Jamaica (1873–1876)

  • Peter Morton


The passage to the West Indies in the 1870s took about twenty days. In a typical voyage, after boarding at Southampton, one left behind the Wolf Rock lighthouse on the Scillies—the last sight of Britain and, indeed, of any land worth mentioning. Then one spent the next four miserable days tossing on the Bay of Biscay and another two weeks or so crossing the Atlantic deeps in the company of a cow, some sheep, and a small poultry-yard; a menagerie whose initial racket diminished steadily as the voyage went on. There was plenty to eat, hot water to wash with, but only cold seawater baths. Unless marred by a hurricane, the trip was safe, comfortable, and monotonous, the featureless days broken only by meals, watching petrels and flying fish, and the sweepstake on the ship’s daily run.


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  1. 3.
    Anthony Trollope, The West Indies and the Spanish Main, 4th ed.; rpt. Dawsons, 1968, 14.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Sir Sibbald David Scott, To Jamaica and Back, Chapman & Hall, 1876, 76.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    There are some further details about the political context of the foundation of the College in Lloyd Braithwaite, “The Development of Higher Education in the British West Indies,” Social and Economic Studies [West Indies], 7:1 (March 1958), 1–64, but little about GA’s tenure there.Google Scholar
  4. 19.
    GA, “The Great Tropical Fallacy,” Belgravia, 35 (June 1878), 413–425. This is one of several pieces about life in Jamaica that Allen wrote for the Belgravia soon after his return to England.Google Scholar
  5. 20.
    GA, “Among the Blue Mountains,” Belgravia, 39 (July—October 1879), 355, 357.Google Scholar
  6. 21.
    GA, “The Epicure in Jamaica,” Belgravia, 44 (May 1881), 285–299; signed J. Arbuthnot Wilson.Google Scholar
  7. 30.
    Lord Oliver, Jamaica, the Blessed Isle, Faber, 1936, 206.Google Scholar

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© Peter Morton 2005

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  • Peter Morton

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