KINGSTON PAST: Rockfort Gardens

1904-5    |    1906    |    1907    |    1908    |    1909    |    1910


1901 - 1910

The first decade of the 20th century was truly the classic period
of Rockfort Gardens as an entertainment venue. During those
ten years a wide variety of shows and events were put on there,
and various facilities were installed. Unfortunately pictures of
the Gardens are rare, or non-existent; certainly I have not yet
found any, but if or when I do find one I shall put it on this site.

Daily Gleaner, February 19 1901

This entertainment including  acrobat,
juggler, magic lantern and band was a mere foretaste of many similar entertainments to come!


In the early days of Rockfort Gardens it seems to have been mainly an additional venue for traditional functions such as garden parties, fetes and concerts.

Daily Gleaner, February 22, 1901

We remind the public of the limelight views of Queen Victoria's reign to be shown by Mr Campbell at Rockfort Gardens this evening.

Daily Gleaner, October 9, 1901

Daily Gleaner, December 10, 1901
Daily Gleaner, November 23, 1901

Daily Gleaner
, December 12, 1901

Entries for the athletic sports in connection
with the garden party to be held at Rockfort Gardens on the 26th and 27th inst. will be closed on Saturday next, the 14th inst.

                                              Daily Gleaner, December 23, 1901

There seems to have been little going on at Rockfort Gardens in 1902; in July however there were events there as part of the celebrations of the coronation of Edward VII -

Daily Gleaner, July 9, 1902

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights Rock Fort Gardens will be brilliantly illuminated and sixpence will be charged,  a refreshments bar will be on the grounds and the band of the K. I. M. will be in attendance on Friday night.

On Saturday night, the Gardens will be thrown open to the public free of charge. The flotilla will start from the Garden on Friday night, and a beautiful view of the procession can be obtained from this point.

   Daily Gleaner, July 19, 1902
   The promenade concert at Rockfort Gardens on Thursday night was well    
   attended and
proved a success. With the illuminations, fireworks, and the  
   music of
the W. I. R. band an enjoyable time was spent.


In 1903 also there was little mention of activities at Rockfort Gardens; the only event noted was a 'Barbecue' in the summer in aid of the building fund of a proposed new Roman Catholic church. A Gleaner columnist, 'The Critic', was interested enough to write a mildly amusing article about the barbecue.

                                                    Daily Gleaner, July 2,  1903
                            Daily Gleaner
, July 29,  1903



The garden party and Barbecue which commences

at Rockfort Gardens this afternoon promises to be

one of the most interesting entertainments of the

season. All the arrangements have been made. A

band of music will be in attendance; the grounds

have been beautifully Iaid out, and the goods in the

prettily arranged stalls have been marked at very low

prices. At 8.00 p.m., the drawing for the "Barbecue" will take place. The winner must be on the grounds

and will have the right of inviting twenty friends to

a sumptuous supper which will include a roast pig. Mr. C. Clare Kelly will preside at the supper. Another

novel feature of the proceedings will be the voting for

the most popular lady in Kingston. A fee of 3d will be

charged for the right to vote, and no name will be put

down if the lady objects to be voted for. The voting will commence this evening, but it will not close until

next Wednesday (August 5th) when the Barbecue will

be continued. The prize consisting of a beautiful set of essence, will be given to the lady who gets the most

votes. Extra cars will run from 3 p.m. to-day. Special

cars will take people round the Avenue belt from

9.15 p.m., and to Cross Roads from 9.30 p.m. This will

be in addition to the ordinary car service , and the

cars will run until all the people have left the Gardens.

                                           Daily Gleaner, August 5, 1903
                                                   [I don't know what those gasoline lamps were.]

An interesting topic was however discussed in 1903 -

                               Daily Gleaner, June 6, 1903 


Mr. G. A. Hurcomb gave notice at meeting of the city Council yesterday that at the next

meeting of the Council he would move for the

appointment of a select Committee to enquire

into and report upon the feasibility of acquiring

the shore of the harbour situated between

Paradise street and the Main Road at Rockfort

Gardens for the purpose of making a public

road and promenade along the shore of the harbour to be enjoyed by the inhabitants of

this City forever.

Daily Gleaner, June 20, 1903

               Proposal for Seaside Promenade.

                   DECISION OF THE COUNCIL

         Mr. Hurcomb's motion for the appoint-
         ment of a Select Committee to enquire
         into and report upon the feasibility of
         acquiring the foreshore of the harbour
         between Paradise street and the main
         road at Rock fort gardens for the purpose
         of making a public road and promenade
         to be enjoyed by the inhabitants of this
         city, was taken up at the meeting of the
         City Council yesterday. In moving the
         resolution Mr Huromb said it was most
         desirable to have the road. They lived on
         the shores of one of the largest and most
         beautiful harbours in the world - a fact
         which was known by every English
         schoolboy, but which apparently was not
         so well known here; for in spite of that
         fact they had no opportunities of seeing
         its beauties. At other places where there
         was a sea frontage the most was made of
         it. The Neapolitans said "See Naples and
         die." But he believed the harbour here
         was more beautiful than that of Naples
         and was unsurpassed in the world. If a
         committee were appointed they would
         have to find out whether the Government
         would give the strip of land at the Lunatic
         Asylum, as at present the lunatics had
         the best site of the harbour, a privilege
         which he was doubtful If they could enjoy.
         Next they would have to find out if the
         landowners would be willing to give up
         their land along the foreshore for the
         purpose. He unhesitatingly asserted that
         it was to the advantage of th$ landowners
         to give the land for nothing. The land was
         not worth very much now and its price
         would increase immensely if the road was
         built. Nature had been kind to us out here
         and had done everything, whereas in other
         places immense sums of money had to be
         spent to do what nature did for us. The
         cost of making of the road if the land was
         obtained would be a mere trifle, and if
         planted along with trees it would indeed
         be a boon to the citizens.
         Mr. Baquie warmly supported the motion.
         The resolution was adopted and a select
         committee consisting of Messrs Hurcomb,
         Astley Smith, R. A. Alexander, T. M. Burke,
         C. W. Tait and the Mayor were appointed
         to deal with the proposal.

But, of course, nothing was done then or later to

implement this proposal. It was only as recently

as September 23, 2002, that  the Prime Minister,

P . J. Patterson, opened the Michael Manley

Boulevard as such a foreshore road, but chiefly

as a speedier route to the airport, rather than as

a promenade to allow Kingstonians to view the


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