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