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October 25, 2013

Historical Notes St Vincent and the Grenadines

The 1898 Hurricane (The Sentry newspaper)

“…On Sunday morning the 11th instant the most terrible hurricane that has perhaps ever occurred in the West Indies wrought full destruction on the island of St.Vincent and reduced the colony to an almost indescribable state of pauperism. The hurricane lasted six hours with an interval of fifty five minutes during which the barometer remained steady at 28.{{more}} 509, keeping the awe stricken population in a suspense as frightful as the fury of the storm; and whilst the trembling bewildered populace who had escaped death or serious injury during the first attack of angry winds wandered to and fro seeking what they deemed the safest shelter, the seas arose still more dreadfully and the storm-clouds burst with a vehemence that gave to each individual one common thought; that this was the last of St.Vincent and its 40,000 inhabitants…(The Sentry, September 23, 1898)

…It is for the good of the whole country that Kingstown has not suffered more. For in that case a lot of people of the country would have been more lamentable. The Public Offices and the stores, with three exceptions, being saved, and as the best dwelling houses remain, Kingstown is fortunately in a position to relieve thousands of the labouring class of the country…

The Bay Street has suffered greatly. In the lower portion very few houses have escaped partial or complete destruction. But the most heart rending spectacle in Kingstown is in Rose Place at the north western end of the town. Here the ruins lay in heaps- Not more than five damaged houses remaining in the whole block between Queen Street to the Cemetery, (and) from Bay Street to Back Street. The Rest house at the Cemetery is shattered…Victoria Park has been almost perfectly stripped of the best trees and some houses there have been damaged…Paul’s Lot is another centre of distress. The majority of houses there has been reduced to wrecks and ruins- the debris hardly good for anything else but firewood. The damage to the upper part of the town is not so great; but on Sion Hill the hurricane left convincing proof of the destructive force. The store buildings of T. Lawlor and Co. and G.H Corea and Co. have been demolished. The former firm has removed their damaged goods to Lots 17 and so Middle Street and the latter has reopened a business at Lot 71 Middle Street: The roof of Messrs R.K Biddy and Co broke in and all Mr Biddy’s household furniture which was kept in the upper floor of the building has been destroyed. The firm has lost a quantity of goods also owing to the store being flooded. (The Sentry, September 30, 1898)