From the BlogSubscribe Now

Last updated by at .

Learning Historic Preservation Techniques in Falmouth Jamaica

Learning Historic Preservation

While doing research online two years ago, I happened on information about historic preservation and Archeology Awareness Week in Jamaica. My interest piqued, I followed a link to the website for Falmouth Heritage Renewal (FHR), a charitable organization that is involved in historic preservation in Jamaica.

On FHR’s home page was an announcement about a free walking tour of Falmouth. I fired off an email and scheduled a tour that same week, a day after Prince Harry visited.

In a presentation prior to the start of the tour, FHR’s Executive Director, Dr. Ivor Conolley, explained the history of FHR, the projects it had completed as well as those underway. I also found out that FHR provides training, apprenticeship and mentoring programs for youths and adults interested in historic preservation. It also repairs homes for residents who can either donate labor or agree not to sell for a specified time after the work is completed.

I was so impressed by FHR’s work and activism that after the presentation and tour, I heard myself offering to help. Several months later, I was assisting them to organize its first three-day preservation seminar for architects, engineers and other professionals in the building trades.

FHR partnered with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) in the UK, and two architects and an engineer flew to Jamaica to present at the seminar. Along with local preservation professionals, they gave hands on demonstrations of preservation techniques, including a traditional burning of limestone to make lime mortar. The seminar was so well received that participants suggested that FHR make it an annual event.

This year, the seminar will run from today to February 28th. Here are some of the photos from last year’s.

Preparing lime mortar. 

Using lime mortar to repair a damaged stone wall. (Photos from FHR.)

A few of FHR’s projects.

In 1996, the Government of Jamaica declared Falmouth Historic District a National Monument. The historic town celebrates the 245th anniversary of its founding this year.

Linking to Travel Photo Thursday, which Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox organizes. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world. 

Falmouth’s Georgian Buildings, I

Falmouth Baptist Manse

Falmouth, Trelawny, has the largest collection of intact Georgian buildings in the Caribbean. Several have been restored by the Falmouth Heritage Renewal.

On a recent visit, I took photos of some of these beautiful, old buildings.

Falmouth Baptist Manse

Falmouth Baptist Manse, now home of Falmouth Heritage Renewal

Built in 1798 for the Athol Union Masonic Lodge of the Scottish Constitution, it was the first masonic temple in Jamaica. In 1834, it was sold to the Baptist Missionary because of debts incurred during its construction.

It is believed that the Baptist Missionary and Abolitionist, William Knibb (1803-45) lived here in the 1830s with his family. Much later (1951-75), the Manse became the William Knibb High School. It was restored recently by the William Knibb Trust and is now home to Falmouth Heritage Renewal.

St. Peter's Anglican Church, Falmouth

St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Falmouth

The Falmouth Parish Church of St. Peter the Apostle, was built circa 1796 on land that was given by Edward Barrett of Cinnamon Hill. As I wrote in a previous post, the Barretts were wealthy sugar family who owned 84,000 acres stretching from Montego Bay to Falmouth.

St. Peter's Anglican Church, Falmouth

St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Falmouth

Stained glass above the altar.

St. Peter's Anglican Church, Falmouth

St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Falmouth

A few yards from the church is a small cemetery with headstones dating to the 1700s. One of the members told us that there are also graves beneath the church — I wasn’t interested in seeing whether it was true. As we walked around we couldn’t miss this goat. He was sitting under the shade of a nearby tree, looking as if he belonged.

The Falmouth Heritage Renewal offers walking tours of Falmouth Heritage District from Mondays to Fridays at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The tours start at the Baptist Manse, 9 Market Street, and last about 75 minutes. There is no charge, however, donations are welcomed.


This is my submission to this week’s Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday series. Be sure to check out other photo and story entries on their website.