This is the first post of a sequence of posts I’ll do on Prospect Plantation in St Ann, Jamaica. I have to split it up because there’s just SO much to say about the entire plantation! It’s spectacular and boasts so much history. So first, I’ll write about the plantation great house which was built in the 1800’s and is set high up in the hills overlooking the Caribbean sea.
Prospect Plantation had three owners before Sir Harold Mitchell bought it in 1936. The tour guide who does the entire plantation tour has so much information on the history of this place as you go through the 1.5 hour journey. The part of the tour that covers the great house is on foot. You get to walk around the front and back yards, through the house and all through the huge garden behind the house.
“Sir Harold’s View” is the official name of what you see from the back veranda of the house. A fantastic, unobstructed view of the Caribbean sea. They say on a clear day you can actually see Cuba, which is 90 miles away, from this lookout point.
The yard behind the house is amazing, full of lush gardens and exotic plants and flowers and this beautiful pool. Wouldn’t you love to wake up to this every morning?
No one actually lives in the house but since Sir Harold Mitchell’s passing in 1983 the house was passed down to his son-in-law and grandchildren. If I remember correctly the tour guide said they reside in Spain but come to Jamaica occasionally and stay at the great house. They supposedly hold great parties up here in the yard!
The tour includes the main floor of the house which is full of old antiques, artifacts, family photos, etc. There is a walkway roped off for guests to walk through the house, similar to a museum. Prominent visitors to the plantation include Sir Winston Churchill, former Jamaican prime minister P.J. Patterson, and several Canadian prime ministers. In 1953, Sir Winston Churchill planted a mahogany tree in front of the Great House.
One of the most interesting things I learned about Sir Mitchell was that he started a boys school right on the plantation. I recall the guide saying there are 30 boys from all over the island attending this school for 3 years absolutely free. There is an entrance exam and the top 30 scores island wide, get their high school education paid for by the Mitchell family. The school is semi-military and most graduates move on to either the police academy or the Jamaican military. Others can choose to stay on the plantation after graduating, to work and help run it. I thought this was an awesome way the Mitchell family gives back to the country.
Stay tuned for upcoming posts on the rest of the plantation. Like I said, it had to be split into several different posts because there’s just so much to cover! So stay tuned.