KINGSTON PAST: Rockfort Gardens

Where was the Brighton Beach Hotel at Rockfort ?

This piece in 1914 indicates the original importance of the springs where Brighton Beach later developed.

Daily Gleaner
, May 15, 1914
[from an editorial]

At the southern end of the Long Mountain, between what used ro be known as Brighton Beach and Rockfort quarry – the scene of the labours of large numbers of able-bodied convicts – there gush out from the base of the hill two or three springs of beautiful, crystalline, wholesome water, forming a stream which meanders for a short distance over the strip of level land that lies to the south of the mountain, before emptying itself in the Harbour. In close proximity to the mouth of the stream, there is an old jetty belonging to the British Admiralty. At that, jetty, a water hulk used to be filled daily (by means of pipes running right up to the springs) in order to give the garrison and residents of Port Royal a water supply. To-day, the ancient seaport and naval station at the western end of the Palisadoes is still supplied with water from the hillside springs at Rockfort; but the "modus operandi" of conveying it to Port Royal is different.The water, as it gushes out of the rocks, is pumped to a reservoir higher up the side of the mountain; and thence it is conveyed, by the force of gravitation, through a conduit or main that has been laid right along the Palisadoes. Of course, only a little of the water which is poured forth by the spring is needed to supply the wants of the military and civilian residents of Port Royal.

The rest finds its way down the bed of the stream to which we have referred, or spreads itself over the level land through which that stream flows somewhat sluggishly. In short, it produces, on the level, a swamp that is a perpetual menace to the health of the people of Kingston. Thus, the very water that ministers to the vitality of the few residents of Port Royal is responsible for much of the sickness - and particularly the malarial fever - with which the inhabitants of this city are afflicted. In all his annual reports on the health of Kingston, Dr. McDonald has called ed the. attention of the Mayor and Council seriously to the continued existence of the Rockfort, or Brighton Beach swamp - if we mistake not, the late Governor of the colony, Sir Sydney Olivier used to refer to it as "that precious Admiralty swamp" - and to the urgent necessity of having it drained or filled up, if the health conditions of the municipality are ever to be placed on a satisfactory footing. His last report - the one which we commented on a few days ago - is no exception to the general rule; for in the synopsis of that document which appeared in the news columns of the "Gleaner," we read: "The Health Officer complains that the Rock Spring swamp, on the east, still exists, the reclamation of which the Mayor and Council and the local Government have not succeeded, up to date, in enforcing. The swamp, is a permanent breeding habitat of anopheline mosquitos, and unfortunately is capable of infecting the whole parish" (of Kingston).

Perhaps the gateway on the left beyond the fording was
the entrance to the property where the the Hotel and
Cottage were located. These two buildings may be the two
indicated on the map below at the top of a driveway from
the road.

The story of the Brighton Beach Hotel can be seen in outline
in advertisements in the

         Daily Gleaner, November 8, 1892
Daily Gleaner, December 29, 1892

Daily Gleaner, July 28, 1894

Mr. W B. Lee, Solicitor, is at present acting

as organist of St. Luke's Church, Crossroads.

Miss M Belgrave, the organist of the church

has entered during the week into marital ties,

having been married on Wednesday to Mr A.

B. Shirley of the Inspector of Schools office.

The ceremony which was witnessed by a large

number of persons, was performed by the Revd.H. S. Isaacs assisted by the Rev. Linton.

The happy couple spend the honeymoon

at Brighton Beach. Miss Belgrave is the

daughter of the late school master at Camp.

Daily Gleaner, April 28, 1900
Daily Gleaner, January 19, 1903
Daily Gleaner, January 26, 1903
                                                            Daily Gleaner, May 16, 1903

So far I have found no further specific references to the
hotel and
cottage at Brighton Beach; possibly they were
damaged in
the earthquake of January 14, 1907.