image courtesy of Boston Public Library | Licence: Public Domain
image courtesy of Boston Public Library | Licence: Public Domain

Kingston, & Port Royal, from Windsor Farm

c.1821

James Hakewill

From the collection

Title

Kingston, & Port Royal, from Windsor Farm

Date

c.1821

Description

From 'A Picturesque Tour of the Island of Jamaica' by James Hakewill (1778-1843).

THE city of Kingston was founded in the year 1693. The plan of it was drawn by Colonel Lilly, an experienced engineer, and in propriety of design it is perhaps not excelled by any town in the world. The plan is a parallelogram, one mile in length by half a mile in breadth, traversed regularly by streets and lanes, alternately crossing each other at right angles, except in the upper part of the town, where a large square is left—but the buildings have now spread much beyond the boundary of the original plans.

The harbour is formed by an inlet of the sea, which after passing Port Royal, divides into two branches: the western, flowing to Passage Fort and the mouth of the Rio Cobre, forms a small bay of shallow water; the eastern branch runs beyond Kingston to Rock Fort, making a course this way of nine miles in length, and in the broadest part, facing which the town is situated, of two miles in breadth. For a considerable way above and below the town, the channel is deep enough to admit ships of the greatest burthen; a thousand sail may anchor here in perfect safety, and the water is so deep at the wharfs, that vessels of 200 tons lie alongside to deliver their cargoes. At the bottom of the town, near the water-side, is the marketplace, which is plentifully supplied with butcher’s meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables. The latter are brought from the Liguanea mountains, and are excellent; the beef is chiefly from the pastures of Pedros, in St. Ann; the mutton from the salt-pan lands in St. Catharine. The square before-mentioned, at the upper end of the town, is more generally called the Parade. On the south side, forming the N. W. angle of King Street, is the parish church, a plain convenient brick structure, but without any pretensions to architectural beauty; on the north side are the barracks and theatre: the former accommodates about 400 men; the latter will contain about 700 persons; it belongs to the public, and the performers pay into the public funds ten pounds for every night of performance. But the handsomest building in Kingston is the Scotch Church in Duke Street, which was erected about the year 1814 by a public subscription, from a plan of James Delancy, Esq. It is of an octagon figure, extending eighty-six feet nine inches in the clear, from east to west, and sixty-two feet seven inches from north to south, having four entrances, east, west, north and south, with a portico over each entrance. It is calculated to hold 1,000 persons. The number of houses paying tax in Kingston are about 1,300; of the untaxed it is difficult to obtain the precise number, but they may be stated at between three and four hundred.

In 1802 the royal assent was given to the act for constituting Kingston a corporation, under the name of the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty of the City and Parish of Kingston. The election of officers took place on the 15th of November.
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Location

Kingston, Jamaica

Country

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image courtesy of Boston Public Library

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