Mandeville, Jamaica

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Panorama of Mandeville viewed looking North from Bloomfield Great House restaurant

Mandeville is the capital and largest town in the parish of Manchester in the county of Middlesex, Jamaica. In 2005, the town had an estimated population of 50,000, and including the immediate suburbs within a radius of 16 km (9.9 mi) the total population is about 72,000. It is located on an inland plateau at an altitude of 628 m (2061 feet), and is 103 km (64 mi) west of Kingston. It is the only parish capital of Jamaica not located on the coast or on a major river.

Mandeville has a town square, parish church and clock tower, and many large, elegant early nineteenth-century houses line the winding streets in the town centre. The grassy square is somewhat like a village green and Mandeville has been described as the most English town in Jamaica.

In the suburbs of the town many large houses have been built by returning residents from North America and the United Kingdom on an ad hoc basis. Developers have complemented these with large housing developments, some of which are constructed as gated communities. Prominent[citation needed] suburbs and surrounding areas include Ingleside, Battersea, Knockpatrick, Clover, Waltham, Bloomfield, Caledonia Meadows, Brumalia, Newport, Spur Tree, Kingsland, French Park, Swabys Hope, Lincoln, Greenvale and Marshalls Pen.[citation needed]

Mandeville is a major commercial centre, and is the location of Northern Caribbean University (formerly West Indies College), a Seventh-day Adventist institution of higher learning.

Mandeville is the chief town of Manchester parish, Jamaica's mountain resort the island's largest hill town and the fifth largest urban center.

History[edit]

The Courthouse, Mandeville (1820)

The town was laid out in 1816, and named after Viscount Mandeville, the eldest son of the Duke of Manchester, who was then governor of Jamaica.

Many of the original buildings can still be seen such as the courthouse, an impressive building of cut limestone with a horseshoe staircase and a raised portico supported by Doric columns and built in 1820. The oldest dwelling is the rectory beside the courthouse, also built in 1820.

Perth Road, Mandeville (2012)

Many of Jamaica's oldest businesses were started in Mandeville; the Mandeville Hotel, one of the oldest in the Caribbean, began operations in 1875. Its golf club, founded as the Manchester Golf Club in 1868, was the first golf course in the Caribbean. The first "free library" in Jamaica was established in 1938, and is the oldest Parish Library.

The growth of the town was given a substantial stimulus when the Alcan Bauxite Company in a joint venture with the Jamaican Government opened its Kirkvine works nearby at Williamsfield in 1957. It built houses at Mandeville for its then mostly expatriate staff. The relatively high wages lured many educated Jamaicans there. Subsequently the town has seen an influx of Jamaican residents returning from abroad.

Roxborough[edit]

The birthplace of Jamaican National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Norman Manley, founder of the People's National Party and Premier 1955-1962. The site is maintained by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust. The house was destroyed by fire, leaving only the barbecues used for drying pimento grains and a terraced garden. There is a stunning view over the plains of Clarendon. Manley's older cousin and future political rival Alexander Bustamante worked on the farm here for a short time before leaving for a life of adventure in Cuba, Spain and the U.S. In later years Manley remembered him as a skilled horseman.

Manley, a British trained barrister, was a brilliant advocate. A somewhat austere person, lacking the charisma of his cousin Busta, Norman Manley possessed an ironic sense of humour and in his younger days was an outstanding athlete. His sophistication and singleminded pursuit of political independence made him the hero of the emerging middle class. He married his English born cousin Edna, an artist in her own right. The couple lived at Drumblair (then a suburb of the city) and attracted a circle of Jamaican artists, writers and scholars. The Drumblair Set has had a profound impact on politics and art for almost three decades. Manley's younger son Michael graduated from Trade Union leader to succeed his father as President of the PNP and twice Prime Minister of Jamaica. An official function marking the national hero's birthday is held here every.[1]

Notable people[edit]

Events[edit]

Manchester Fiesta on August 8. South Manchester sweet potato festival held every year October 28. Passa Passa party held every Wednesday.

References[edit]

In Bob Marley's "Mr. Brown" the character is noted as being asked for "from Mandeville to Sligoville", which upsets the townspeople.

In Peter Tosh's version of "Johnny B. Goode", he sings about a hut on the top of a hill that is "Deep down in Jamaica close to Mandeville".

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 18°02′N 77°30′W / 18.033°N 77.500°W / 18.033; -77.500