Right Steps & Poui Trees


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The Building Across the Road from the General Penitentiary

I know very little about the building across the road from the General Penitentiary (now called the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre), but have wondered about its history. Google map - GP and building across streetIt is a striking building, even in its derelict state.P1240734

I noticed it some time ago on a visit to the prison, which is itself in need of much repair and is certainly not suited for housing the men it does. The overcrowded, inhumane conditions do not lend themselves to the rehabilitation of the inmates in the custody of the state. Perhaps the condition of the building across the road is a visible reminder of things that have fallen apart.

JNHT website re General PenitentiaryThe Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) website does mention the site on its list of past JNHT projects, referring to it as “the General Penitentiary Staff Club and Support Facilities compound” and says the following:

Tower Street – General Penitentiary

Parish: Kingston

Archaeological Impact Assessment Project (AIA)

The Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) has concluded a Heritage Assessment on lands situated at the General Penitentiary Staff Club and Support Facilities compound along Tower Street, Kingston Jamaica. This Heritage Assessment was carried out in response to the National Housing Trust’s (NHT) proposed development of inner city housing solutions on these lands

A team from the JNHT carried out an archaeological appraisal (survey) and architectural assessment of the proposed development area. Our main objective was to identify cultural heritage resources, appraise their worth and their potential contribution to the advancement of the community’s sustainable development.

Kingston was officially founded in 1692 after the catastrophic earthquake that devastated Port Royal. The city expanded from a small seaport town to a spreading city due in large measure to the creation of a number of townships which helped to increase its size. In the early 19th century, the town expanded in both easterly and north-westerly directions. Rae Town was one of the earliest of these planned extensions.

Most of the buildings along Tower Street possess exquisite Jamaican Georgian architecture, and along with the General Penitentiary, are fundamental features of the Tower Street historical streetscape. They are of great architectural and historical significance. It is important that these buildings be preserved and integrated into the proposed development.

I was told that neither the buildings of the Staff Club compound nor the prison buildings are on the JNHT list of declared sites.

This is a closer look at the site on Google maps, on which I have scribbled a few labels. The main derelict building is circled, with the arrow pointing to the front entrance. 2 shows the parking lot and 1 indicates the front gate of the prison across the road. 3 shows another nearby derelict building, pictures of which I have also included in this post. Google map - GP & parking lot

The main entrance to the building is open and is flanked by doorways labeled Lecture Rooms No.1 and No.2, harking back to a time when the building was used for training for correctional officers. P1240392

The door to Lecture Room No.1 still has a padlock on it, a rather ironic touch in the circumstances.

When you look through the front door, you can see the staircase and the doors to the two Lecture Rooms on either side.

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Standing at the left end of the front porch…P1240434

…looking into Lecture Room No.2…P1240432

…with the list on the wall of 45 Qualities of a Good Prison Officer.P1240427 - 45 Qualities

A walk down the porch along the left side of the building leads to the back of the structure, some of which seemed to be in slightly better condition.P1240653

Standing at the back, I could see through the hallway past the staircase, out through the front door, across the parking lot to the front of GP.P1240513

The porch along the right side of the building leads to a section that is made of brick on both storeys…Building across from GP showing right side

An open door off that porch revealed some signs of more recent habitation.

The short road running along the left side of the parking lot is labeled Tower Street on the Google map, but it isn’t THE Tower Street; it is a side road which has a dead end.

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Looking the other way, down the road, you see a smaller building in disrepair and the front of GP.

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This building is in two sections facing a small courtyard.

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Both sections are in poor condition…

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…but still show some of the distinctive features of the building.

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I was very surprised to learn from some correctional officers who were in the parking lot that parts of the main building and the smaller building were used by some correctional officers for changing and even for staying overnight. Anyone having to use these buildings, particularly the upper storeys, is at real risk of injury and it raises an issue regarding provision of facilities for correctional officers who work at the correctional center.

So far I have found little information about these buildings and obviously there is much more to be found out regarding their history and any plans for what is to happen to them. This is the third post in my series on derelict buildings and I had far more information in the first two. I’d be interested in any information or leads anyone can provide. But today I felt like posting these photos, which I took a few months ago. So here they are!

 

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Not A Face, Not A Crowd: Weekly Photo Challenge – A Face in the Crowd

“Explore the use of anonymity to express both that which is common to all of us and the uniqueness that stands out even when the most obvious parts of us are hidden.”

We stopped on Fleet Street in downtown Kingston to take photos of the striking street murals there. I saw the elderly gentleman making his way from the top of the road…P1200576

When he drew level with where I stood with my camera, he stopped and greeted me, saying he recognized me. Was I the lady he sometimes saw on TV? I let him know he was right and confirmed my name. We exchanged a few more words and then he continued on his way….Love more 2

Weekly Photo Challenge – A Face in the Crowd


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Queen Victoria on Parade: Weekly Photo Challenge – Weathered

“This week, show us the effect of time and the elements.”

On East Parade in downtown Kingston, inside St William Grant Park, there is a statue of Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria a

It’s been in the Park (which used to be called Victoria Park) for nearly 120 years and has weathered somewhat over that time.

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It has even lost its left hand….

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The statue was unveiled in 1897 as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations; it was a replica of a statue sculpted by Emanuel Edward Geflowski and still bears the inscription: “Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India, and Supreme Lady of Jamaica.” The photo below shows the unveiling ceremony.

Queen Victoria statue - National Library of Jamaica photo

“Unveiling the Queen’s Statue in Jamaica,” National Library of Jamaica Digital Collection , accessed January 10, 2018, http://nljdigital.nlj.gov.jm/items/show/1724. © Copyright NLJ. All Rights Reserved

They say that the statue shifted on its stone base during the 1907 Earthquake, which you seem to be able to see in this photo.

Queen Victoria statue - National Library of Jamaica photo 2 (2)

“Statue of Queen Victoria,” National Library of Jamaica Digital Collection , accessed January 10, 2018, http://nljdigital.nlj.gov.jm/items/show/1725. © Copyright NLJ. All Rights Reserved

A Jamaica Information Service release in the Sunday Gleaner of April 26, 1970 mentioned the story of the statue and the earthquake:

Gleaner Sunday April 26 1970 - statues of Queen Victoria and Sir Alexander - JIS report

Sunday Gleaner, April 26, 1970,  page 1 -“Sir Alex’s Statue to Replace Queen Victoria’s”

On May 12, 1970, Queen Victoria’s statue was moved from its original position on South Parade to make way for the statue of National Hero Sir Alexander Bustamante.

Gleaner May 14 1970 - statues of Queen Victoria and Sir Alexander

Gleaner, May 14, 1970, page 1

The statue was later placed in its current location, where it remains to this day.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Weathered

 

 

 

 

 


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Standing Guard: Weekly Photo Challenge – Peek

“This week, share a peek of something — a photo that reveals just enough of your subject to get us interested. A tantalizing detail. An unusual perspective.” 

Was the small diamond-shaped window put there to allow him to see out?

guard 1

It also allows us to see in…guard 2

…as he stands guard…

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…at the Jamaica War Memorial in National Heroes’ Park in Kingston.P1190691

The Cenotaph is in memory of the thousands of Jamaicans who died in World Wars I and II. The Memorial was first erected on Church Street in 1922 to honour those who died in World War 1; in 1953 it was moved to its present location. Soldiers from the Jamaica Defence Force form a ceremonial guard at the Memorial. The epitaph on the monument reads: “In memory of the men who fell in the great war. Their name liveth for evermore.” P1200133

Weekly Photo Challenge – Peek

 


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Took Time On National Heroes’ Day To #BigUpJamaica

There is a whole lot about our country that needs radical change and we know it. And still we love this place. Fi Wi Jamaica, the University of Technology’s “national social intervention project which seeks to bring awareness to and, ideally, protection for targeted socially oppressed groups and individuals in Jamaica”, sponsored a Twitter event today, National Heroes’ Day. BigUpJamaica - Fi Wi Jamaica

Many individuals and organizations joined in:BigUpJamaica - PMI - 16-10-17

BigUpJamaica - EqualityJA

BigUpJamaica - Damien Williams

BigUpJamaica - Flagstaff Tours 16-10-17

I joined in with a series of tweets of my own:BigUpJamaica - SG 1

BigUpJamaica - SG 2

BigUpJamaica - SG 3

BigUpJamaica - SG 4

BigUpJamaica - SG 5

BigUpJamaica 6

If you want to learn more about the Fi Wi Jamaica project, take a look at their page on Facebook or read a recent press release of theirs, which blogger Emma Lewis shared in a post: Fi Wi Jamaica: Past, Present and Future

 


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Downtown Kingston Crossing: Weekly Photo Challenge – Pedestrian

“What does pedestrian mean to you? Perhaps this is a great chance to go out and practice some street photography.”

Downtown Kingston. A man walks across the pedestrian crossing in South Parade. In the background is the landmark Kingston Parish Church, built in 1911 at the site of the original church, which was destroyed in the Great Earthquake of 1907. There is much pedestrian traffic in this part of Kingston, but the history of the area is anything but pedestrian.

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Below is a postcard showing some of the damage to the original church after the earthquake. (“Parish Church, Kingston Jamaica after earthquake Jan 14, 1907,” National Library of Jamaica Digital Collection , accessed October 4,2017. http://nljdigital.nlj.gov.jm/items/show/254.)Kingston Parish Church after 1907 earthquake - National Library of Jamaica Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Pedestrian