The reconstruction of the replica of the Blenheim house in which national hero Sir Alexander was born and spent his childhood is now complete. The Jamaica National Heritage Trust which has the mandate for the restoration and preservation of the heritage site, says the finishing touches are now being applied, in preparation for the official opening later this month. Visitors to Blenheim will be able to see some of the national hero’s personal items including his shoes, suitcase, glasses and water goblet and watch a short video on his life.
In addition to the exhibition mounted inside the three-room, wooden, thatch roofed house, the JNHT has erected large boards with various quotations of Bustamante on the grounds, creating the atmosphere of a reflection park. In addition there will be a kitchen garden with plants used for medicine and cooking in that region, and an exhibition of cooking utensils of the period.
The Blenheim location will be officially recommissioned on February 24, the 123rd anniversary of Bustamante’s birth. The reopening of the site will be part of a major civic ceremony being staged by the Hanover Parish Council, the Jamaica Cultural development Commission and the JNHT. Several of Jamaica’s key political representatives have already confirmed their participation.
The house at Blenheim, in the hills of Hanover was destroyed by fire twice and has been rebuilt with finances from the Chase Fund. According to Director of Estate and Business Development at the JNHT, Gavern Tate, several steps have been taken to protect and preserve the site. These include the increasing of the water capacity and the installation of a fire hose. He noted that while some adjustments have been made, these will not detract from the historical integrity of the house, as the reconstruction is being executed from the original building plans. The charred remains of at least one of the original columns, will still be visible through the floor of the house.
While putting its finishing touches on Blenheim, the JNT is also revisiting the execution of the monument for former prime minister, Hugh Shearer. The entries received for the competition to design the Shearer monument, failed to meet stipulated guidelines and at the time the JNHT did not have the funds to relaunch the competition. The Shearer monument project is scheduled to be executed in the next financial year, with a launch planned for the first quarter.
For more information contact : Andrea Braham – 9221287 – 8 or Joan A. Hutchinson – 8246428
The Communications Division
Jamaica National Heritage Trust
Email : [email protected]