Jamaica Colonial Heritage Society

 Jamaican Colonial Heritage Society
Some of Jamaica’s Historical Events
Courtesy of Mr. & Mrs. A & T Wong and Dr. P. Foreman

Jamaican military contingent embarking on a ship to fight in the First World War, 1915

Jamaican military contingent embarking on a ship to fight in the First World War, 1915

 This was the scene in 1915, when the Jamaican Contingent set sail for the Great War, World War 1. This picture was used as the base for the Jamaica 1921 One Penny  Half Penny stamp.

The photo shows the Jamaican military contingent boarding a transport ship in 1915 bound for the First World War in France. I believe that this ship had to divert to Halifax. Some of the troops, not dressed for the winter, died there.

Jamaica and the Great War


Jamaican One Penny Half Pennie (affectionately called QUATTIE)...circa 1921

Jamaican One Penny Half Pennie (affectionately called QUATTIE)…circa 1921

The Quattie (One Penny Half Penny) stamp issued in 1921 depicts the Jamaican military contingent embarking on the ship to sail to France and join the British forces during the First World War.

The first F. W. Woolworth Co. Jamaica Ltd. circa: Nov 4, 1954

The first F. W. Woolworth Co. Jamaica Ltd. circa: Nov 4, 1954

F. W. WOOLWORTH & Co. (Jamaica) Ltd. Originally posted by Brenda Arnett.

By the mid 1950s, nearly every substantial High Street in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland had an F. W. Woolworth store, and the Company was making record profits. Executives turned their attention to where the next growth might come from, and looked overseas. While the chain’s American parent managed operations in continental Europe and South America directly, they had always hoped that the British subsidiary might tackle the Commonwealth. Australia and New Zealand were effectively off-limits because of mistakes in the 1920s, which had allowed a copycat chain to open independently, but there were many other options. British Directors warmed to the idea of overseas stores, dubbing them “Our stores in the sun”. Store staff were also enthusiastic and tracked progress through the pages of the staff magazine. Jamaica was targeted for the first opening. It was believed that a chain could be established cheaply and at comparatively low risk, and would provide a lot of learning. The first branch in King Street in the capital, Kingston, opened on its doors on the British chain’s 45th birthday, 4 November, 1954.

The open-fronted store had large fans above the cornice line but did not stretch to air conditioning. It stocked mainly locally-sourced products, topped up with items from the UK. Specialist shoplifting like tills and scales were made in Britain. The counters were locally built and were raised an extra four inches above the floor.  Store staff were recruited locally, but the management and supervisory team was hand-picked from the rising stars back in Britain. The pattern for the first store closely matched the approach that the Americans had taken when they first opened a British store in Liverpool, but was not repeated in other countries.  The first Jamaican store was targeted to local needs and was distinctly different to the UK model. Sales were buoyant and the store came close to making a profit in its first year, even without economy of scale. Two further branches were added over the next five years. In parallel the parent company tackled both Trinidad and Barbados.

For Further Reading

Tramcar on King Street, a main business location in downtown Kingston, Jamaica

Tramcar on King Street, a main business location in downtown Kingston, Jamaica

The tram passing the Sports Store at 27 King Street.

Waterloo House on Harbour Street, Kingston, Jamaica

Waterloo House on Harbour Street, Kingston, Jamaica

If you look along Harbour Street you will see the office of the Colonial Bank in the earlier days.

Peggy Brown's Restaurant serving some strange fish medleys and marvellous baked bananas

Peggy Brown’s Restaurant serving some strange fish medleys and marvellous baked bananas

PEGGY BROWN’S RESTAURANT   Corner of King and Harbour Streets, Kingston, Jamaica B.W.I.

376831_10151142960636602_571037286_n The Kingston Industrial Garage Oldest World Ford Dealership 1907

KINGSTON INDUSTRIAL GARAGE , the Oldest Ford Dealership in the world  circa 1907.

228460_10151145685461602_1990413644_n Kelly Punch Barrel and Liquour Store Kingston Jamaica

Jamaica’s popular Liquor Store and Famous Drinking Rendezvous.

Beacon Safety Matches came in this small wooden drawer box with wooden matches

Beacon Safety Matches came in this small wooden drawer box with wooden matches


376408_10151171478171602_1903337544_n Zayne Habeeb Najeeb Tobacco Planter and Manufacturer staff of R Mahfood and Brothers Linstead Jamaica

102A Orange Street, Kingston

304381_10151180531381602_176421029_n Jamaica British West Indies Sweepstake ticket

560473_10151208658876602_220239931_n B and J B Machado Tobacco Company Ltd Kingston Jamaica

B. & J. B. MACHADO COMPANY LIMITED    Benito & Juan Machado.

Factory: 26 Victoria Avenue (Park Lodge)

Office & Retail Outlet: 12 1/2 King Street, Kingston

Tobacco Estates: Temple Hall and Colbeck

In 1875, Benito and Juan Machado established the firm of B. and J.B. Machado and set up their cigar making factory on Harbour Street in downtown Kingston. It was a small affair, no larger than a reasonable-sized drawing room, and employing only about twenty-five workers, who were all ex-Cubans skilled in the art of making fine cigars. Within a few years, the twenty-five workers had increased to more than three hundred. The premises of the factory had to be expanded, and the firm was ready to register its first trademarks, which were the very first trademarks ever registered in Jamaica. Trade Mark No. 1 for “Fantasia Habernera Cigarros Superiores” – which has now lapsed – and Trade Mark No. 2 for the still famous “La Tropical” label were registered on June 21st, 1889. After these trademarks others followed, and by the time of the Grand Exhibition, held in Jamaica in 1891, there were also Trade Marks Nos. 20 and 21 on the company’s records. At this Exhibition “La Tropical” cigars won a number of gold medals.

In 1897, Benito Machado, the head of the firm, died. His partner and brother pioneer, Juan Machado, was by this time too ill to manage the business and so the active management of it passed into the hands of the rest of the family. In 1918 the Company ceased to operate as a family business, and was registered as a Limited Liability Company under the name “B. & J.B. Machado Limited with the factory at Park Lodge and offices at King Street. This company closed it’s operations in 1954.

(Source: NLJ)

The advertising picture shown on the left is circa 1920. The beautifully engraved label (Trade Mark No. 2) on the right is an original and is the same label as depicted in the advertising used on the lid of the cigar box.

247344_10151208736691602_825297550_n C B Chamberlin Jippi Jappa and Jamaica Panama Hats Kingston Jamaica

C. S. CHAMBERLIN LTD. Wholesale & Retail Store of Jamaica


Jippi – Jappa (Panama) Hats, Bags, Curios Etc .


554120_10151213124486602_1632052559_n Morais Photo Studio  121 Orange Street Kingston Jamaica

121 Orange Street, Kingston

CARIB Theatre across from the Cross Roads Post Office circa 1946

CARIB Theatre across from the Cross Roads Post Office circa 1946

PALACE AMUSEMENT CO. (1921) LTD.   Audley Moraise, Managing Director
Head Office: Gaiety Bldg.,  East Queen Street, Kingston

This photograph was taken in 1946 showing Carib Cinema. The building to the left of Carib is the Cross Roads Post Office. Looking straight down Slipe Road is a tram car of the Jamaica Public Service. Notice the electrical cables overhead that supplied electrical power to the tram cars. This photograph may have been taken on the median of Old Hope Road and Half-Way Tree Road.

The Palace Amusement Company (1921) Limited was formed by Audley Morais, and operated as a Private Company prior to 1921 (silent movie days). He re-formed the company and offered shares to the public in 1921.

Over the years the Company operated Movies, Rose Gardens, and Palace Cinemas. Gaiety and Majestic was subsequently acquired, Odeon (Mandeville) was leased, and other cinemas ( urban and rural) were built. It operated cinemas and distributed films to many of the independent cinemas that existed in Jamaica and Cayman.

In 1938, Cinema Company of Jamaica Limited built the Carib, in competition to Palace.

In 1947, J. Arthur Rank, from the United Kingdom, bought control in Palace Amusement Company. The Rank Organisation bought out Cinema Company of Jamaica Ltd. owner of the Carib. J. Arthur Rank closed the Movies and built Odeon in Mandeville in 1951, and Odeon in Half Way Tree in 1952.

In l949, Russell Graham built the Tropical Cinema Company, and used it as a centerpiece of the competition that he mounted for the movie audience against Palace.

In 1962, Russgram Investments Limited – a Company owned by Russell Graham – bought the controlling interest in Palace Amusement Company from J. Arthur Rank, and Douglas Graham was appointed Managing Director. The new regime purchased the Majestic Cinema onSpanish Town Road, built the Harbour View Drive In as a partly owned subsidiary, and took control of Tropical Cinema Company, which was a 2-cinema company – Tropical and Rialto.

In 1989, Russell Graham sold his Russgram Investments Company to Douglas Graham, who still has ownership of it.
(Source: Palace Amusement)



Audley Moraise, Managing Director   CINEMA SHOWS AND ENTERTAINMENTS

Head Office: Gaiety Bldg.,   East Queen Street, Kingston

The photograph to the left was taken in 1946 and it would seem to have been taken from the Cross Roads Market directly opposite the front of the cinema. The very small writing directly under “CARIB” is the advertising space for what is showing.

This picture was taken in 1946 advertising the movie: GREAT EXPECTATIONS with JOHN MILLS. and VALERIE HOBSON in ACTION/ADVENTURE/SUSPENSE scenes.

The original movie poster shown would have been on display in the lobby of Carib Cinema.

61268_10151263600131602_1527691179_n Mr Evon Blake owner of Spotlight Magazine 1939

Mr. Evon Blake.owner of “SPOTLIGHT” NEWS MAGAZINE  95 Harbour Street, Kingston
Press Association of Jamaica

Spanish Town Iron Bridge spanning Rio Cobre River, Spanish Town, St. Catherine, Jamaica circa 1821

Spanish Town Iron Bridge spanning Rio Cobre River, Spanish Town, St. Catherine, Jamaica circa 1821

A view of the Iron Bridge over the Rio Cobre in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, as drawn by James Hakewill in 1821 (1825). It is one of Jamaica’s national monuments of quite some historical significance.

The bridge was erected in 1801, from prefabricated cast-iron segments, at a cost of four thousand pounds, which were shipped from England. The abutment of the bridge is constructed with cut stone. It is about 81ft long and 15ft wide.

The historical significance of the Iron Bridge is centered around the following facts:

  • It is the oldest bridge of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, being the first prefabricated cast iron bridge erected in the Americas.
  • It is the only surviving iron bridge in the New World.
  • It is also the only surviving iron bridge in the world using a construction technique called Burdon’s Principle.