Protecting the St. Kitts Sugar Factory
The Story of the St. Kitts Sugar Factory is in large part linked to the story of many a Kittitian family. Opened in 1912, the Factory became the epicenter of life in Basseterre, with the entire town operating by its horn
that blew at specific times, regulating the comings and goings of workers at the site. By 1926 the railway track that initially connected the factory only to the port, eventually surrounded the whole island, linking all the
sugar estates to the central sugar factory to which all the sugar cane was transported. Once manufactured on the individual Estates using technologies that had become inefficient, the St. Kitts Sugar Factory represented the newest advances in sugar manufacturing. It may be safe to say that the construction of the Sugar Factory in Basseterre saved the sugar industry on St. Kitts, an industry that had existed since the late 17th century and which began to experience serious decline during the 19th century.
In 2010, the St. Christopher National Trust took steps to preserve this historical land mark after learning that there were plans to demolish what is still a resonating symbol in the lives of so many. However, due to financial constraints and the fact that it was still in the process of resolving the management of the site, the Trust’s efforts came to a halt regarding its development. Although facing difficulties, the Trust understands the significance of restoring the Sugar Factory for historical preservation.
Not only would it be a boost in our Tourism industry and an exquisite addition to what we have to offer, but the refurbishment of the main structure with the intention of hosting a museum surrounded by a shopping centre thereby creating a hub for sightseeing, shopping and entertainment for locals and visitors. The restoration of the buildings on magnificent historical site for reuse will provide jobs for many persons just as it did then, plunging capital back into our communities while offering a realistic view of “King Sugar”.
The genius work of Andrew Love of the Mirrlees Watson Company Ltd out of Glasgow, Scotland and Frank Kortright cannot be allowed to simply rust away in vain nor should it be demolished for metal scraps. The life, sweat and tears of our ancestors needs to be entrusted to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis whose history was built in every twist of a screw and every metal bent to create the substance of life we call “Sugar City”.
“Games We Played Exhibit”
The St. Christopher National Trust and Museum presents “The Games We Played” Exhibition which opened on Monday 4th November 2019 and is due to close on Saturday 10th January 2020.
As one of the most interactive exhibits to be showcased at the National Museum, it steps inside centuries of fun
dating back to colonial days. Although games has evolved over the years, these games still hold sentimental value to those who grew up in the era of bat and ball and Mississippi, when recess “break time” was a time to sing and play outdoors.
Although competitive, most of these games were framed to ensure togetherness and comradery while preserving the history of our intangible culture . Games have played a significant role in building strong communities and keeping our people together, giving meaning to the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child”. Not only did they produce a close-knit mindset but kept us active both mentally and physically.
The epitome of creativity is what is showcased in every toy constructed, nursery rhyme sung and game played, from the play on words to the mechanics of the toys made, all in the name of FUN. Stop by for a heartwarming walk down memory lane and let the child in you peek out! Its “home time” all over again here at the St. Kitts National Museum.
Spooner’s Cotton Ginnery Museum to Open in 2020
After working tirelessly to preserve this historical land mark, the National Trust has now reached the last phase of the restoration work which is scheduled to be completed in February 2020. The machines have been cleaned and primed for preservation , the galvanized cladding is 80% complete, the asbestos roof removed and replaced and the wooden flooring in the stone structure rebuilt. We look forward to completion as we aim to provide a space for both locals and visitors to learn the history and culture of our industrial past.
The preservation of the Spooners Ginnery, will allow the Trust to showcase the history of the agroindustrial era on the island. The site has potential to engender enthusiasm and pride for residents of the community, while the Museum will be another tourist attraction to the Eastern side of St.Kitts.
With the restoration project nearing completion, the focus is on the establishment of the Cotton Ginnery Museum, an Interpretation Centre and Gift Shop. In order to develop this site as aviable self-sustaining entity, the Trust requires financial assistance to support this phase of the project. This can be done by making a donation to the Spooner’s Ginnery Museum Fund. All amounts are welcomed.
About the Spooner’s Cotton Ginnery
Located on the east of the Island in the parish of St. Mary’s, Spooner’s Estate was originally a sugar cane plantation that in 1901 was converted to the very first cotton ginnery on the island, owned by Sendall and Wade. Cotton wasn’t the only commodity being manufactured here. The ginnery also produced soap, animal feed, and cooking oil. After 69 years of being fully operational the ginnery closed its doors in 1970. In 2001, the Heritage Society started the ground work to make this site blossom in its full glory as an aged treasure.