Prince’s Lodge is a beautiful colonial house belonging to, English born St Helena historian, Robin Castell (who actually resides in South Africa), who, in addition to numerous other books on St Helena, publishes albums of photographs illustrating the history, geography and sociology of Saint Helena.
The Lodge is home to the Castell Collection which claims to be is the world’s largest collection of images and maps of St Helena. Your level of interest in the islands pictorial history will determine how long you spend pursuing this excellent collection. Whether you spend 15 minutes or hours here it will be time well spent.
I had actually become acquainted with Castell’s excellent works on board the RMS St Helena en route to St Helena. Mr Castell is no fan of Napoleon whom he regularly refers to as “the tyrant” or the “infamous prisoner” with comments like: ” The end of Bonaparte’s lust for world domination signalled the reinstatement of peace and freedom for all nations. It was just a pity that it took the incarceration of such a notorious criminal to popularise the island”. I agree, but were it not for Napoleon St Helena would, today be a very different place – for better or for worse – who can say.
Basil George OBE, the Lodge’s curator is an absolute goldmine of information on not only the collection but on all things St Helenian – do take time to have a chat with him and also enjoy his wry sense of humour. Basil also offers various island tours for those interested. While I didn’t do a tour with him I imagine they would be good given his knowledge of the island. Basil was also a Founder Member of the local Heritage Society.
The collection is open most days but only by appointment – check with the Tourist Office in Jamestown. Admission is GBP 1 and some of Castell’s publications are available for purchase.
This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries on my trip to St Helena. I suggest you continue with my next entry – Jamestown Market – or to start the loop at the beginning go to my St Helena Introduction entry.