Hampden estate is one of the oldest sugar plantations still in operation in Jamaica and claims over 3500 acres. It is renowned throughout Jamaica’s rum history for its full, intensely flavorful pot still rums and most recently the ‘Rum fire Rum’ brand which is a white over proof rum launched in 2011. Might I add that ‘ish is pretty strong; could get drunk just by smelling it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to visit the sugar factory nor the distillery however I had the pleasure of not only touring but assisting with a measured survey of the House. Some parts reminded me of Liberty Hill Great House (I suppose the upper space in the roof as well as another which I have yet to post about (Mt. Pleasant).
A bit of History:
In 1779 the Scottish born Archibald Sterling built the Hampden Great House located on the border of St. James and Trelawny. At the time, the ground floor served as a rum store until the early 1900s when it was remodeled and the spacious verandahs were added. Indeed, Hampden is beyond impressive. The unusually shaped three storey white washed structure boasts dark timbers both on the exterior and interior surfaces and an incredible mansard roof which from the rear seemingly floats above amidst the greenery that has almost taken over the house. The Estate is firmly set in Jamaican history as it established the Hampden Presbyterian Church, circa 1824, the first of that denomination to be established in Jamaica. Also, they have donated land for schools, housing and other purposes, further marking their importance on the northern side of the island.
In 1955, the old boiler house was donated by the owners of Hampden Estate to Her Royal Highness Princess Alice, who was the Chancellor of the University of the West Indies Mona Campus at that time. She arranged for it to be dismantled, block by block. Each building stone was meticulously numbered, then transported to the Mona Campus and reassembled. It took about three years to complete the task. When it was done, this beautiful Georgian building, made with finely dressed limestone from Hampden Estate, was reborn as the University Chapel, which is today considered an architectural gem and is often used for weddings and other special events. (Interesting!!!)
Information compiled with the help of: http://www.hampdenrumcompany.com/history.html
Also, check out this blog post if you want a better idea of what goes on at the factory: http://www.therumcollective.com/2012/01/past-and-present-tour-of-hampden-estate.html
Photos taken in the summer of 2011 – The exact date now eludes me but I thought they were nice enough to share from a past adventure :).