.


Commissioned by

Eagle Merchant Bank

of Jamaica Limited
7 Trinidad Terrace, Kingston 5
Tel: 926-5335, 926-3157, 929-3017 8



Opening Day,


Great Special Attracions.

100 a.m Doo open.
1.0 nous arrival of H. L H. Prince
George of Waln.
14.i p.m. 8. Xa. Prince Geore will
decla thisiabiison ope and aojal
maluM will be ord.
12.a Vm. Klyal Psecession throughout
the whole Nahkiion.
10 .i. nds of the Is W. b statlles
and K V. M.
0 m. Bietal o Winkler Organ
main buimrm
LOp m. Pruo Forte Meeital.
6.0 p. BrillIat lIlUuintom of the
Oarumd by tThob nd of cloutedl:rlkt
.O p.m. ba:lE ef the ln W. 1. atutloua
ad V, ,.
J0 p.mr. atio Prertermanc she
xlubioa Ball.
.0 p.m. PAMd of the It W. L 4utallUa
aodX. V M.
.0 p.m. MapIeot Diplav ye b Pe.
works by Jam. %at& Bm, Lodoa (ish
naMs ever me ia Jamaul )
0.0 pm Nahibition 0looe.
a addition to tbe above special atto-
iow uhe will be op all day the
Splendid (olooiul mad Fonign ~tiona.
rass Artn iil.eT. emawt.ful (i.auwa
MacUhllis in moto
Working Dairy.
tnm maerr-.u.ouud with Gallopin
shooting flWy, = Camraf Otbuas
The Nymph fi bs Air, lasredseiry
The Celebraed Bamptoa Court Mae.
el-s ral MosaeBrW.

sidered the cultivation and processing
of sisal hemp the most promising of
these new industries. At the time of the
Exhibition, the Bahamas dominated the
fibre field and Bahamas' hemp won six
awards. Of the half dozen or so samples
of fibre exhibited by Jamaica, D.J.
Stoddart of May Pen was awarded a
diploma of honour for sisal hemp and
silk grass plants. A fibre exhibit sent
from Kew Gardens also attracted much
attention and was later presented to the
Institute of Jamaica for display.
Interest was also shown in plant oils
(including concentrated mangrove juice
for tanning) and potter's clay of an ex-
ceptionally good quality. Medicinal
herbs were a popular item as were
exhibits of meal made from banana,
yams, tapioca, breadfruit, cassava and
other products that it was hoped would
eventually provide an inexpensive and
nutritious substitute for imported wheat



20. 0. 0.
A PRIZE of 2o. o. o. sterling will
be given to any one
Guessing the exact number ofpeo-
ple visiting the Jamaica 9xhibi-
tion during the whole time it is
The Official Rqturn of the number as
published in the Gazette (by the authority
of the Government) will be the only num-
ber recognized.
Any person purchasing Goods to the
and upwards at one time in any one depart-
ment will be entitled to ONE GUESS
which will be registered in a book kept for
the purpose and a receipt given of the num-
ber guessed. If ONE GUINEA and up-
wards is spent THREE GUESSES will be
given. Should nd one guess the exact
number, the L2o will be proportionately
divided between the six nearest above or
below. Should more than one guess the
exact number the /,o will be equally divided
between them.
The Competition commenced on
and will close on APRIL loth, 1891.
Further particulars on application at


An exhibit of cigars, cigarettes and
tobacco won a diploma of honour and
'elicited general admiration'. The Insti-
tute of Jamaica also received the highest
award for its many displays of mineral
products, maps, botanical specimens
and a working potter. Another diploma
of honour went to the Jamaica govern-
ment printing establishment which had
set up a miniature printing office and
bookbindery to show how a book was
produced from start to finish.
Outside of the main building was a
model working dairy, an apiary run by
the Jamaica Beekeepers Association and
an industrial village of six peasant cot-
tages, two made of mud and thatch. In
these cottages with the potter were a
weaver making 'ippi-appa' hats, a fisher-
man making nets and small settlers
demonstrating two small sugar mills and
the processing of coffee. Girls from the
industrial schools showed how to pre-
pare the cassava root and the Carib

Indians from St Vincent, Mr Villiers
Stuart's fellow passengers, wove their
'curious' baskets. Outside the cot-
tages grew the cocoa, plantains and cas-
sava found outside a typical small set-
tler's house. Nearby'was a fully equip-
ped model schoolroom.
Many other items not of vital import-
ance to the economy of the colony, but
typical of 19th century tastes, were
ebony walking sticks carved with snakes
and alligators, preserved turtle tablets
'for epicures and invalids', and a col-
lection of Exhibition souvenirs from
Pinnock, Bailey and Co. These included
Exhibition fans, handkerchiefs, jugs,
plates, mugs, cups and saucers as well as
sharks' teeth containing photos of the
Exhibition. Other curiosities were
'charms, implements and materials' used
by Jamaican obeahmen, a pair of stuffed
quail in a case, and a slave collar and
slave branding iron.

Foreign Exhibits

Of the foreign exhibitors, none ap-
proached the scope of the Canadians
with 247 exhibits of 'everything that
the Dominion produces that could
possibly find a market in the West
Indies' [Handbook 1891-2 p. 578].
Dwarfing the courts of the United States
and England, a special annexe had been
built just to house the overflow of fish,
cheese, butter and farm machinery that
would not fit into the Canadian court in
the main building. The Canadian govern-
ment had also agreed to pay freight
costs both ways for exhibits carried on
steamers between Halifax and the West
Canada would not organize its own
trade fairs in Jamaica and Trinidad until
1959 [see F.L. Casserley], but its exhi-
bits at the Jamaica Exhibition of 1891
won 207 awards. These included six
federal departments: agriculture with
cereals in the ear and cleaned; marine
and fisheries with stuffed fish and signal
flags; public works with shields and
coats of arms; railways and canals with
maps; the post office with stamps and
the library of parliament with photo-
graphs. From the provinces of Nova
Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward
Island, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba
came mineral collections, native woods,
grains, samples of soil, flour, lithographs
and maps. The province of Quebec sent
a mammoth model of Quebec City's
castellated wall, 65' feet long and 35'
Decorating the walls of the main

court were photographs of Rocky
Mountain scenery provided by the
Canada Pacific Railway and views of
Montreal and other cities. At regular
intervals, bread made of Canadian flour
and baked on the premises was distri-
buted free of charge. Each night there
was a lecture on Canada 'illustrated by
lime light views of Canadian scenery and
resources'. Included among the exhibits
of private companies was everything
from marble headstones to a stuffed
Caribou head.
The United States exhibit was dis-
appointing by comparison, her exhibit
not so large or varied as had been hoped
for [Handbook 1891-2 p.578]. The
highly successful Boston Fruit Company
exhibited machinery used in the fruit
trade while 79 exhibits ranging from
furniture, to clothing, to school sup-
plies and carriages took prizes. England
did better, winning 140 awards for
everything from dog biscuits to billiard
tables, sugar mills, ales, china and soap.
Scotland had its own court with whisky,
sugar machinery and a piper 'who en-
livened the aisles of the main building
with inspiring strains of the pipes' ibidd].
On display in the various courts of
the European countries were aqua
vitae from Sweden, beer from Norway,
lace from Belgium, a pyramid of beer
from Germany, liqueurs from Russia
and seeds and bulbs from Holland.
Switzerland sent railway timetables and
guide books while Greece won a prize
for her wire nails. In addition to her
much appreciated champagne and
liqueurs, France had brought a most
interesting 'narrow gauge portable rail-
way especially adapted for hills and un-
even ground' as well as chemicals and a
demonstration showing how to apply
asphalt India was represented with silk,
cotton and Ceylon tea.
The West Indian colonies of Bermuda,
Demerara (now Guyana), Haiti, St Kitts,
St Thomas, Trinidad, Barbados, the
Bahamas, St Vincent, Grenada, St Lucia,
Surinam, Grand Cayman and the Turks
and Caicos all sent exhibits, mostly of
sugar and rum. The six Carib Indians
from St Vincent were extremely popular
while the Turks and Caicos provided an
exotic note with sea feathers 10 feet
high decorated with 'Turks Heads' and
conch shells. Barbados was also praised
for her exhibit of sugar, rum and bitters.
When the visitor tired of touring the
exhibits, he could amuse himself at
flower shows, dog and poultry shows or
a fancy dress carnival. Or he could im-

prove his mind by contemplating the
paintings in the fine arts gallery or see-
ing a play put on by a London troupe
'of a high class'. While strolling through
the gardens, he could listen to the music
of the West India Regiment and the
Kingston Volunteers or take a turn on
the 'hilarious' merry-go-round. There
was a shooting range, a toboggan slide,
a 'mystic vanishing lady', a nine-winged
Leviathan, a maze and an electrical
oracle, among other popular 19th cen-
tury amusements.
If too weary for any of this, the
visitor could:
recline at his ease on a comfortable garden
seat, and inhaling the drowsy weed, muse on
the festive throng around, resting his gaze on
the fairy-like building, surrounded by the
feathery bamboos and lofty palms, with the
fountains splashing merrily between. He need
have no fear to slumber awhile, for an efficient
staff of police will protect him from doubtful
characters [DeSouza pp.45-461.
When the Exhibition finally closed
on 2 May, it was estimated by the or-
ganizers that in proportion to the island's
population, the Jamaica Exhibition was
more largely attended than any preced-
ing one in Europe or America [Hand-
book 1891-2 p.581]. Between 13,000
and 14,000 people came to see the
brilliant display of fireworks the closing
night and to cheer the governor as he
left the building [Handbook 1893 p.

Governor Denounced

In spite of its popularity, the Exhibi-
tion failed to pay its way, losing over
4,500. Although expenditures and
receipts balanced out at 42,993, there
remained a total of 32,158 to be re-
paid, mainly the 30,000 in loans from
private individuals. Most of this was
covered by the guarantee fund of
26,619 [Handbook 891-92]. The sub-
scribers, according to one observer
[Bacon and Aaron p. 49], had always ex-
pected to lose their money, 'yet we have
not found one who regrets lending a
hand or who doubts the ultimate bene-
fit that Jamaica will receive from the
One benefit that failed to materialize
was a booming tourist industry. When
the Hotel Bill of 1890 was passed:
it was thought that the attraction of the
Exhibition would bring many to Jamaica
for the first time, who would, if good ac-
commodation were procurable, not only re-
turn in the winters of future years but would
make known the advantages of Jamaica as a
winter resort to others and thus lay thefounda-
tion for a steady and increasing flow of tour-
ists to the island [Handbook 1891-92 p.574].

Although no figures were kept on the
number of visitors to the island before
the creation of the Tourist Board in
1910, two years later, in April 1912, there
had been only 4,023 tourists arriving
during the previous six months [Frank
Taylor p.255].
The main fault lay with the hotels.
In 1896, Frank Cundall wrote in the
Journal of the Society of Arts, 'Had the
management of these hotels been but
half as good as the structures, Jamaica
might by this time have become a popu-
lar winter resort' [p.103]. As early as
April 1891, Mr W.B. Espeut told the
legislative council that the Constant
Spring and Myrtle Bank hotels were so
badly mismanaged that tourists who had
visited them discouraged others from
coming. He described the dirty water in
the Constant Spring swimming pool and
the rudeness of the staff. At the Myrtle
Bank, the American manager and staff
were described as drunk for weeks at a
time and guests were overcharged. At
both hotels there were complaints of
not receiving value for money.
The Myrtle Bank and the Constant
Spring hotels were supposed to offer
the best accommodation in the Kingston
area, but neither one of them ever made
a profit. Only three months after the
Exhibition closed, the Constant Spring
shut down temporarily for lack of busi-
ness. When the Myrtle Bank owners
declared in November 1893 that they
could no longer stay open, the govern-
ment, under the terms of the hotels
law of 1890, took it over. Two years
later they added the Constant Spring.
Both hotels had become 'artistocratic
alms houses' with only one guest regis-
tered at the Constant Spring during
one period in 1892.
In 1901 the British firm of Elder
Dempster and Company leased both
hotels from the government, but a 13-
day voyage to Jamaica failed to attract
British tourists. In 1907 the Myrtle
Bank was completely destroyed by the
earthquake and in 1912 Elder Dempster
closed what had become known as the
'In-Constant Spring'. By 1914, the only
hotel of the original three built for the
Exhibition still under its original owner-
ship was the Queen's.5
Sir Henry Blake was held by some to
have been responsible for the 'hotels
loan incubus'. In 1899, the Jamaica
Post denounced the ex-governor:
No greater blunder in the administration of
our late governor was made and no greater
injustice perpetrated toward the people of
this colony than that effected by the pas-

, & J. B. MACHADO,
Cigars and Cigarettes Manu-
EG to notify to their customers an] the
J general public, that they will have a
large stock of




which are put up is beautiful Fanov
Noxes with Pcturem of Hia Ex'-ellency
Mir 'Ieury Blik- and of the Exhitticon
Huildiog, niak.ng an appropriate ouuvt nae
of the oo sion,
Petrtn- viaintng thb ExLibition wi!l do
well to give us a call.
H. & J. B. MA IH AD i.
WT Theen Ciga N oanalso be had at uur
Store, No 86 Barbour Street.

T. O. MITLAKE t& CI o.
Original Deligners of Exhibition Jew llery.
Exhibition Medals 6d each (Design appointed by I. E. the Governor.) Revol-
ving Exhibition Broach 2s 6d. Silver Ehibition Broach from los
Gold do from 2.

f-~-~--JAMAICA EXHlBITo, ION I. 1W.n"
Te0 orm O~ nr r .
OTV.iu 90 OrN peg ONLY AW

Pt noek Balfey & Co.

fitra SpeelaL Column.



1,000 DOZENS at 94 610 PER

Handkerchief, of Irish manu.
facture. Fac simile view of the Exhibi-
tion, you cannot mistake our regis.
tered pattern.
Look in the four corners and you
will see
The Mountain Mullet
The Black Crab -
The Ringtail Pigeon-and
STh T Turtle.
Send for a sample dozen and buy no

Austrian Section Ehibition Annexe and Jamaica Court

S Manufacturers of
Illustrated Catalogues ad
Pzine I iqts free on application



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sage of the Jamaica Hotels Law by which the
struggling people of this country were taxed
and burdened to enable the government to
back certain capitalists in an undertaking of
a purely private character, one with which
there was no justification for the government
to interfere'.6

Another was even more violent in
his criticism of the hotels scheme:

These hotels were doomed never to pay -
they were designed, built and conducted on
too grand a scale for a small and poor country.
The idea was that with.the Exhibition these
hotels would attract a large influx of 'winter
tourists to the island'. Have any of these ex-

Cad0anooga Exhibition Cane Mills.
-Now is the time, when sugar is in a great demannl to buy one ,f these Celebrated
t .ie Mills.

E" E,

Chattanooga Exhibition" Cane Mills
were originally introduced" in this island 20 \ears ag>. during hin'h time they havet
earned a reputation which han novwr lewn e<|uallhed.

The Chattanooga Exhibition Cane Mill was one of the scientific wonders shown at the Exhibition
which became very popular with Jamaican small farmers in subsequent years.

T u is -itedsed byal

pectations been realized? The Exhibition has
been a lamentable failure in all ways but one,
namely a large profit to the Exhibitors. The
hotels with all the American management
energy and influence are disastrous failures.
They were conceived in sin, brought forth in
iniquity and must finish most miserably.

Still others maintained that even if
the hotels had been a success, the fail-
ure to advertise Jamaica following the
Exhibition doomed the tourist industry.
Although his suggestions were not acted
on until 1910 when the Jamaica Tourist
Association was created, one far-sighted
letter writer commented:

if we are to expect results such as we hope
for, we must spend a little money. Articles
on Jamaica must be published not only in
New York, but throughout all the Northern
States. Advertising of a more direct character
must be resorted to; a bureau of information
must be established, presided over by one
capable of 'talking Jamaica' and who would
so conduct the office as to render it an attrac-
tion for men and ladies to visit, who would
seek knowledge respecting this part of the
world on which comparatively few know

Another complaint was Kingston it-
self and its lack of attractions. An ob-
server wrote that:

it is a delusion to think that 'Hotels' under
American energy and influence are going to
work all the wonders. Tourists that have been
here abhor Kingston, they think it 'a dirty
hole' where people are prompt to take ad-
vantage of their ignorance. They for the most
part prefer the country and thecountry hotels
where they say they are better fed and ac-
commodated and attended to than either at
Constant Spring or Myrtle Bank. I have heard

many say that do what you will, until you
improve your town, give us amusements and
facilities for seeing the country, you wil
never induce a large number of winter visitors.

If tourism did not increase dramatic-
ally in the wake of the Exhibition,
neither did trade. Exports fell in 1891-
92, a year of depression in the island, due
to a large American fruit crop which
lowered both demand for and prices of
Jamaican oranges and bananas. In the
same year, more sugar, rum and coffee
were exported, but this was offset by
the failure of the pimento crop and
lower prices for logwood. By 1893-94,
fruit, particularly bananas popular with
American workmen and Colorado coal
miners, had replaced sugar and rum as
the island's most valuable product.
Another depression followed in 1896-98.
In the following year, exports to the
United Kingdom fell to 20 per cent of
the export total from 27.1 per cent in
1894-95 while exports to the United
States in the same years rose to 59 per
cent from 58.1 per cent. Exports to
Canada had decreased to 1 per cent
from 1.5 per cent and that of other
countries had risen from 13.3 to 20
per cent [Handbook 1893 p. 291].

In 1900, the future of sugar still
looked uncertain, but coffee and dye-
woods and especially fruit were regard-
ed as permanent sources of income. As
for imports, there were complaints of
farm mismanagement with Jamaica still
bringing in pork, butter and corn. Plant-
ers still found it cheaper to import and

freight American pine than to saw down
a tree on their own property. As for
fibre, the island still lacked the neces-
sary extraction machinery [Cundall,

Although the Exhibition had not
touched off the period of prosperity
that its organizers had envisaged, it did
much to dispel the image popular in
England and the United States of a
place dying of dry rot and general
neglect, plague-ridden with fever. As
Villiers Stuart wrote during his visit to

the Exhibition, 'the popular idea of
Jamaica is of an island ruined by the
Emancipation, a region of derelict estates
with a scattered population of Negro
squatters supporting life on yams and
bananas.' Others spoke of the 'dead
West Indies' while an American writer
aroused the wrath of Sir Henry Blake
with his statement that 'Jamaica . had
declined to a tropical wilderness far
more wretched, with its evidence of
former prosperity than when the foot
of Columbus first touched the shores'
[Blake, "Opportunities"].

Potential investors visiting the Exhibi-
tion could see that times had changed.
Instead of 'the white man's grave' that
had carried off so many young men on
the sugar estates and in over-crowded
army barracks, Jamaica by 1891 was
'beautiful, healthy and fertile'. Its po-
tential could be seen in thriving sugar,
coffee and cocoa estates and in the high
quality of the livestock. Land under
cultivation had increased from 516,924
acres in 1870 to 640,249 in 1890 and
small farmers lived in neat cottages cul-
tivating their crops. As a result of the
Exhibition and the resulting widespread
coverage of Jamaica in the English and
American press, Sir Henry Blake and the
organizers received numerous letters
from young men 'desirous of trying
their fortune'.
It was Sir Henry Blake who intro-
duced the slogan 'The Awakening of
Jamaica'. In the words of Captain
Lorenzo Baker, American father of the
banana industry, Sir Henrywas 'ever full
of indomitable enterprise and push -
exhibitions, hotels, agricultural societies,
agricultural schemes, willingly launching
out his own money, riding through the
country hither and thither, stirring up
everyone that had a bit of enterprise in
his nature.'10
As was said in his obituary in the
Handbook of Jamaica, 1918, 'where-
ever one goes in this island, traces can
be found of Sir Henry Blake's work, and
of his belief in the possibilities of the
colony and his genuine appreciation,
and devotion to the interests of all
classes of men commercial men, plant-
ers, estate owners, peasantry'.11 By
popular demand, the legislative council
successfully requested an extension of
his term of office in 1894 and again in
1896. The success of his campaign to
advertise Jamaica to the world was well
put by a letter in 1893 from the cor-
respondent of the Florida Times-Union
to the editor of The Gleaner:
I never knew how beautiful the world could
be until I saw Jamaica. If ever a country look-
ed as if it were waiting to make any man rich
who would undertake the cultivation of it,
that country is Jamaica. I never was so sur-
prised in my life, sir, never.12

1. Letter from Jos. C. Ford to editor of
unidentified newspaper.

2. Detailed description of preparation for
Exhibition can be found in Handbook
of Jamaica 1891-2, pp.570-580. See
also Jamaica Exhibition Bulletin, 28
June 1890.

In an era of 'Exhibition fever',
Jamaica was represented at
several including the Colonial and
Indian of 1886 (top) and
the World's Exhibition (above).

3. The other hotels built under the law
were the Rio Cobre, Spanish Town and
The Moneague at Moneague.

4. Quote from Johnston's Jamaica: The
New Riviera. Ads for Constant Spring
and Myrtle Bank Hotels in Land of
Eternal Summer, A Guide to Jamaica,
Kingston, n.d.

5. For description of the hotels built for
the Exhibition see Frank F. Taylor's
"The Foundation of the Jamaica
Tourist Industry".

6. "Ruthless changes at Myrtle Bank",
Jamaica Post, 13 January 1899, as
quoted in Taylor, "The Foundations of
the Jamaica Tourist Industry".

7. "The 'hotels scheme' examined ..."

8. Letter from "An Old Jamaican" to the
Colonial Standard and Jamaica Des-
patch, 1 September 1893.

9. "The 'hotels scheme' examined ..."

10. Quoted in B. Pullen-Burry's Jamaica as
it is, London, 1903 p.239.

11. Obituary of Sir Henry Blake in Hand-
book of Jamaica, 1919, p.675.

12. Letter to the Gleaner 20 March 1893
quoted in Rambler's The Tourists
Guide to Kingston.


BACON, Edgar Mayhew and AARON, Eugene
Murray, The New Jamaica, Kingston:
Aston W. Gardner and Co., 1890.

BAPTY, S. Lee, Official Catalogue, Kingston:
Government Printing Establishment,
Official List of Awards, Kingston:
Government Printing Establishment,

BLAKE, Sir Henry, "Opportunities for Young
Men in Jamaica", North American
Review, December 1892.
"The Awakening of Jamaica", The
Nineteenth Century, October 1890.
BROWN, Adam, Report of the Honorary
Commissioner Representing Canada at
the Jamaica Exhibition held at King-
ston, Jamaica, 1891; Ottawa: Brown,
Chamberlin, 1891.

CASSERLY, F.L., "Canada at Jamaica in
1891", in Canadian Reporter, 4th
quarter, 1958.

CUNDALL, Frank, "Jamaica" in British
America, the British Empire Series,
vol. 3, London: Kegan, Paul Trench
Trubner and Co., 1900.

"The Jamaica Exhibition", extract
from The Journal of the Society of
Arts, Vol. 39, London: 24 July 1891.

DE SOUZA, Mortimer C., A tourist's guide to
the parishes of Jamaica together with
an account descriptive of the Jamaica
Exhibition, Kingston: 1891.

EVES, Charles Washington, "Jamaica and its
Forthcoming Exhibition", extractfrom
The Journal of the Society of Arts, Vol.
38, London: 30 May 1890.
"Jamaica at the Colonial and Indian
Exhibition", reprinted from the Lon-
don Times of 20 August 1886 in The
Colonial and Indian Exhibition, Lon-
don: 1886.
A Guide to Jamaica Land of Eternal Summer,
Kingston: Aston W. Gardner and Co.,
Handbook of Jamaica, 1890-91, 1892, 1893,
The "hotels Scheme" examined . supple-
mented by remarks on the railway by a
businessman, Kingston? 189?

Jamaica Exhibition Bulletin, Vol I, No. 8,
Kingston: 28 June 1890.

JOHNSTON, James, M.D., Jamaica; the New
Riviera, London: Cassell and Co. Ltd.,

PULLEN-BURRY, Bessie, Jamaica as it is,
London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1903.

RAMBLER, What to Seel Where to Seel and
How to See itl The Tourists Guide to
Kingston and the parishes of Jamaica,
RAMPINI, Charles, Letters from Jamaica,
'The land of streams and woods', Edin-
burgh: Edmonston and Douglas, 1873.

STUART, H. Villiers, "Jamaica Revisited"
and "Preface" in Adventures amidst
the equatorial forests and rivers of
South America; also in the West Indies
and the wilds of Florida, London: J.
Murray, 1891.
TAYLOR, Frank F., "The Foundation of the
Jamaica Tourist Industry up to 1914",
thesis, (M.A.), U.W.I., 1971.

TROLLOPE, Anthony, The West Indies and
the Spanish Main, London: Chapman
and Hall, 1860.

The Editor
would like to hear
from readers who have
photographs or
souvenirs of the
Great Exhibition
of 1891

We make



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The St. Thomas Fish Kill

By Karl Aiken and Barry Jupp

Fish kills are not new to Jamaica.
They have been recorded from
at least 40 years ago and there
are probably earlier records. The latest
to be reported was in early 1985 in the
St. Thomas area and is the subject of
this article.
Historically, there have been reports
and observations on fish kills of various
magnitudes in Kingston Harbour and
generally, these have occurred at very
irregular intervals. Goodbody [1961]
and Steven [1966] recorded periodic
mass mortalities of fish in Kingston
Harbour. Other areas around the island
have been affected by fish kills, for
example Portland Bight (Old Harbour
Bay), St. Catherine [Wade 1980].
These fish kills have generally been rela-

tively small in scale and have variously
been attributed to a number of causes
including red tides (dinoflagellate
blooms), industrial and domestic pol-
lution, oil spills and dredge and fill
operations. Fish kills are by no means
unique to Jamaica. In 1977 alone, for
instance, the United States Environ-
mental Protection Agency (EPA) re-
ported a total of 503 fish kills in which
at least 16 million fish died [Hill 1983].
Generally, due to closer monitoring of
environmental abuse, fish kills have
been declining in the United States both
in number and severity since 1971
[Hill 1983], although in other parts of
the world, e.g. the Indo-Pacific, fish kills
caused by red tides are said to be increas-
ing [McLean 1984].

Figure 1
The Scaled Herring also called Pinchers, Harengula jaguana (Poey 1865). This was the only fish
species which was killed

Chronology of the St. Thomas Fish Kill

Investigations undertaken by various
agencies have revealed that the first re-
port of dead fish in significant numbers
occurred in January 1985 when fish of
the type called Pinchers by fishermen,
Harengula jaguana [Poey 1865] (see
Figure 1) were seen in nearshore waters
near Yallahs, Cow Bay and Grants Pen,
all in St. Thomas parish (see Figure 2).
Further, it has been shown that at no
time did any other species of fish die.
The name 'Pinchers' is actually a
corruption of Pilchard. Both these fish
are from the family Clupeidae (the
Sprats and Herrings) which characteris-
tically are small inshore surface dwelling
or pelagic fish. With another relative
H. humeralis, these three species form.
mixed schools in surface waters in cer-
tain nearshore Jamaican waters [G.
Harvey, pers. comm.].
The number of fish which were first
observed dead were not considered by
the fishermen sufficient to warrant in-
forming the Fisheries Division of the
Ministry of Agriculture. Of interest is
the statement by fishermen in the area
that in the previous year, i.e. in 1984,
between January and March dead Pin-
chers were also observed but that the
present fish kill was larger than ever
before. By the second week of March
the extent of mortality of Pinchers was
of sufficient size to warrant mention in
the press and the Daily Gleaner of 27
March 1985 carried banner headlines
and a major front page illustrated article
on the situation at Bull Bay beach, St.
Thomas. Thereafter almost daily, until
the middle of April, the fish kill was
mentioned in various press reports. The
fish kill finally ended in the third week
of May when the last mortalities were

Figure 2
Map showing place-names and localities where fish kill occurred or dead fish were reported.

Largely as a result of the press re-
ports of the relatively large scale of the
phenomenon, various teams of scientists
became involved in investigations. The
agencies involved included the Natural
Resources Conservation Department
(NRCD), The Fisheries Division, the
Community Health and Epidemiology
Departments of the Ministry of Health,
the Botany and Zoology Departments
bf the University of the West Indies
and the Office of Disaster Prepared-
ness. The present report is a brief sum-
mation of available data known to the

General and Biological Aspects

As shown in Figure 2, the area af-
fected by the fish kill was approximately
15 km of coastline between Yallahs and
Bull Bay. At various times in March
there were reports of dead fish in parts
of Kingston Harbour but several visits
failed to confirm these. The area of St.
Thomas affected is characterized by
relatively deep water (200m) close to
shore as the island shelf is virtually

absent in this zone.

The fish which was killed was positive-
ly identified as the Scaled Herring or
Pinchers, Harengula jaguana [Poey
1865] Not one other species of fish was
killed. The affected fish, H. jaguana,
commonly grows to 12 to 15 cm in
length [Fischer 1978]. They normally
feed on microscopic plankton, especial-
ly copepods, a shrimp-like animal. They
are important bait fish for the hook-
and-line and trolling fisheries [Harvey,
pers. comm.] and are themselves use-
ful food fish.

They are preyed on by various sea-
birds principally the Brown Pelican and
Frigate birds. Various larger fish prey
on them as well and these include the
King Mackerel and some of the smaller
Tunas e.g. the Bonito. During these in-
vestigations the predaceous fish were ab-
sent from their normal inshore habitat
for reasons which are not clear at this

During the course of several visits to

sites between Bull Bay and Yallahs it
was observed that the locality most bad-
ly affected, especially in mid-March, was
the Bull Bay area off the coast. It is
significant that reports also indicate that
dying fish first appeared in January
1985 just west of the Yallahs river out-
fall and then gradually moved to the
west, as do the currents and winds, so
that by February, Cow Bay and Grants
Pen, St. Thomas were reporting numbers
of dead Pinchers. By March dead fish in
large numbers were in the Grants Pen/
Bull Bay areas and by mid-March the
Bull Bay area only. A gradual westerly
drift of the kill was apparent.
In the third week of March, even a
half kilometre away from Bull Bay one
could detect that all was not well, as
the wind coming from the water gave
off a strong raw smell which was found
to be due to the presence of thousands
of decomposing fish. The nearshore
water just off the Bull Bay fishing beach
had a milky or cloudy appearance which
on examination showed that it was
due to tiny fat/oil globules in suspension.

Further, these were undoubtedly derived
from the lipid-rich decomposing fish
carcasses in the water for more than 24
hours. The fish group clupeidae charac-
teristically has a high fat content and
individuals of both sexes lay down large
deposits of mesenteric fat or 'fat bodies'
[Harvey, pers. comm.]. Pinchers were
seen dead in the water and many cast up
on the shoreline.

A count made of dead fish on sections
of the beach at Bull Bay on 26 March
1985 showed the following:

(i) Northern Bull Bay beach: Ap-
proximately 2-4 fish/m2 of
shoreline and
(ii) Southern Bull Bay beach: Ap-
proximately 25-30 fish/m2 of

The higher figure for the southern beach
is probably due to the curving nature of
this area which tends to retain fish from
An estimate of the total numbers of
dead fish seen along the Bull Bay beach
at the time of the visit was between
2,000-3,000 fish (Figure 3). There were
several windows of floating dead fish
approximately 3-4 metres in length each
with approximately 20-30 fish. A num-
ber of fish were also observed just
beyond the breaking surf (3 metres
offshore) skittering for one or two
metres for about five minutes then
apparently sinking to the substrate.
Their behaviour was typical of fish in

some distress. Many dead fish could be
seen on the sea floor a few days earlier
when transparency was greater.
Several examinations of the dead fish
showed that they were, in March and
April, in the size range 75-105 mm
Standard length (SL) weighing between
9-16 grams. No signs of any external in-
jury was observed on detailed examin-
ation. Also there was no sign of any
type of parasite at the sites normally
associated with them, e.g. on the gill
rakers, fin bases, between scales or body
openings. No ulcerated or discoloured
areas were noted nor was there any sign
of bulging eyes (exopthalmia) or abdo-
mens associated with some common
diseases. Internal examination showed
the absence of any unusual quantities of
body fluid. It's interesting that both
male and female fish were in sexually
mature or ripe condition, i.e. the fish
were spawning or about to spawn at the
time of death. Gut examination showed
no contents or thin liquid. These fish
normally feed on microscopic animals
and it would have been normal to find
at least small traces of exoskeleton. This
suggests that the fish had not fed for
several hours before death or had vomit-
ed the contents.
Limited sampling of plant (phyto-)
plankton in the water was carried out
on 28 March using fine mesh plankton
nets in shallow water close to Bull Bay
beach. [Jupp 1985]. Several dying fish
were taken by dipnets from the same
area and their internal organs and gut

Figure 3
Dead Pinchers, H. Jaguana thrown up on the Bull Bay beach, St. Thomas in March 1985.

contents were preserved. Examination
of these water samples and gut con-
tets showed that amongst the typical
plankton flora (with many diatoms)
some potentially harmful algae were
seen. Thus the blue-green algae (group)
Cyanophyta) have many toxic species
but filaments of Trichodesmium (=
Oscillatoria) were found, which can
form large slicks in open water reported
to choke and clog gills of fish. The in-
famous 'red tide' forming dinoflagellate
Gonyaulax was not confirmed in the
samples but several dinoflagellates were
present which resembled Gonyaulax
(Figure 4). Certain species of this alga
contain a potent toxin, saxitoxin, which
has caused kills of the Atlantic herring
(Clupea harengus harengus) in the Bay
of Fundy [White 1981] .An unidentified
member of the algal group Chrysophyta
was also seen; Chrysophytes have been
known to cause fish mortalities with
species of Prymnesium producing toxins.
None of these algae were very abundant
at the time of sampling. The chlorophyll
level, which measures the concentration
of algal cells, was almost undetectable at
the time. Oxygen concentration in the
water was normal at 7.2 mg/1 at a tem-
perature of 26.50C.
Some other underwater observations
were carried out by SCUBA-equipped
divers from the Natural Resources Con-
servation Department and the Fisheries
Division in March and these showed that
there were several very large schools
(each of at least several hundred thou-
sand individuals), of apparently healthy
fish in the same area where dead fish
were seen. These fish could be seen
from small vessels at the surface as well
as by the divers. A survey of the adjoin-
ing seafloor at Bull Bay on 28 March
showed that there were dead fish at an
estimated average density of 1 fish per
2.0 square metres, but these fish ap-
peared to have been dead for several
days. There were some dying fish but
these were relatively few in number.
It is useful to appreciate that no other
species of fish or any invertebrate was
affected during the period January to
April, only the Pinchers, H. jaguana
[Aiken 1985]. Direct observations sug-
gest that only a small fraction of the total
Pinchers population was affected. A
few small patches of shallow coral and
their associated fishes in Bull Bay itself
seemed from direct observation to be
apparently unaffected. Seabird predators
were apparently unaffected by the re-
peated ingestion of dead and torpid fish
and these birds were found in large

numbers. Normally only present in the
area at densities of less than 10 per
square mile, these seabirds were said to
have achieved a maximum of at least
100 individuals per square mile in mid
to late-March in Bull Bay at the height
of the fish kill.
Their presence in large numbers was
directly correlated to the abundance of
dead and dying fish in nearshore waters.
The major seabird feeding on dead Pin-
chers was the Brown Pelican.
The alimentary canals of several dying
fishes were chemically analyzed for
organochlorides and organophosphates
at the Zoology Department, UWI. Pre-
liminary results show the presence of
organochlorides in the body fat of the
Pinchers specimens analysed. It is signi-
ficant that relatively large-scale culti-
vation of tobacco and sugar cane takes
place in the nearby Yallahs River Valley
and that coffee plantations exist in the
upper Yallahs watershed. All these acti-
vities involve regular use of pesticides.
It is also interesting to note that the
Yallahs River outfall area is the first
area from which the fish kill was reported
and also that there are no reports of
fish kills in areas east, that is up-current
of the Yallahs River outfall. The presence
of these organic compounds is perhaps
indicative of a potential agricultural
chemical runoff problem in these coast-
al waters. In the United States, fully
19 per cent of all fish kills are directly
related to agricultural operations [EPA
1980]. It is still puzzling, however, that
only one species was killed; perhaps this
species has a low tolerance to these

Causes of the Fish Kill

The data are rather limited and so
therefore must be the conclusions.
However, a number of causes such as
dynamiting have effectively been eli-
minated. It does appear that the most
probable causes at present are:

(1) various algae which are poten-
tially toxic
(2) one or more unidentified virus/-
es which are specific for Pin-
chers and

(3) organochlorides / organophos-
phates possibly from agricul-
tural sources.

Importantly, blue-green algae are said to
be a growing problem in the Indo-
Pacific region [McLean 1984], where
fish kills are on the rise. In addition,


Figure 4.
A toxic dinoflagellate (Gonyaulax sp.) Note
that um = mm

symptoms due to ingestion of toxic
dinoflagellates described by White
[1981] which included erratic swimming
motion, breathing before dying with
mouth gaping and gills flared, are much
in keeping with observations of some
fish at the Bull Bay area in March.

We emphasize that no one causative
factor can be determined at the time
of writing and there may well have
been a number of factors acting toge-
ther. This fish kill was unusual because
of its severity and the extended period
of time that it lasted (January to May)
and was most noteworthy to the public
generally because of the depression of
fish sales almost islandwide during the
Lenten period when, traditionally, larger
amounts of fish are purchased.


Fish kill investigation capability is at
the moment diffuse and rather disorgan-
ized. We suggest that a rapid response
fish kill investigating team of specialists
be set up and coordinated by the Natural
Resources Conservation Department
(NRCD). The members should be drawn
from the NRCD, the Fisheries Division
and the Botany and Zoology Depart-
ments of the UWI, Mona. Such a team
would enable the efficient gathering and
analysis of samples and later the dis-
semination of information to the pub-

lic. Coordinated effort, equipment
deployment and transportation would
result from the creation of this fish
kill team.


The assistance of the investigators
from the NRCD is acknowledged as are
also the gas chromatograph analyses for
organochlorides by Dr. A. Mansingh,
and Dr. T. Miyata, Zoology Department,


AIKEN, K.A. "A preliminary report on the
fish kill off St. Thomas", prepared for
Natural Resources Conservation Depart-
ment, April 1985. 8pp.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
"Fish kills caused by pollution in1977".
Wash. D.C.: U.S. Env. Prot. Ag. Off
Water Planning & Stand., Public No.
EPA 400/4-80-004, 1980.

FISCHER, W., FAO Species Identification
Sheets for Fishery Purposes, Western
Central Atlantic, Fishery area 31, vol.
2., Rome, 1978.

GOODBODY, I.M., "Mass mortality of marine
fauna following tropical rains", Ecol.
42: 1961.

HILL, D.M. "Fish kill investigation proced-
ures", in' Fishery Techniques, Nielsen,
LA. and Johnson, D.L. (eds.) 1983.

JUPP, B.P. "A preliminary study on phyto-
plankton at the site of a fish kill, Bull
Bay, St. Thomas", prepared for Natural
Resources Conservation Department,
April 1985. 2 pp.

McLEAN, J., "Red tide a growing problem
in the Indo-Pacific region", ICLARM
Newsletter, Manila, Philippines, Vol. 7,

NIELSEN, L.A., and JOHNSON, D.L. (eds.),
Fishery Techniques, Bethseda, Mary-
land; Amer. Fish. Soc., 1983.
STEVEN, D.M., "Characteristics of a red water
bloom in Kingston Harbour, Jamaica,
W.I.," J. Mar. Res. 23 (2), 1966.

WADE, B.A., "The Portland Bight Oil Spill",
Ja. Journ., 44, 1980.

WHITE, A.W., "Sensitivity of marine fishes
to toxins from the red tide dinoflagel-
late Gonyaulax excavate and impli-
cations for fish kills", Marine Biology

Plate 1. Mouth of the Milk River, southern Clarendon. Waves seen approaching from the right are the dominant process at the coast, redistributing the
river-derived sediment alongshore to form a spit. Former river courses, now abandoned, are picked out by the vegetation pattern.

The Coastline of Jamaica

Geology, Processes and Stability
By Malcolm Hendry

I in Jamaica, the occurrence of
major events occasionally focuses
attention on the coastal zone.
Recent examples are Hurricane Allen in
1980; the wetland utilization studies of
the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica;
establishment of the interim Head-
quarters of the Seabed Authority; and
the development of the Hellshire Hills.
In an island economy the coast is a vital
resource, especially one as varied and
attractive as Jamaica's, but it is all too
often taken for granted. This may in
part be due to individual or collective
lack of knowledge on the nature of pro-
cesses which operate in this zone. In
this article, I shall give an overview of
the geology of Jamaica's coastline;
introduce causes of the processes at
work; their effect and how they and we
interact to influence coastal stability.

Coastal Geology
The most striking feature of the Jam.
aican coastal zone is the remarkable di-

versity of landforms it displays. Included
in these are river deltas, alluvial plains,
sand bars and spits, tombolos, fringing
reefs, coral cays, lagoons, wetlands, rais-
ed reefs, cliffs and salt ponds [see, for
example, Dutton et. al. 1983].
These features have evolved to their
present form over long periods of time:
while a particular landform, a spit for
example, may be only a few hundred
years old, there are many causal fac-
tors that have combined through geo-
logic time to create the basic physical
or biological setting in which the fea-
ture has developed. Some of these pro-
cesses seem insignificant in a human
time-frame, but not when they operate
through millions of years. Faulting, re-
lated to plate tectonics [see, for example
Robinson 1976], is one such long-term
process. Predominant onshore fault
trends in Jamaica are east-west and
northwest-southeast. Compare these in
Figure 1 with the orientation of shore-
line segments, and notice the remark-

able degree of control they exhibit on
the shape and position of the coastline.
If in any doubt about the significance of
faulting as a landforming process, con-
sider Spur Tree escarpment and Lover's
Leap, both of which have been produced
by fault movements.
Uplift and subsidence of the land re-
lated to tectonic activity is a major in-
fluence on the type of sedimentation
around the Jamaican coast. In the east,
a structural block called the Blue
Mountain Block has uplifted over 2,000
metres above sea level, resulting in ex-
tensive erosion of the emergent land
mass. The detrital material produced is
deposited in several locations around
the eastern coast by rivers, forming allu-
vial fans and deltas at the mouth of
the Yallahs, for example. It is then re-
distributed along the shoreline by wave
and current action to form sand bars,
spits and in the case of the Palisadoes, a
tombolo, a feature similar to a spit ex-
cept that it incorporates islands that

have been linked to the mainland by
sediment [Steers 1940]. In general,
Jamaica has experienced an overall
southerly tilting for several million years
[Horsfield 1973] resulting in gradual
subsidence of the south coast and up-
lift of the north. For this reason, the
larger rivers drain southwards, and
where they drain interior regions, for
example the Rio Minho, Milk and Black
Rivers, will also supply detrital sedi-
ments to the coast [Wood 1976] (see
Plate 1). This material is characteristic-
ally dark in colour, typical of the
weathering and breakdown of source
rocks with varied mineral composition.
Elsewhere, the coast and shelf is domi-
nated by reefs and seagrass beds, which
thrive in areas where input of turbid,
sediment-laden water is restricted. The
sediments of these coasts are biologically
produced, being skeletal remains of
plants and animals that live in these
environments. The mineral of which
these skeletons are composed is calcium
carbonate, mainly white in colour,
hence forming white sand beaches.
There are places where detrital and
carbonate sediment supplies are juxta-
posed, resulting in sediments of mixed
composition and colour, such as the
Hellshire Bay area [Hendry and Samaroo
Over shorter time intervals, tens of
thousands rather than millions of years,
changes in the level of the sea due to
glacial events have also had a profound
impact on the development of the Jam-
aican coast, and I will briefly explain
the background to this phenomenon.

Sea Level Changes

Over the last several million years of
the earth's history, world climate has
shifted steadily towards a colder phase,
culminating in the development of per-
manent ice sheets, firstly in Antarc-
tica, then at the North Pole [Imbrie and
Imbrie 1979; Goudie 1983] .The reasons
for this global cooling are related to
continental drift, which has brought
about changes both in oceanic circu-
lation patterns and temperature distri-
bution in the atmosphere and oceans.
The ice sheets have waxed and wan-
ed repeatedly during the last three
million years. In the epoch we call the
Pleistocene, which started 1.6 million
years ago and ended just 10,000 years
before the present, 17 separate phases of
glaciation and de-glaciation are believed
to have taken place. Glacial events are
separated by warmer interglacials, with

partial ice melting. We appear to be in a
warmer phase at present.
Ice sheet expansion is accommodated
by removal of ocean water, thus the sea
level goes down. The reverse occurs dur-
ing interglacials. These movements result
in migration of the coastline position -
'seawards' and down during glacials,
landwardss' and up in warmer phases.
During the last major glacial advance,
only 18,000 years ago, sea level on a
global scale was at least 135 metres
below present. All of the shelf areas
around Jamaica were exposed at that
time, including Pedro and Morant
Banks. Since that time, sea level has
risen rapidly to its present position,
which in Jamaica it reached only a few
hundred years ago [Digerfeldt and
Hendry, in preparation], and with it,
coastlines have moved steadily land-
wards. Analysis of sea level changes un-
ravelled from studies of buried peat
deposits allowed Hendry [1982a; b] to
reconstruct the landward migration of
the Negril beaches over a period from
6,000 years ago to the present.

Submerged aroundtheJamaican coast
are many indicators of former lower sea
level positions, including the 'drowned'
spit and river valley on the shelf south
of Kingston [Goreau and Burke 1966],
a drowned cliff line, sea level notch and
river valley at Negril [Roobol and Gibb
1973; Hendry 1982b], and the sub-
merged terrace levels of the north coast
[Woodley and Robinson 1977]. Evi-
dence of higher than present former sea
level positions is beautifully preserved in
the elevated Pleistocene reef terraces of
the north and west coasts [Cant 1972]
(see Plate 2). In St. Elizabeth, one of these
terraces is overlain by dune sands,
blown there when the offshore shelf was
exposed at times of lower sea level in the
late Pleistocene [Hendry and Head, in

It is important to note that over time
periods which can be recorded with
reference to a human time scale, shore-
line positions relative to sea level are not
stable. Indeed, indications are that sea
level is still rising [Wanless 1983], and if
the remaining ice on Antarctica and
Greenland were to melt, global sea level
would rise by 70 metres [Russell 1968].
This has important implications for
Jamaica's and the world's coastal areas,
where population is heavily concentrated.
In recognition of these facts, a project has
been established within the International
Geological Correlation Program called
'Late Quaternary Sea Level Changes:

Measurement, Correlation and Future
Applications', involving over 500 scien-
tists from63countries,including Jamaica.
The objectives are to study the char-
acteristics of sea level change and apply
these to modelling how shorelines have
changed in the past, and how they may
alter in the future with either negative
or positive sea level movements.

Physical Processes
On shorter time scales of a few hours
to months, we are able to observe the
effects of physical processes operating
at or near the sea surface such as tides,
waves and currents. These are the criti-
cal processes influencing shoreline stabi-
lity over these lengths of time, and re-
quire explanation.
Tides are developed in response to
the gravitational attraction of the moon
and sun, the relative positions of which
determine whether tides are above aver-
age (spring tides) or below average (neap
tides). The magnitude of tidal variation,
recorded as a fluctuation of the sea sur-
face on a diurnal or semi-diurnal basis,
varies from one ocean to another. En-
closed or semi-enclosed seas such as the
Caribbean experience only minor
changes, in Jamaica's case less than half-
a-metre daily. Where large, tidal move-
ment may generate water exchange in
the coastal area a cleansing process
brought about by mixing of water from
near and offshore. However, it can also
produce strong currents capable of mov-
ing large volumes of sediment, particular-
ly in restricted inlets like estuaries, with
concomitant siltation and erosion prob-
lems. Jamaica is generally spared this
The majority of waves and currents
approaching the Jamaican coast result
from winds blowing on the sea surface, a
partial transfer of the wind energy pro-
viding the energy for the wave. There
are two major waves generated by wind
- 'sea' and 'swell'. 'Seas' are those waves
under direct influence of the wind, char-
acterized by a choppy wave pattern
known as 'whitecaps'. A 'swell' has
travelled beyond the area where wind is
blowing and may persist across thou-
sands of miles of ocean by efficiently
storing energy until a shallow coastal
area is encountered. Such waves have
low profiles and generally longer dis-
tances between successive wave crests
than 'seas', and contain more energy.
There is a daily fluctuation between
these wave types on some Jamaican
beaches, caused by the daytime sea


N Bay \

\ \ c ^ sHellshire i aonsaaaes s\,

Great - -- -- Monnt -
Pedro Lovers RMilk Bay
0 50 km 'Bluff Leap Rer o
I 1"1 N o

- Possible Fault
S..... ---- -- 7'7TW

Figure 1. Major fault trends in Jamaica [after Burke, 1967; Horsfield, 1973; Wadge and Dixon, 1984]. Faults are ruptures in the earth's crust, either
side of which there is relative movement of the land. These movements in Jamaica have provided the major underlying control on coastal con-
figuration. The dotted line off the coast indicates the extent of the shelf, to a depth of about -40 meters below sea level. This shelf, and some of the
slope beyond, was repeatedly exposed during the last few million years by lowering of sea level during glacial periods.

Figure 2. Schematic illustration of the nearshore sediment budget. The arrows show pathways of sediment movement into, through and out of the
system. Distortion of the incoming wave form occurs when wave base intersects the substrate, after which the wave breaks, causing strong turbidity
and currents close to the shoreline.

Plate 2. Elevated marine terraces of the north
coast. At the shore, a cliff is being cut into a
platform formed by fossil reef deposits. A
second, older cliff is clearly visible behind this
platform also cut into ancient reefal sediments.
Above this, a second terrace runs back to the
third and oldest sea cliff, visible at the top of
the photograph.

Plate 3. The Palisadoes, at Harbour Head At
top of photograph, approaching wave crests
are refracting in towards the shoreline. The
waves break obliquely to the shore, generating
currents which move sediment to the right
(west). Some sand is trapped on the updrift
(left) side of the groynes with minor erosion
on the downdrift side.

Plate 4. Seagrass beds, typical ofshallow watek
areas, play host to numerous sand forming
organisms. Some live on the grass blades them-
selves, others, for example the sea urchins in
centre, on or within the substrate. Water
depth is about 2 metres.

breeze, which generates unstable
'seas' that erode sediment from the
shore. When the sea breeze dies, persis-
tent, underlying swell takes over and
moves the sediment back [Hendry
These daily wind waves are essen-
tially mini storm waves, but the real
thing happens now and again. Hurri-
cane Allen in 1980 caused great destruc-
tion on the coast of north Jamaica
[Wilmot-Simpson 1980; Lyn 1982] and
underwater on coral reefs [Woodley
1980; Scoffin and Hendry 1984].
Storms of this magnitude will always
cause catastrophic changes to the coast-
line. The Palisadoes, for example, was
breached near Harbour Head in five
separate places by the 1722 storm, and
records suggest that it was 1750 before
the gaps were filled, by natural processes
unaided by man [Hendry 1977-8].
For any particular group of waves
there is a depth below the water surface
where wave action is negligible, called
the wave base. As waves approach the
shore, the wave base intersects the sub-
strate, and a number of changes occur.
The wave height increases, essentially a
response to the squeezing of the wave
form into a smaller vertical distance,
and when it reaches a certain height be-
comes unstable and breaks. The next
time you visit a beach in the early morn-
ing, watch the swell approaching, increas-
ing in height, then breaking, usually at a
fairly regular distance from the shore.
If the wave crest is approaching obli-
quely to the underwater contours, re-
fraction occurs. This is the re-orientation
of the wave crest towards a more paral-
lel alignment with the coast and bot-
tom contours, and occurs when that
part of a wave crest which is in shallow-
er water is slowed by bottom friction,
the part in deeper water moving faster
and bending inwards (see Plate 3).
It is the energy contained in the
breaking wave and the angle the broken
wave crest makes with the shore, that are
among the critical factors determining
the direction, amount of sediment
transport and current strength and
direction in the nearshore zone, an
area which extends from the shore to
the position where waves begin to break.
For this reason, the characteristics of
sediment transport in the nearshore
zone may bear little or no relation to
current strength and direction outside
this zone. In their simplest expression,
two forms of current develop in the
nearshore zone, those running parallel
to the shore, called longshore currents,

and those running offshore, the in-
famous rip currents, the former often
feeding into the latter. There are several
reasons why these currents develop
close to a beach. Firstly, waves moving
onshore and breaking tend to pile water
up against the shore, and in seeking a
gravitational equilibrium level on the
water surface, the water flows along and
back offshore. Secondly, variations in
breaker height at the coast result in
pressure gradients setting up between
high and low points on the water sur-
face, with a current developing between
the two. There are other causal mechan-
isms, which are too complex to discuss
Both types of current are common in
Jamaica, and the author has personal
experience of rips in Boston Bay and
Engine Head in Hellshire. The latter
set have been known to cause several
deaths, and are under intensive study
at U.W.I. For the uninitiated, if entrained
in a rip, the swimmer should not fight
the current, but move with it till some
of the current strength is lost, then
swim sideways and back towards the
shore. Fatigue and panic cause the
deaths, not the currents themselves.
Swimmers should not venture on
beaches signposted as dangerous (the
author's swim in Engine Head in the
cause of science was conducted with
safety precautions!) nor on beaches
where large waves are breaking.

Biological Processes

Reefs and related environments have
been major features of shelf and coast-
al areas of Jamaica since the Cretaceous
period, over 65 million years ago [Wood-
ley and Robinson 1977], though the
coastal configuration has changed con-
siderably since that time. Dozens
of species of calcifying plants and
animals live in reefs, lagoons and sea-
grasses, and contribute their skeletons
to the sediment after death. The reef it-
self is a coherent structure, though with
many holes and crevices that may be
wholly or partially filled by infiltrating
sediment or by calcium carbonate
cement precipitated directly from sea-
water [Land and Goreau 1970; Goreau
et al. 1979]. The reef is attacked by a
variety of organisms that bore, rasp and
grind away at the rock structure as part
of their feeding or life cycle, producing
vast quantities of sediment, much of
which escapes to deep water by slumps
and flows down the steep seaward side
of the reef [Burne 1974, Land 1979].
Seagrasses, common inhabitants of

lagoons behind reefs on the Jamaican
coast [Jupp 1983] provide important
environments for carbonate producing
organisms. Many live on the seagrass
blades themselves [Land 1972] while
some enjoy the shelter and substrate
stability provided by the rhizome sys-
tem on the grass (see Plate 4). Work by
the author and others [B.P. Jupp, per-
sonal communication] indicates that
sand produced in seagrass settings is the
most important source of white sand
beaches on the coast, not the reefs
as commonly thought. The reefs are im-
portant, however, in providing the shel-
ter behind which the grasses can grow.
Mangroves colonize the margins of
sheltered bays and the lagoons develop-
ed behind spits and barrier beaches in
several areas of the coast, like Port
Royal and Cabaritta. They occur also
at the mouths of rivers where active
sedimentation is taking place and there
is a mixture of fresh and salt water.
An extensive swamp of this type oc-
curs around the estuary of the Martha
Brae River. Mangroves are important
in some areas for stabilizing and adding
organic matter to coastal sediments.

Sediments in the Nearshore Zonew

This is one of the most dynamic
regions of the earth's surface, where
sediment movement and changes in sub-
strate configuration and shoreline posi-
tion can occur with remarkable speed,
if the shore is composed of unconsoli-
dated sediment. Here, longshore cur-
rents are responsible for the bulk of
sediment transport, and rips can entrain
material and carry it out through the
breaker line, depositing it in deeper,
calmer water offshore.
A useful concept when studying the
movement of sediment in this zone is
the sediment budget (Figure 2), similar
to a balance sheet with inflow, through-
flow and outflow. The input can be
from various sources, including rivers,
eroding cliffs, reworking of older shelf
sediments, longshore movement from
adjacent coasts, or by direct addition
from reef, lagoon and seagrass areas.
Throughflow -is dependent on the trans-
port rate per unit length of coast, this
factor determining the residence time
of sediment at a particular location.
Sediment may be lost from the system
by wind transport off the beach face,
storm wave overwash to back-beach or
lagoon areas, and movement offshore
into deeper water, below the depth
where wave activity can move it onshore,
again. The narrow shelf around much of

Jamaica means that sediment is lost
directly to water more than 1,000
metres deep within a few kilometres of
the coast [Burke 1967; Land 1979] .
Sediment may also move alongshore
to the next segment of beach, if the
coast is relatively straight, such as on
the south coast from Morant Bay to
Port Royal [Hendry 1979; Wescott and
Ethridge 1982], from the mouth of the
Rio Minho to Port Kaiser [King 1976],
and Long Bay, Negril [Hendry 1982b],
though the latter is a sheltered, low
energy system with smaller transport
rates. In these cases, a shoreline can
only remain stable if movement of sedi-
ment downdrift is balanced by input
from the updrift directions. Excess out-
put causes shoreline recession. Pocket,
or compartmented beaches, such as
those on the north coast, depend less on
longshore transport, being essentially
cut off from adjacent shorelines. Here,
sediment movement is confined largely
to the bay areas, the material being re-
distributed in accordance with the dis-
crete circulation system of the bay.

Coastal Stability and Management
By now the reader should be aware
that shorelines are far from stable, but
change configuration in response to
many processes operating on differing
time scales and with different intensi-
ties. Shoreline changes are often cyclical
in nature, reflecting the characteristics
of the controlling processes, with long-
term trends of change only becoming
apparent after many years of monitor-
ing [King 1972; Hendry 1979]. Beaches
may attain a 'dynamic equilibrium'
[Komar 1976] that prescribes a spec-
trum of changes through which the
shoreline passes in time without pre-
serving a particular configuration, but
rarely do they stay still.
Into the melting pot of coastal
variation due to natural processes we
now throw man's activities. More often
than not he is his own worst enemy, caus-
ing unnecessary problems. Most coast-
al stability problems are soluble, but
they require two inputs. One is a good
understanding of the processes opera-
ting at a particular site, the other is pre-
diction of the effect of any engineered
changes on these processes. Both can be
achieved with a sound scientific ap-
Many examples of problems or
potential problems could be found.
Firstly, there is the south coast west
of the Yallahs. The input side of the

sediment budget is river-derived sedi-
ment. And yet these rivers have exten-
sive open-pit mining operations, with
sediment removed for the aggregate in-
dustry. Has anyone worked out how
much -can safely be removed before ad-
versely influencing the adjacent coast-
line, including the Palisadoes?

Then there is the now classic sug-
gestion of breaching the Palisadoes at
Harbour Head in the hope of flushing
the effluent from Kingston Harbour.
Science shows us that without major
engineering, the breach would be filled
by longshore sediment movement, but if
a groyne were emplaced it would im-
pound sediment, causing reduction in
supply to the downdrift (western) side
of the breach. To prevent erosion, a
pumping and replenishment scheme
would be necessary to move impound-
ed sediment to the west of the breach.
And if all this is done, it may achieve
nothing, because flushing the harbour
requires good tidal exchange, which is
not present.

Still on the Palisadoes, one could
question plans for development at Port
Royal, such as hotel complexes
[McAlpine and Sons Ltd. 1965] or sub-
divisions for housing in areas composed
of unconsolidated, water saturated sedi-
ments that historically have repeatedly
failed due toearthquake shaking [Hendry
1977-78; 1979].

Some coasts are an extended source
of concern and study. Montego Bay
beaches are a good example. Under
natural conditions, these beaches would
experience longshore sediment trans-
port, but building of sea walls and
groynes on an ad hoc basis has inter-
fered with the sediment budget [Eyre
1972; Burne 1973], a problem not
helped by sand stealing which the writer
once observed directly beneath a sign
indicating that such a practice was an

Oracabessa Bay was the site of huge
coastal modification in the early 1970s.
Sea-walls, jetties, groynes and other
structures were built, considerably alter-
ing the sediment budget. In particular, a
jetty placed to the east of the Jack River
trapped sediment moving in a natural
cycle westward along the bay shore,
reducing supply to the resort beach
immediately west of the river outlet,
and creating a beach stability problem-
a classic example of sand starvation.
Finally, a note on coastal zone re-
search. Recognising the local weak-

nesses in research techniques and train-
ing, a group of staff in natural sciences
at the University of the West Indies
recently obtained funding from the
Canadian International Development
Research Centre for a study of the coast-
al zone of Hellshire. The group is work-
ing with oceanographers from Dalhousie
University, Canada, and includes zoolo-
gists, botanists, geologists and chemists,
and is strongly multidisciplinary in
nature. The emphasis in approach is
on interaction, both within the group
and with interested agencies outside. In
particular, the project enjoys the full
support of the Urban Development Cor-
poration which, through the Hellshire
Bay Development Company, is trying to
encourage migration into the area,
having built basic infrastructure such as
roads, drainage and water supply. The
success of the venture is strongly linked
to good coastal zone management, this
zone being the major attraction of the
area. The project follows the highly suc-
cessful study by a team of U.W.I./lnsti-
tute of Jamaica scientists [Woodley
1971], whose proposals for manage-
ment and conservation were incorpor-
ated into U.D.C. planning for Hellshire.
Given that environmental stress is al-
ready apparent on the coast [Bacon
and Head, in press; Head and Hendry,
in press], and is likely to increase as
development proceeds, a good under-
standing between scientists and develop-
ers is essential. Hopefully, this project
will help point the way towards future
management of the coastal areas of

1. Thanks are due to Dr Peter Bacon for
reviewing the manuscript and Guy Harvey
for assistance with drafting.

2. This article forms a contribution to
I.G.C.P. Project No. 200.


BACON, P., and HEAD, S.M.,"Formation of
a Caribbean coastal management unit",
Baltimore: Coastal Zone'85, in press.
BURKE, K.C., "The Yallahs Basin a sedi-
mentary basin south east of Kingston,
Jamaica", Mar. Geol. v.5, 1967.
BURNE, R.V., "Factors affecting the shore-
line stability of Cornwall Beach and ad-
joining areas, Montego Bay, Jamaica",
Rept. to Jam. Tourist Brd., 1973.
,"The deposition of reef-derived sedi-
ment upon a bathyal slope: The deep
fore-reef environment, north of Dis-

cover Bay, Jamaica", Mar. Geol. v.
CANT, R.V., "Jamaica's Pleistocene reef
terraces", Jour. Geol. Soc. Jam.,
v. 12, 1972.
DUTTON, R. et al., Caribbean Landscapes,
London: Collins Educational, 1983.
EYRE, L.A., "The problem of marine ero-
sion at Cornwall Beach, Montego Bay",
Rept. to Jam. Tourist Brd., 1972.
GOREAU, T.F., and BURKE, K.C., "Pleisto-
cene and Holocene geology of the island
shelf near Kingston, Jamaica", Mar.
Geol., v. 4, 1966.
"Corals and coral reefs", Sci. Am. v.
GOUDIE, A.J., Environmental Change, Claren-
don Press, 1983.
HEAD, S.M., and HENDRY, M.D., "Develop-
ment of the Hellshire Hills, Jamaica:
Implications for management strategies
in reefs and related ecosystems", Proc.
5th. Int. Coral Reef Congress, in press.
HENDRY, M.D., "Historical evidence of shore-
line evolution for the Palisadoes,
Kingston, Jamaica", Jour. Geol. Soc.
Jam. v. 17, 1977-78.
"A study of coastline evolution and
sedimentology: the Palisadoes, Jam-
aica", Ph.D. Thesis, U.W.I., 1979.
"Late-Holocene sea level changes in
western Jamaica", in Colquhuon D.J.
(ed.), Late-Holocene sea level changes,
magnitude and causes, Univ. of S.
Carol., 1982a.
"The structure, evolution and sedi-
mentology of the reef, beach and
morass complex at Negril, western
Jamaica", Rept. to Pet. Corp. of Jam-
aica, 1982b.
"The influence of the sea-land breeze
regime on beach erosion and accretion:
an example from Jamaica", Carib.
Geog. v. 1., 1983.
Sand SAMAROO, K.S., "Petrology of
beach sediments on a mixed carbonate
and plastic shoreline, Hellshire Bay
area, Jamaica", Abstract, 10th Carib-
bean Geol. Conf., 1983.
and HEAD, S.M., "Late Quaternary
sea level changes and the development
of the raised reef/dune sequence at
Great Pedro Bluff, S.W.Jamaica", Proc.
5th Int. Coral Reef Congress, in press.

HORSFIELD, W.T., "Late Tertiary and Quat-
ernary crustal movements in Jamaica",
Jour. Geol. Soc. Jam., v. 8., 1973.
IMBRIE, J., and IMBRIE, K.P., Ice ages: Solv-
ing the mystery, Macmillian, 1979.

JUPP, B.P., "The seagrasses of Jamaica". Jam.
Jour. v. 16 no. 4, 1983.
KING, C.A.M., Beaches and coasts, London:
Edwin Arnold, 1972.
KING, D.B., "Coastline dynamics of Jamaica",
Jour. Sci. Res. Council. Jam., v. 4.,

KOMAR, P.D., Beech processes and sediment-
ation, Prentice-Hall, 1976.

LAND, L.S., "Carbonate mud production by
epibiont growth on Thalassia testudin-
um", Jour. Sed. Pet., v. 40., 1972.

"The fate of reef-derived sediment on
the north Jamaican island slope", Mar.
Geol., v. 29, 1979.

and GOREAU, T.F., "Submarine lithi-
fication of Jamaican reefs", Jour.
Sed. Pet., v. 40., 1970.

LYN, C.L., "Descriptions of a few of Jamaica's
coastal zone problems", Council of
Carib. Eng. Orgstns., Seminar, Nassau,
Bahamas, 1982.

development at Port Royal, Jamaica",
Rept. of the Port Royal Co. of Mer-
chants Ltd., Kingston, Ja. 1965.

ROBINSON, E.,"Mineralsand plate tectonics",
Jam. Jour., v. 10. nos. 2,3, and 4, 1976.
ROOBOL, M.J., and GIBB, J.S., "Submarine
sea cliffs and caves at Negril, western
Jamaica", Jour. Geol. Soc. Jam. v. 13,
RUSSELL, K.L., "Ocean ridges and eustatic
changes in sea level", Nature, v. 218,

SCOFFIN, T.P. and HENDRY, M.D., "Shal-
low water sclerosponges on Jamaican
reefs and criterion for recognition of
hurricane deposits". Nature, v. 307,

STEERS, J.A., "The Cays and the Palisadoes,
Port Royal, Jamaica", Geog. Rev., v.
30, 1940.

WADGE, G. and DIXON, T.H., "A geological
interpretation of SEASAT/SAR imagery
of Jamaica", Jour. Geol. v. 92, 1984.

WANLESS, H.R., "Sea level is rising so
what?", Jour. Sed. Pet., v. 52, 1973.
"Bathymetry and sediment dispersal dy-
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Jamaica", Mar. Geol., v.46, 1982.
WILMOT-SIMPSON,C., "Effects of surge
caused by Hurricane Allen on the North
Coast of Jamaica, August 5-6, 1980",
Geol. Soc. Jam., Newslettr., v. 1,1980.

WOOD, P.A., "Beaches of accretion and pro-
gradation in Jamaica", Jour. Geol. Soc.
Jam., v. 15, 1976.
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tific Survey, 1971. Zoology Dept. Res.
Rept. No. 1, Univ. of the West Indies,
"Hurricane Allen destroys Jamaican
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to the modern and ancient reefs of
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Univ. of Miami, 1977.




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Historic Structures


Agualta Vale Great House has
the distinction of being the
only known 20th century great
house in Jamaica. Built in 1914
by the Pringle family on what
is assumed to be the found-
ations of the original great
house- built c.1760 by Sir
Thomas Hibbert it is one of
the earliest three storey struc-
tures of its kind in the island.
It was designed by Rudolph
(Dossie) Henriques and con-
structed by the firm formed by
himself and his brothers short-
ly after the 1907 earthquake,
Henriques Bros. Builders and
Contractors. One of the first
reinforced concrete struc-
tures to be built outside of
Kingston, the great house is
truly representative of the
Victorian eclecticism of that
era, combining successfully
the classical grandeur of the
Georgian, features of the
Jamaican vernacular, and the
modern conveniences of the
industrial age.

The great house is laid out in
the shape of a cruciform with
projecting wings on the four
points of the compass. A
central staircase connects all
three floors, the lowest of
which is a semi-basement
which would have housed
the service core. The second
floor contains the principal
rooms dining and sitting
rooms,library etc. The formal
layout of these rooms around
the centralstaircase, as well as
the classical decor fluted
columns,dentils (small square
or rectangular ornamental
blocks) and modillions
(ornamental brackets) around
the ceiling reflect the
Georgian influence. In the
spirit of Victorian eclecticism,
the decor of this floor
accommodates other

In the fashion of the Georgian,
the core of the building is
surmounted by a gallery along
the full perimeter of each
floor. Windows and doors open
onto this gallery.

In addition to the central
staircase, two other staircases
also connect all floors. These
are to be found in the east
and west wings and would
have served as the 'back
staircase' along which the
service traffic would have
been accommodated.

The Agualta Vale Great
House is currently owned
by the Jamaica Banana
Producers Association Ltd.

Photos, right (top and bottom)
National Library; other by Pat Green

influences than the
classical, for example, the
octagonal motifs which
decorate one ceiling are
reminiscent of the Tudor
style. Steps lead directly
from this floor to the porte
cochere (covered portion
over the driveway for
alighting from carriages) and
to the gardens and servants'

The third floor where the
bedrooms are located is much
less formal in style. Here
it is the Jamaican vernacular
which is most evident, with
the ornate but delicate
fretwork which can be seen
above the doorways.

Glimpses of Jamaica's Natural History

The Patoo or Jamaican Brown Owl

Many Jamaicans call owls Patoo, a word of West African origin, meaning 'owl', but originally
spelt 'patu'.
There are two species of owls (patoos) in the island; the white barn owl (Tyto alba) which is
of practically worldwide distribution, and the Jamaican brown owl (Pseudoscopsgrammicus)
the genus and species of which are known only from Jamaica.
The Jamaican brown owl is about 12 to 14 inches in length. Though chiefly a woodland
dweller, it is not uncommon in residential areas where there are large trees. It feeds on in-
sects, spiders, frogs, lizards and mice.

Its nests have been found in cavities of trees, in caves, on the slopes of sink-holes and in
old, abandoned houses. A few have been observed in bougainvillea and large, climbing
Philodendron vines. The eggs are white and vary from two to five in number.

Its call sounds rather like 'wow' or 'woo' and if you are close enough, you may hear it as
Natural History Division, Institute of Jamaica

PRntd in JamIe by Lithopaphic Printer Lmied

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