Fort Charlotte, Hanover

Last weekend I had the immense privilege of visiting and staying in Hanover, Jamaica’s second smallest parish, on the northwestern coast of the island. Hanover was the last of Jamaica’s fourteen parishes for me to visit and I accomplished that feat last August with a stay at the Grand Palladium Hotel. However, I didn’t explore the parish otherwise so it was exciting to be back less than a year later. I knew I had to check out Fort Charlotte in Lucea because I love exploring historical gems. One thing about forts is that they always command an amazing view of the harbour since they were strategically built to defend the nation’s waters.


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The History of Fort Charlotte

Fort Charlotte was built in 1761 by the British to defend the northwestern coast of Jamaica. Fort Charlotte was built during the reign of King George III of England, and is named after his consort, Charlotte. The fort was built with a barrack capable of housing 50 men and had 23 embrasures for 23 guns, 20 of which were mounted. Today, only three of those guns remain. During the Napoleonic Wars it was thought that the guns at the fort were not enough to guard the harbour, so in 1807, three 24 pounders on traversing carriages were installed on the seaward side of the fort. (Source: Jamaica National Heritage Trust)

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The fort is built of rectangular cut stone and has several openings toward the sea. Inside the fort is the remains of the circular base for the rotation of guns which were placed there so that they could shoot from every possible angle. The Artillery Store still stands and is made of cut stone. The remaining section of the fort currently forms part of the Rusea’s High School. (Source: Jamaica National Heritage Trust)

The view of the harbour definitely didn’t disappoint, neither did the cool crisp refreshing sea breeze. However, what disappointed me was seeing yet another historical site which holds so much potential in ruins, much like Columbus Park in St. Ann. A quick Google search turned up a dozen articles written across a decade on proposed renovation exercises of the fort which are aimed at uplifting Lucea and attracting foreign dollars to a town which lies midway between Montego Bay and Negril, two of Jamaica’s most popular tourist destinations. All sorts of lofty plans were outlined such as renovating the old buildings, demolishing the rickety structurally unsafe ones, creating restrooms, a ticket booth, parking lot, guard rails, craft shops, restaurants and seats but the closest the government has come to doing any of this is perhaps just demolishing buildings. The Jamaican government sure loves making empty promises.

Taken from the Gleaner (2016)

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Getting To Fort Charlotte

The fort is very easy to find. Centrally located in Lucea, Fort Charlotte is located on a right turn from the main road (A1) called Fort Charlotte Drive. The Noel Holmes Hospital is also located on this road, and you’ll see signs for both confirming that you’re on the right track. There was a sign at the entrance to the fort on the Sunday I went saying that the fort is closed for renovations but the gate was wide open and welcoming so we drove right through. Park somewhere convenient, snap some photos and take a look around. We were joined by a small family while there, so it seems other people like visiting these historical gems too. There’s no admission fee, but perhaps one day in the future if the government finally executes its renovation exercises for the fort, they may introduce a nominal fee.

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Wrap Up

I hope you enjoyed learning about another local gem today. Look out for more posts as I recap my Hanover staycation over the next few weeks.

Written by Rochelle Knight

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Rochelle | Adventuresfromelle

Adventures from Elle is a blog for locals & visitors who want to experience the best of Jamaica, one adventure at a time. Also a budget travel blog, Adventures from Elle is written by Rochelle Knight, a junior doctor who began this blog as a student & wants to see the world, starting with her own country. She frequents off-the-beaten-path waterfalls, beaches and places with interesting history. Join her in Jamaica!

12 thoughts on “Fort Charlotte, Hanover

  1. What a lovely piece of history that seldom gets discussed in school textbooks! The fort still looks like it’s holding up quite well, and the views of the deep blue from it certainly don’t hurt. I appreciate you introducing us to a part of your home country’s history, and it was definitely an educational trip for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always thought this was a jewel of a site to be preserved as best as what remains can be preserved and presented as a Heritage site with enough space for a Restaurant, craft shops and a great entertainment venue for small events.The major problem is that too many players got involved between local government, NLA who leased the site at the time and JNHT. The only way for us to develop sites like these is via Public/Private Partnerships where the Public Sector retains ownership and oversight via the JNHT regarding what is done with the site but private interests lease the property and invest in its restoration and sustainable development. GOJ needs to wake up to these types of partnerships but the level of transparency and openness has got to meet international standards and corruption and cronyism kept out of the picture. Do we have enough trust in our government to ever see this happen or will it be one of the jewels leased to a trusted supporter for a “money under the table” This remains to be seen.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’re quite right. I agree with you. Fort Charlotte is definitely a jewel to preserve, and the government seems yet to have recognized the importance of public-private partnerships in restoring these gems and turning them into world class destinations. Hopefully one day our country can wake up and realize the true potential of these gems. I hope corruption won’t rear its ugly head as it so often does in the negotiations.

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    2. I agree with you both, Rochelle and Robert. The magnificent views that these old ports hold would undoubtedly attract visitors, especially Fort Charlotte because of its strategic location between Negril and Montego Bay. Every guest who flies into Montego would have to pass this gem en-route to Negril so it would be another attraction for these visitors to have awe-inspiring views of our beautiful little island. Thank you for opening our eyes to another beautiful and historic site on this majestic coastline. People should really stop sleeping on Hanover.

      Liked by 1 person

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