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Kings House Jamaica
The History, Untold Stories & More 

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Kings House JamaicaKings House Jamaica | Photo: KingsHouse.gov.jm

Located at Hope Road in the parish of St. Andrew, King’s House is the official residence of Jamaica’s head of state, the governor-general. 

King’s House became the residence of the BRITISH governor when the seat of government was moved from Spanish Town to Kingston in 1872 and remained so until Independence in 1962.


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Originally 69 ha of Somerset Pen were acquired, including Bishop’s Lodge, formerly the residence of the Anglican Bishop of Jamaica. A dining room and ballroom were then added to the original building that dated from the 18th century.

It was however wrecked in the earthquake of 1907 and rebuilt in 1909 from designs by Sir Charles Nicholson.

But what preceded this building? 

Let's take a quick look at....

The Old Kings House In Spanish Town, St. Catherine

Only the portico and facade of this impressive building can be seen today, facing the Spanish Town Square, the former governor’s residence was burnt down in 1925. A museum has been established in the former stables. This is one of the few residential sites of the post-Columbian world with over 450 years of continuous occupation.

The original building was the Spanish Hall of Audience to which successive British governors made changes and additions. In 1761 this building was demolished and the following year construction of a residence for the governor was begun though the entire complex was not completed until 1802.

The residence of the governor in Spanish Town (and at various times, Port Royal) was traditionally called KING’S HOUSE and this King’s House remained the governors’ residence until 1872 when the capital was transferred to KINGSTON.

After that, the building was for one year the home of Queen's College, Jamaica’s first university. 

The facade of this old King’s House was about 61m long. It was built of freestone from the Hope River, with columns of Portland stone, and a pavement of white marble that came out as ballast on ships.

A ballroom ran the length of the building and was the centre of social life in colonial times. Among the items of furniture were 13 mahogany settees, 24 mahogany Windsor chairs, 60 plain mahogany chairs with fan backs and leather bottoms and 14 large bronze busts.

In 1803 the government provided 33 slaves at King’s House, but the governor of the day asked the Assembly for 10 more. 

The portico of King’s House, and the Square itself, have provided the setting for many significant events in Jamaica’s history.

  • It was from these steps that the proclamation of the abolition of slavery was read, to a vast crowd assembled, 
  • Here governor Edward Eyre delivered his final address suspending the constitution of Jamaica following the Morant Bay Rebellion, also
  • In this square the pirate Calico Jack (Jack Rackham) was brought for trial and the Maroon s brought the mutilated head of three finger jack to collect their reward!
  • The notorious Hutchinson, the ‘Mad Doctor’ of EDINBURGH CASTLE was also tried at the courthouse and hanged at the Square. 

An interesting account of life inside King’s House can be found in the journal of Lady Nugent who was the wife of Sir George Nugent who was governor from 1801-5.  [Black 1974, Cunda“ 1915, Nugent 1839]

Be sure to read more on the colonial history of Jamaica here.

Kings House Jamaica Today

Today, the 'new' King's House on Hope Road in Kingston stands host/ venue for state and ceremonial functions in Jamaica, including the swearing in of Government Ministers. Judges of the High Court and national awards for deserving citizens on National Heroes Day.

Kings House is also home for visiting heads of state and royalties from other countries.

It's  beautiful gardens are also sought after attraction to visitors.

They have an efficiently maintained website that, in addition to current news and information from the governor general's office, also provides information on:

  • Protocols relating to the governor general
  • The governor general speeches
  • As well as importing notices

Here is the link to their website: https://kingshouse.gov.jm/

By the way, would you be interested to know who the governors who resided here are?

And I'm speaking specifically about the ones since independent Jamaica (since 1962).

Great! Here they are...

Governor Generals Of Independent Jamaica

...in descending order:

  • Sir Patrick Allen 2009 – Present
  • Professor Kenneth Hall 2006 – 2009
  • Sir Howard Cooke 1991 – 2006
  • Sir Florizel Glasspole 1973 – 1991
  • Sir Clifford Campbell 1962 – 1973 (First Native Governor General)
  • Sir Kenneth Blackburne 1957 – 1962

Contact Information For Kings House Jamaica

And how do you get here? What are the contact information?

Here below, is the address, phone number, email address and website information.

The Office Of The Governor General

King’s House, Hope Road,
Kingston 6, Jamaica West Indies
Phone : 876-927-6424
Fax: 876-927-4561 

Website: https://kingshouse.gov.jm
E-mail: kingshouse@kingshouse.gov.jm

Map & Directions To Kings House Jamaica

Here is a Google map, which includes directions to Kings House

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References:

  • Andrea Campbell, Jamaican Proverbs, People and Places
  • Clinton Black, History Of Jamaica
  • "King's House, Jamaica", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King%27s_House,_Jamaica
  • Olive Senior,  Excylcopedia Of Jamaican Heritage
  • "History of King’s House", https://kingshouse.gov.jm/history-of-kings-house/

Other Pages Related To Kings House Jamaica

Return to Famous Places In Jamaica from Kings House Jamaica
Return to My Island Jamaica from Kings House Jamaica

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