By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises
Antigua, located on the major sailing route from Europe to the West Indies, was considered Britain’s “Gateway to the Caribbean.”
And it was for that reason in the late 18th century the Admiralty decided to beef up its resources on the island.
Young Horatio Nelson, later to become Britain’s most celebrated naval hero, was sent in 1784 to oversee the dockyards at English Harbour and enforce The Navigation Acts which dealt with commercial shipping.
Nelson did not much like Antigua, calling it a “vile place” and a “dreadful hole.” He spent most of his time in the cramped quarters of his ship, H.M.S. Boreas, during his stay from 1784 to 1787.
Serving under Nelson at the time was Prince William Henry, later to be King William IV of England; he had much nicer accommodations on shore, Clarence House.
We were here most recently on February 10, and I invite you read that blog for more details of the sugar mill history of Antigua.
The dockyard was originally called “His Majesty’s Antigua Naval Yard.” Boats coming in for repairs sailed into the boat house, and their sails were hoisted up to the loft through a trapdoor.
The old Boat House and Sail Loft was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1843 and then by a hurricane in 1871. All that remains are the massive boat house pillars.
The Naval Officers House was put up in 1855. It has a small set of exhibits including some artifacts of the shipyard and some of the vessels and men who visited.
Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.
SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS