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Greenwood Great House

Greenwood Great House has the best collection of Victorian-era furniture, musical instruments, and china in Jamaica, perhaps even the Caribbean.

Part of the 84,000 acre estate that belonged to the wealthy Barrett family whose relatives were the British poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her aunt, Sarah Moulton Barrett, who was also called Pinkie. Moulton Barrett was born in Jamaica and was immortalized in the painting, Pinkie, by the British artist, Thomas Lawrence. Both Pinkie and Thomas Gainesborough’s Blue Boy, hang in the Huntington Gallery in San Marino, California. A copy of Pinkie’s painting can also be seen at Greenwood.

Not only does Greenwood Great House have the best collection of antiques, it is one of a few great houses that were never burned during the 1831 slave revolt that destroyed most of Jamaica’s great houses. It has also been occupied continuously since it was built in 1790 by Richard Barrett, a member of the family and a former speaker of the Jamaican House of Assembly.

Greenwood Great House - china cabinet

China cabinet

Greenwood Great House - Step ladder

Step ladder

Greenwood Great House - Step ladder unfolding

Step ladder unfolding

Greenwood Great House - Step ladder chair

Step ladder chair

Greenwood Great House - antique furniture

Antique furniture

Greenwood Great House - screw-press

Screw press

Household linens were put between two pieces of flat board. The top piece was then lowered all the way down by a screw, that way flattening and smoothening the clothes.

Greenwood Great House - chamber pot

Chamber pot

Greenwood Great House - bed

Antique bed

Greenwood Great House - Wind organ

Wind organ

Greenwood Great House - Rosewood inlaid piano

Rosewood inlaid piano

This rosewood inlaid piano was built by John Broadwood, who also made pianos for Beethoven.

Greenwood Greathouse is located in the community of Greenwood, St. James. It is 15 miles from Montego Bay and 7 miles from Falmouth. Open daily from 9-6 p.m. Guided tours cost US$20 per person.

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.


  1. Love all the gorgeous woodwork!
    Jade recently posted..Animal Obsession inside Dali’s House in Cadaques, SpainMy Profile

  2. I like visiting old houses since there’s so much history to them. This one has a great collection especially the step ladder chair. I actually have seen Pinkie and Blue Boy at the Huntington Gallery. I used to live near San Marino. Thanks for the background information which will come in handy during our next visit.
    Mary recently posted..Rome’s Wedding Cake: Il VittorianoMy Profile

  3. Looks like a beautiful historic house with lots of stories!

  4. Vera Marie Badertscher

    This is charming. It is so rare and wonderful to find an old house that has been continuously lived in and still has the original furniture. Like time travel. None of those many generations were like my grandmother who couldn’t wait to throw out the “old stuff” and replace it with something “modern”.
    Vera Marie Badertscher recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday: Farmer’s MarketMy Profile

  5. I love antiques and this looks like a place I would enjoy! Very lovely pictures.
    Debbie Beardsley recently posted..Mont St Michel – Touristy but NecessaryMy Profile

  6. That step ladder chair is the coolest invention 🙂 The sofa looks great, but I wonder if it’s comfortable…
    Sabrina recently posted..Sunset Above The CloudsMy Profile

  7. I think I just got a Jamaican history lesson. Thank you. Extremely interesting – and unfortunate that so many of the grand houses were burnt down in the past.
    Leigh recently posted..One Extraordinary Drive: The Apache Trail in ArizonaMy Profile

  8. Jackie Smith

    What a fun. . .and most interesting post. I really liked this one.
    Jackie Smith recently posted..TP Thursday: Santa Cruz ~ Cruise ViewsMy Profile

  9. Those are fascinating pieces of furniture! My kids and I read about a step ladder chair in a book recently, and I had something all together different in my head as we read. I will have to show them these pictures!
    Jessica recently posted..Changes on the HorizonMy Profile

  10. Cathy Sweeney

    I enjoy visiting wonderful old houses like this. Greenwood Great House has some very interesting history associated with it I see.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Sleeping on the SeineMy Profile

  11. It does, Cathy! And to think it’s still standing after 200 years — amazing!

  12. I’ve seen it twice now at Greenwood and it impresses me each time. Just goes to show how creative we really are.
    Will fascinate your kids, I’m sure.

  13. Thanks, Jackie. It’s quite an interesting place.

  14. You’re welcome, Leigh. Yes, it is. Greenwood was very lucky. Fortunately, though, there are still some around.

  15. Isn’t it, Sabrina? I can’t even imagine how long it must have taken to build.
    Hmm, hadn’t thought of that. Wonder why did they used to make them so hard?

  16. Thanks, Debbie. This is only a few of the photos I took. I have many more and there are quite a few I didn’t take.

  17. You’re right, Vera, it is like time travel. It lets us add real photos to the images we already had in our minds.
    We did the same thing too, now I wish we had kept some of them as the modern things are not built to last.

  18. Oh yeah, and a few ghosts!

  19. Yes, absolutely gorgeous, Jade.

  20. I’m continually fascinated by the workmanship and care that went into the making of things like the step ladder chair. We rarely do things like that anymore or if they are done, they cost an arm and a leg.
    If the photos of the two are any indication, they must be very beautiful up close.

  21. No one I know who’s been to Jamaica ever got off the beach! This is so cool and such an interesting collection of furniture.
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  22. I love visiting old mansions too. This one has such stunning woodwork!
    Michael Figueiredo recently posted..Where in the world am I? (#22)My Profile

  23. Donna P

    Greenwood is a Jamaican gem that I had never heard about. I will take the tour the next time I’m in Jamaica. This is a wonderful story of both history and preservation.

  24. WOW! I love that you could take pics of the inside and all the antiques. You can’t always do that in old houses. And that step ladder? WHOA! Pretty fancy craftsmanship.
    Courtney recently posted..The Colorful Sea Creatures Lining Cozumel’s Rafael E. MelgarMy Profile

  25. Hahaha, that’s funny. I guess it means that we’ve done a good job promoting Jamaica as a beach destination and not enough of the other parts of it. Greenwood is definitely worth getting off the beach for the time it takes to take a tour.

  26. They take us to a bygone era. I agree, Michael, the woodwork is just stunning.

  27. I hadn’t either until about 10 years ago. Surprising, eh?
    It’s definitely worth a visit next time you’re here.

  28. I took so many photos, Courtney, I have enough for an album. It’s a really beautiful place. As for the step ladder? They just don’t make them like they used to. Thanks for commenting.

  29. Ha, a real antique chamber pot! I’ve always been curious about those. 😛

  30. Yup, a real one that looked just like a piece of furniture.

  31. Wonderful collection of antiques there… Love the photos. 😉
    ElizOF recently posted..Reflections: On Storytelling…My Profile

  32. They have some very rare pieces which, surprisingly, are in great shape 200+ years later.
    Talk about built to last!