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A Jamaican Georgian Inspired Building

This building has captured my interest for about a year. At first, I thought it was a restored Georgian because it’s near Half Way Tree in Kingston where a few other Georgian buildings, like the St. Andrew Parish Courthouse, the St. Andrew Parish Church and the Oakton House are located.

I consulted friends and family in Kingston, heritage and restoration professionals and architects but months later, I was no further along than when I started. Finally, after posting it on Facebook, I got a nibble. A few people said it was in private ownership but nothing on the backstory. For example, was it a restored Georgian, like I thought. If it is, what was there before, are there photos, etc. I’m still curious about that and will update this post if I find out.

A Kingston office built in the Georgian style

A Jamaican Georgian Inspired Building

In the meantime, I decided that it has either borrowed from or retained certain elements that made me think Georgian. For example, the quoins (those are the white blocks at the corner of the building. Quoins are one of the main features of Georgian architecture. They’re usually larger and more prominent than the surrounding blocks.), brick construction, the columns, and what appears to be a modified hip roof, a roof with sloping sides and ends that’s distinctively Georgian.

Georgian architecture was popular in Jamaica between the 1750-1850. It was named for the architectural style that was all the rage in England during the reigns of King George (I, II, III and IV, 1714-1830) and features simplicity in form, symmetry and balance. The style was adopted by wealthy plantation owners for the homes and commercial buildings they built in Jamaica and the colonies, with modifications, such as louvres, verandahs, etc., to suit the local climate.

This is my submission to Travel Photo Thursday, which is organized by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.

 

Comments

  1. Beautiful building, I love the stairs :)
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  2. I love the look of brick houses! Looks like you still have a mystery to work on.
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  3. The staircase is quite beautiful- love the combo of the white and the brick together.

  4. It certainly is an attractive building. I take photos of houses on my walks and then try and research them also.
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  5. I can’t think of many places where I’ve seen two staircases going to the same door. Very interesting style and I wonder what that is all about.
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    • The double staircase is featured on several of the Georgian houses that remain. I’m guessing it has to do with symmetry that Georgian architecture aims for.

  6. Wow! If you didn’t say that this was in Jamaica I wouldn’t have guessed it.

    Why the two staircases? Why are they so close together?
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    • That’s a very good question. I think it might have something to do with balance — Georgian architecture stressed balanced so whatever’s on one side had to be on the other. I’m not sure why they’re so close together — could be the door, it looks rather small

  7. It’s a beautiful building and I really like the winding staircase leading to the entrance. It almost reminds me of those buildings in the Virginia suburbs. :) I’m sure it has an interesting backstory and hope you find out one of these days.
    Mary recently posted..Miraculous Stairway of Loretto Chapel Santa FeMy Profile

    • I actually thought of Virginia when I saw it first – specifically Old Town. I think I’ll give them a call and see what they say about it.
      Thanks, Mary!

  8. Loving the front door steps!
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  9. Fascinating. I do love the staircase wrapping itself in two directions. Keep us posted on your discoveries. :-)
    Eliz
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  10. Buildings fascinate me because I love the different architecture Visiting from Photo Thursday
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    • Thanks for visiting, Eileen. Buildings do tell a good story about how some designs migrate and where they take hold. It’d be interesting to compare the adaptations in different places.

  11. Even though I don’t think they fit very well with the rest of the house, I do like those stairs. Something so grandiose and decorative about them.
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  12. If I had to pick a favourite style of architecture it would be Georgian, and yes this is so reminiscent of the beautiful square lines and proportions. I didn’t realise that it was popular in Jamaica … fascinating :)
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    • Georgian is my favorite as well. It speaks to my sense of proportion and balance.
      It was all the rage here for about 100 years so we have a good number of Georgian buildings around.

  13. Oh, that building just wowed me big time. Nice job! Thank you for the best jamaican building I’ve seen so far. :)

  14. Hi Marcia,
    I admire your determination to find the story about this building. Makes me curious myself. Definitely let us know the backstory once you learn abou it. And thank you for the lesson on Georgian architec ture. I heard about it but I didn’t know the specific characteristics.
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    • Thanks and you’re welcome, Marisol. With everyone wanting to know more, I think I’ll do a little more digging.
      Will keep you posted.

  15. I wouldn’t expect to see this particular building in Jamaica. Isn’t it funny that even if the internet and the world of information we have at our fingertips, there are still some things that are difficult to get answers about. Maybe it keeps things more interesting that way.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Grand Wailea Art: It’s in Their DNAMy Profile

    • I agree: it does keep it interesting when information isn’t readily available.
      Now, I’m thinking of all kinds of questions I’d like answers to.
      We do have a few of these types around but they’re usually not in such good condition.

  16. Wow. Very nice building. I don’t blame you for being curious about it. I hope you can find the information you are looking for about that place. I love old buildings and find them fascinating.

    Thanks for sharing this one. I”ll be checking back to see what you find out.

  17. Hi, in my country there isn’t a house look like that! Nice buiding!
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  18. Perhaps the owner of the house will see this post and come forward. What a mystery!
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  19. Interesting! That building looks very much like ones in my old hometown, Seattle, Washington!

  20. Until my neighbor reminded me, I’d totally forgotten about the few pounds I’ve had frozen since last December. Since I didn’t want to run afoul of the law, I decided to fix the lobster for dinner on Sunday, the last day we’re allowed legally to have it in our possession. Here’s how I prepared it.
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  21. That’s a pretty unique building I would like to go and see what the inside is like too.

  22. I’ve never seen stairs like that, and for them to be external indicates two separate tenants (?). It certainly is interesting, I would want to know the backstory also. Maybe it was a business?
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    • A business is there now and I keep promising to call and find out more…will add it to my list for next week.
      Thanks for the reminder, Narelle.

  23. The building looks simple yet sophisticated. Hope you’ll find more information about this building.
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