Learning Historic Preservation Techniques in Falmouth Jamaica

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. 

23 comments on “Learning Historic Preservation Techniques in Falmouth Jamaica

  1. This is fantastic on the work that the Falmouth Heritage Renewal project is doing, Marcia. I always enjoy places being restored and more so the volunteers who make these type of things happen. Good post 🙂

  2. Thanks, Anne. I’ve fallen in love with Falmouth and agree, it does need to get more exposure.
    I’ve got several more stories coming. Thanks for reading.

  3. What a great experience this must have been, Marcia! It looks so interesting on how they’re able to restore these buildings to their former glory. Love the before and after shots and that courthouse is beautiful.

  4. Great to read this. My Dad was a builder and loved workinh on old buildings, luckily there are heaps in Scotland. He worked on a few castles and took us as kids so we learned a little about the technicques then. The before and after shots of the buildings are really impressive.

  5. I think you’ve picked a great organization to donate your time to. The restoration work that they did is wonderful. At first, I didn’t realize I was looking at Before and After pics as the buildings seem so different. I would like to attend that demo on making lime mortar as I have no idea how it’s done.

  6. Interesting Marcia, this year I am planning to visit one of the oldest towns in East Africa – Lamu and I can definitely see how such a program would be invaluable to the town.

  7. What a great way to immerse yourself in the history of the place, while also picking up a very cool skill that not a lot of people can claim to have. This seems like a great way to experience a new place, Marcia!

  8. I never knew! But how wonderful that you went out there and found out for us, Marcia. Good on you for getting out and doing that. Very interesting.

  9. I would love to work on a project like this! I know people who’ve worked on archaeology sites in Jamaica, but I’ve never seen the preservation side of things.

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