Then and Now: The St. Ann’s Bay Walking Tour

Map Of SAB2

When Christopher Columbus first came to Jamaica in 1494, he landed on the shores of St. Ann. He returned to Jamaica on his fourth voyage and was eventually marooned for one year at St. Ann’s Bay (June 1503 – June 1504), which he had named Santa Gloria.

St. Ann’s Bay became the capital of St. Ann, mainly because of the town’s large harbour and port for shipping goods ranging from bananas to bauxite. After 1655, when the English captured Jamaica, St Ann’s Bay gradually developed as a fishing port with many warehouses and wharves on Wharf Street which still exist today. One is taken back in time as a walk through the historic town reveals many well preserved buildings reminiscent of early 20th century Jamaican vernacular.  Two of the oldest buildings in town are the St. Ann Parish Church (built in 1871) and the St. Ann’s Bay Courthouse (built in 1860).

St. Ann’s Bay, which is home to National Hero Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887) as well as Jamaica’s first prison and once boasted a movie theatre, is a reflection of the town’s early importance and position of authority.


Led by Mr. Dennis Higgins, Chairman of the St. Ann Heritage Foundation, the Georgian Society – St. Ann’s Bay/St. Mary Chapter was well on its way to rediscovering St. Ann’s Bay. The walking tour would take us through the many streets of the town and allow the group to revisit some buildings which were photographed in 1991 on a similar trip. We would later discover that many remained unchanged while others were completely destroyed, in desperate need of repair or had underwent dramatic renovation.


The starting point was at the Roxborough, located beside the Island Traffic Authority Examination Depot which I must say is in a deplorable condition. Our first stop was at Cotter’s Wharf (which was a location for the 1962 film, Dr. No – Thanks Marcia!)- It consisted of three buildings that facilitated the shipment of Agricultural produce, citrus, molasses and bananas to the United Kingdom. Also, it was from there that the first shipment  of bauxite which was mined at Annandale was sent in the late 1930’s.

We trod along the side-walks and carefully ascended the steep incline called Bravo Street and ventured through the various connecting streets as we continued to note the changes made throughout the years. As it was a Sunday morning, there wasn’t much traffic of any kind on the streets. Below is a before and after slide show of the buildings as we saw them (Also added a few taken in 2005).

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I really like this house located on Church Street! Would love to get some more info on  it from anyone who knows!
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The Parish Church  (rear) – The main walls are of cut stone. A series of pointed arch windows and buttresses adorn the Elevations. The apse of the Church is semi-octagonal in shape with buttresses on the corner of each side, between which are pointed arch stained glass windows. In front is the cenotaph erected in honour of Jamaica’s World War 1 and 11 veterans

Below, a lovely couple walks under the arcade on the building located at 12 Main Street, across from the Police Station.

Following that is a street perspective of Bravo Street then one along Main Street (taken in 2005)

Group shot of  some members of the Georgian Society – St. Ann/St. Mary Chapter.

Dan, Hope and KeVaughn eagerly await lunch (Which was very tasty)!





St Ann’s Bay Clock Ticks Again – 🙂 As it should!


Info sourced from –

27 thoughts on “Then and Now: The St. Ann’s Bay Walking Tour

  1. Pingback: Has it really been 1 YEAR? « Welcome to my world…

  2. I totally love this post! No one would ever think St Anns Bay has much significance unless they toured it. It’s so neat to just stop and look around any town in Jamaica and find out what goes on there.

  3. Thanks, this report on St. Ann, Then and Now is very informative and well presented. Heard that a scene from “Dr. No ” was shot at Cotters’ Wharf.
    True or false?

    • 😀 You are welcome!!!!

      Yes it was a location!! They also shot at Dunns River Falls, Roaring River, Liguanea club and many other parts of Kingston, Port royal and Falmouth. GOOD STUFF!

  4. Apart from the building the town seems different from when we went there in 2005. Was it a Saturday OR during the week? I remember, the sun being very hot, there were very little side walk and it was crowded in most of the areas. Generally it was a nice little town, a face lift would be nice, especially considering the towns historical significance. Great article and pictures.

    • It was a Saturday when we went on that class trip. Th town itself gets rather congested easily but as you walk further away it’s not as busy. Yea – the sun is BLAZING! It is ridiculous .. not much shade for you until you reach the buildings with the arcades. Lunch time is my horror story! lol

      Well I’m hoping that we’ll somehow be able to undergo projects that will help with the restoration of some. There are quite a few really nice one I hope will be around for another decade and beyond.

      Thankx much for the feedback! Glad you liked it 🙂 Seriously intend to do a *Part 2* which will entail mainly sketches. *Fingers Crossed*

    • You are most welcome! Glad you enjoyed. OUCH! That photo makes it look good. There was an elevation that made me want to cry! Think that should be looked into especially since so many persons occupy the area on a daily basis!

      I like that things have not all too drastically changed …save for that KFC/Burger King Complex and a few others further in.

    • 😀 Look again 😀 – I attempted to correct that!

      Yes! Initially I had big plan of sketching my life away – even brought my sketch pad but I ended up doing only photography …. Think I may walk around some more when I stop working and sketch instead of photograph! *Fingers Crossed*

      Would love to see some of your sketches too.

  5. I love this! Great photos as always. I like your new blog design too! I have always found this town interesting, and what a sweet little house. Did you visit Marcus Garvey’s birthplace – is it being restored? I know it’s quite humble…

    • Thank you! Had a post explaining the new design 🙂
      And thank you!!!!! I enjoyed the challenge of trying to get all the photos in the same perspective as they had been shot in the 1991 set. We did not on that day but I have on previous occasions… my last visit was not so memorable as when I left I had to head to a doctor to take care of the dog bite I got …… I know of plans to have some work done but can’t say on the progress of that.

      • Oh no! A Dog bite doesn’t sound good. Lovely post anyway. And it’s nice to get a “new look” every now and then. I know there had been some newspaper reports on Garvey’s house. But that doesn’t mean much. I guess it’s a question of money.

        • Ha That was an ordeal! Was so shocked I didn’t even scream or cry! But all part of the game. May have a recent enough photo that I could share with you though. Money yes – that really does halt the progress of a lot of things around here :S

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