St Helena : SHG Supports the Preservation of Heritage Sites
Submitted by Saint Helena Herald (Juanita Brock) 31.10.2002 (Article Archived on 14.11.2002)
Money has been allocated to help preserve various heritage sites around St. Helena.
£15,000 has been allocated for preserving a number of heritage sites around the Island. Pamela Young, Director of Tourism said that this is the first time that the Tourist Office has had money in its budget for this purpose. She added: "some of our heritage sights are in definite need of restoration."
A working group has been established to look at which areas should be worked on. This group consists of the Chairman of the St Helena Heritage Society, Councillor Cathy Hopkins, the Employment, Benefits and Administration Officer of the Social Security Department, and the Director of Tourism of the Office of the Chief Secretary. It has been decided that the areas to be addressed will have to be easily accessible so that the majority of the people will be able to benefit from them.
A number of areas will be worked on, and works in some places have already commenced. The areas selected include:
Ladder Hill Complex
The main gates entering into the Ladder Hill Complex will be restored and the gate jams repainted. There are also two battle guns near the tennis court that will be restored, as they are the only two of their kind on the Island. Pamela said that they are hoping to turn the area into a visitor attraction sight.
High Knoll Fort
Pamela feels that the Public Works and Services Department "has done an excellent job" replacing the retainer wall at High Knoll Fort and since the Fort is the only one of its kind it is important that we preserve it. It is also planned to have the railings replaced, the tower re-plastered and any other immediate repair work within the grounds. The last section of road outside of the fort is also be addressed.
Halley’s Mount Observatory
The Halley’s Mount Observatory has become a ruin that is barely visible today. Whilst it is not the intention at this stage to reconstruct this building, it will be rebuilt to about two feet high so that visitors to the site can see where it was located. Pamela said that there appears to have been two rooms to the observatory but the foundations of one of these rooms has virtually disappeared.
Sandy Bay Beach Project
This is a project on its own, but the Tourist Office, with funds provided from the UNDP Tourism project, is involved in protecting what is the last complete fortification wall on the Island. At present the wall is in danger of being destroyed by the sea so large boulders will be used to protect it.
The Beach Hill Battery has almost deteriorated and work is required on the limekiln, which is believed to be the last of two remaining on the Island, so restoration and preservation work will also take place on this.
Samson’s and Saddle Battery
Whilst the batteries themselves have been repaired, the road leading to these places is in need of repair. The Tourist Office will invest money into the necessary repair work so that visitors to the batteries can enjoy the heritage and spectacular views of Jamestown and Ruperts.
Information boards will be placed at all of the sites. These boards will contain information of historical and general interest.
Public Works and Services Department have been involved with the costing. Most of the work however will be undertaken by members of the private sector, although Community Workers will also be engaged to clear paths.
Pamela is hopeful that more money will be awarded next year to enable further restoration work to take place. She said: "I like the idea, and I think it is long overdue. We need to preserve our heritage sites for our grand children and great grandchildren." She said that projects undertaken by the Tourist Office will not only be of benefit to the tourists, but also to the people of the Island. There are many areas where restoration work is needed and it is hoped that members of the public will put forward suggestions for the future.
Public Relations/Information Office
Office of the Chief Secretary
30 October 2002