Our Readers' Opinions
October 4, 2013

Historical Notes St Vincent and the Grenadines

Kingstown in the 1820s

Kingstown…is long and narrow. There are three long streets running parallel from one end of the town to the other. The bay street, built on the sea beach; the middle street, and the back street, which is the principal of the three; they all connect with each other by intermediate cross streets, which are seen all along the town, some three hundred yards apart.{{more}}

The back street is a level road of a tolerable width, and the only one that can boast of being in good order in that part of the island. The middle and cross streets are narrow and miserably paved, and it would be very purgatory to be obliged to walk therein in boots of a moderate thickness. The bay can hardly be called a street, for it is generally crowded with cargoes of lumber, pitch, pine, oak, staves, rum puncheons and other things of the sort that are piled up on the beach, before the stores of the merchants, who generally reside there, and consequently there is barely sufficient room for horse passengers. All the principal stores are in the bay and the chief commerce of the island is there carried on. The middle street contains but a few good stores, and those chiefly for dry goods; there are, however, a number of little shops for the sale of caps, ribbons and other articles of ladies’ dress which are generally kept by coloured people. Also retail rum shops in abundance are therein contained; therefore there are always a number of sailors in the middle street…

There are many hucksters’ stores in St. Vincent, kept by the wives or mistresses of masters of small vessels, such as sloops and schooners, which are in the habit of trading between the British islands, or of running occasionally to and from Martinique, where they have an opportunity of procuring French sweetmeats and preserves,..

The back street…There are few stores in it, and the houses are chiefly the residences of those who are not engaged in commercial affairs; it has, however, a very considerable quantity of small huts…The street is moreover adorned with the residence of his Excellency, the Governor. The court house, the church, the Methodist chapel and the government house which… had become venerable from age…” (W.N Bayley, Four Years’ Residence in The West Indies)