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.
Before we get into the article, are you already subscribed by email? If not, go ahead!
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)
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)
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.
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
Keep up with me on social media, and check out these quick links!
Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and watch my last video. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
‘Til next time!