Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Going Back ... Holborn Road Then and Now

In April 2003 I returned to Jamaica for a visit after an absence of twenty years. My cousin, Rosemary, had invited me to stay with her and her husband, Norrie, for a few weeks at their home outside of Montego Bay in Coral Gardens. It was quite a trip, going back after all that time. Things were the same, and things were different. My plane landed at Sir Donald Sangster Airport in a hot and humid afternoon. When I arrived at Immigration the officer welcomed me back to Jamaica. It was almost like coming home!

I'll write more about that trip to Jamaica but what I really want to talk about is our weekend in Kingston, or I should say, New Kingston. We discussed where to stay while there and I suggested that we stay at my old home, 5 Holborn Road, which is now the Indies Hotel. But, before I describe my experiences there, let me tell you something about Holborn Road, then and now.

The above map is a recent one and the terrain I'm going to describe was probably a bit different from the present. As you can see, Holborn Road runs off of Trafalgar Road (which in turn runs off of Hope Road). Presently Holborn Road runs into Chelsea Avenue, which in turn ends at Half-way Tree Road, but when I was a child living on Holborn Road it didn't run right through ... that came later. I remember that Renfrew Road ran off of Holborn Road, just south of Trafalgar Road, and then lower down there was Dumfries Road which dead-ended at a gully, past which was Knutsford Park Race Course.

When the races were on we could hear the noise from the race track at our house on Holborn Road. I remember going to the races with my cousin and her family and even placing a bet.

The race course is gone now ... Knutsford Park became New Kingston with hotels, stores and businesses, and horse-racing is now carried on at Caymanas Park. The postcard below shows the Skyline Hotel, New Kingston, probably from the sixties or early seventies, one of the first hotels built there.

This is where the late Perry Henzell filmed The Harder They Come (1972). The postcard from which this picture comes is unused, but someone has written on the back:

"This is one of our best hotel [sic] the Skyline and in the background is another hotel it is called the Sherton [sic] hotel I can stay at my school and see the top of Skyline"

What happened to the Skyline? Did it morph into one of the other hotels, the Pegasus for example? If anyone knows, please leave a comment. In my next post I'll write about some of the other families who lived on Holborn Road.


alba dunlop said...

My sister worked at the Sheraton in New Kingston in the 60's. She still keeps in touch with the manager at the time Joy Smatt. Joy the last I know of was in Key West and still working for the Sheraton. I will ask my sister to find out if she knows the fate of the Sheraton.

Dorothy Kew said...

Hi Alba: The Sheraton is gone,according to the latest copy of Frommer's Jamaica. I wonder if the Skyline morphed into the Pegasus? Hope your sister has the answer!

Joan Matalon said...

The Sheraton is now the Hilton and the Skyline is now Knutsford Court owned by Karl Hendrickson.
I have enjoyed all your postings. Keep it up!!

Joan Matalon said...

Sorry, the name of the hotel is the Courtleigh. Hendrickson bought it and relocated the Courtleigh to the old Skyline. I think they also own the Knutsford Court.

Historia said...

I came across a review of a book about another woman from Jamaica writing her biography. I thought you might be interested to know about it.

From Harvey River
By Lorna Goodison

format: hardcover
publication: January 2007
ISBN: 0771033834
Price $29.99

"Throughout her life my mother, Doris, lived in two places at once: Kingston, Jamaica, where she raised a family of nine children, and Harvey River, in the parish of Hanover, where she was born and grew up." When Doris Harvey's English grandfather, William Harvey, discovers a clearing at the end of a path cut by the feet of those running from slavery, he gives his name to what will become his family's home for generations. For Doris, Harvey River is the place she always called home, the place where she was one of the "fabulous Harvey girls," and where the rich local bounty of Lucea yams, pimentos, and mangoes went hand in hand with the Victorian niceties of her parents' house. It is a place she will return to in dreams when her fortunes change, years later, and she and her husband, Marcus Goodison, relocate to "hard life" Kingston and encounter the harsh realities of urban living in close quarters.

Anonymous said...

william;henry;gamon;hugh and many more still live around Harvey River.There are family in Epping; Chambers Pen and Mount Pleasant, Hanover.My name is Sylvia Harvey.

Rhonda said...

the grand, great grand,and great great grand children of William Harvey still live in Harvey River and the environs of Lucea. there is also family living in Patty Hill Hanover.

Anonymous said...

My Name is Hugh Moore born in kingston on august 11 1941 while My Mother was on the tramcar going to the Lyiing hosptal that was located on North street opposite the KPH kingston publis Hospital Most of Kingston medical Facilities were Located in that part of the City , I grew up in the Greater Kingston Area living First in Allman Town then in Jones town At Nelson Street, and Love Street, And also at beresford Street,in 1952 we had a Hurricane Named Charley That Devastated the Island on August 17 1951 with aid from overseas the Island started to rebuild , we started to say goodbye to reddifusion our cheif Media and the Public service company started to put in New electrcal lines, there were no Telephones and Comunication were by Telegram The Post Mistrisses were well Loved and were A prenium young Ladies could only dream of becomming Nurses, O How times Have Changed I now live in the United States.

KnowlesVideo said...

Just read your blog. I am 5th generation Bajan, my dad is bajan and mom, guyanese. Family, including self, parents and siblings lived in jamaica for almost 25 years, mid 50;s thro the early 70's. it was a magical time, living at Caymanas,, Dad, Bill Knowles was involved in racing in and as a youngster, I often went to the track with him, he was one of the handicappers and broadcasters. Was introduced to Aaron/Eli/Myer Matalon at the races. Jack Ashenheim was of my fathers good friends. Dad has since passed, but Mom now lives in Barbados, close to my sister. As a very young child, remember going to school, at Miss Butlers' school close to halfway tree rd!! Thanks for your blog. Hope you dont mind the posting.
Robert Knowles, Milford, PA, USA

Dorothy Kew said...

Hi Robert:
Thanks for your comment. So interesting to hear from someone else with Jamaican memories! I didn't myself attend Miss Butler's prep school but I certainly knew of it.

Arras Memorial

Arras Memorial

Trooper Victor Dey Smedmore

Trooper Victor Dey Smedmore
My uncle Victor