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.

32 comments on “Greenwood Great House

  1. 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.

  2. 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”.

  3. That step ladder chair is the coolest invention 🙂 The sofa looks great, but I wonder if it’s comfortable…

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. I enjoy visiting wonderful old houses like this. Greenwood Great House has some very interesting history associated with it I see.

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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