Monday, March 31, 2008

Heritage Sites

The visit by Professor Simon Smith from the UK inspired me to record any heritage sites that I know about. For example, here is a fragment of a millwheel in Glen. A friend who grew up in the area said that there had been a big wall associated with the wheel but that it had been torn down and the remains used for building materials. People I met in the neighborhood told me that the water flow had been at roughly right angles to the wheel position, and there are still deep walled drains running in that direction.

If you continue toward Caliaqua in the direction of the water flow and follow the road that goes by the Community College in Caliaqua you get to the Lower Fair Hall Road which goes by another Heritage site.

This appears to have been the site of the works for the Fairhall Estate and the power transmission wheel from the works is being used as a garden ornament in one of the houses built a few years ago. A friend tells me that before those houses were built there was a large overgrown tank on the site that the children were afraid of and used to run past. The wheel was already imbedded in concrete at that time, The area has walled drains and deep gullies which probably contained the runoff from the wheel as well as stormwater runoff.

I'll photograph any sites that I know of, and put extra pictures on the Flicker page at:
(or go to Flickr and search for Karlek).

If you know of any sites please write me at and I'll try to record them. I'll dig out some old pictures I've taken in the past, and take new ones of sites I didn't look at carefully enough. Heritage sites can include buildings that are still in use, like Churches and Schools and estate Great Houses, if we know something about their history.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Apprentice Years

John Anderson was sent to inspect estates on St. Vincent during the years between slavery and full emancipation, and his journals give a picture of St. Vincent during that period.


The note below reminded me that links to Father LeBreton's "The Caribs of St. Vincent" and Van der Plas' "Jesuit Massacre" can be found on the website Tony's Oldies []. I may have mentioned this before, but it is always useful to be reminded of a Vincy historical reference on the web.

e-mail (2003) from Kerwyn Morris re page 115 on the web (Jesuit Massacre)

Hi Tony;
I am truly glad to see the abovementioned document making the site.
Several years ago as we approached Statehood I  worked on publicising
this very document which was then known to only a few Vincies.
With the help of Frank Rojas and Johnny Alves I was able to convince
Mr. Joshua to commission the Govt. Printery to do the job.
One hundred copies were made and were given to Mrs Lorna Small of the Public Library.
What happened after that I do not know but I still have my tattered copy.
It was Alphie Roberts who first drew my attention to the document.


Also, the caribbean chapters of Alexandre Moreau des Jonnes' memoire are located at If you haven't read it I strongly recommend it. It is certainly as exciting as the plot to the Pirates of the Caribbean, and a lot more true to fact.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Visit To SVG

I ran across this little clip in a Canadian Blog:

After waking every hour on the hour in the typical paranoid fashion of someone catching an early morning flight; Day 1 officially started at 4:30am with the simultaneous ringing of the wake up call and the buzzing of the alarm clock.  We caught the hotel shuttle and made our way smoothly through self-check in and security.  One minor moment of hysteria on my part when I thought I lost my wallet and then we were on our first flight of the day to Miami.  We made our connection in Miami only because our second flight was delayed an hour.  Miami to St. Lucia was fairly boring, similar to the movie being played, and we both slept.
In St. Lucia we were met by St. Lucia Helicopter Co. and quickly escorted to a van which sped to a waiting helicopter where we were (again quickly) escorted.  Except for the lack of hostile enemy fire I could have mistaken this part of the trip for a scene in 24.  We were barely seated and buckled in when the helicopter took off.  Dave and I clung to each other like two little kids on the ferris wheel for the first time - scared to death and loving every minute.  The flight took us from the southern tip to the nothern tip where we caught our next flight to Barbados.  From there we connected (after 2 hours) to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  By some small miracle we (and our luggage) made the trip on time.
A quick taxi ride to our hotel (quickness reflecting the speed of the driver and not the distance of the hotel from the airport) where we checked in and called it a day at 10:30pm. 
Day 2 brought fabulous weather.  We had our breakfast and did a quick walk around to get the lay of the land before hopping onto a bus to head to downtown Kingstown.  The buses in St. Vincent are actually small vans that cram up 15 people inside plus the driver and door man.  For $4 EC (that's Eastern Caribbean dollars) Dave and I can both get from our hotel in Villa to downtown and back - that's the equvalent of about $1.50 CAD.  The buses all have names painted in graffiti on the Infamous, Indian or Freedom.  The best part is that their driving is insane and gives you more of a thrill than a roller-coaster.
Downtown Kingstown on market day is full of sights.  The streets are lined with locals selling their produce and goods.  Everyone is blaring music and yelling.  There is constant honking from all of the vehicles.  In St.Vincent the horn is the first thing to be replaced on a car....they honk to say "hi" or "bye", they honk to pedestrains to let them cross, they also honk to say "I'm not stopping for you", they honk at every blind turn (every turn in St. Vincent is blind), and of course they honk when they've been cut off, pissed off or told off by another driver.
After some shopping and lunch dowtown we went back to Beachcombers for a swim in the pool and a walk on the beach.  Saturday night brought the Meet and Greet where 80-something of my relatives met at my cousins house for a huge buffet.  There were many people I had met at the last reunion and many more I met for the first time.  By 11pm we were exhausted again and made our way back to the hotel with the other Beachcombers at the reunion."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Historian Visits St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Professor Simon D. Smith, Professor of Modern History and Diaspora Studies and a member of the The Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) at Hull University in the UK, visited St. Vincent in March 2008 to study our examples of industrial archaeology from the 18th and 19th century.

As the Institue says on its web page: "SLAVERY and the social injustices associated with it are as real today as they were 200 years ago, when William Wilberforce led the movement which ended the British slave trade in 1807.The Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) is located in a listed Victorian building in the historic Old Town in Hull’s city centre. It is next to Wilberforce House, Wilberforce’s birthplace and itself the subject of a forthcoming World Heritage Site application."

The stimulus for the visit was his analysis of inspection reports. The abstract says, in part:
"This article seeks further illumination on the practicalities of employing visiting attorneys by analyzing the Reports prepared by John Johnson for James Adam Gordon: an absentee proprietor of half-a-dozen plantations located on St Kitts, Antigua, and St Vincent" To fully understand the Reports it would be helpful to see the actual site, and study, in local records, the context.

One of the plantations was Fairhall, inland of Caliaqua.

At the map location of the great house and works, we found parts of plantation machinery being used as garden ornaments.

Professor Smith also surveyed other areas looking for remains of estate activity. Here he eats lunch on a bank of the Congo River near Georgetown.

We can hope that Professor Smith's future publications will motivate the SVG Department of Culture to protect the remaining examples of industrial archaeology in situ.