Church Street

Church St is the most picturesque yet chaotic street in MoBay. Many of the most interesting buildings in town are clustered along it, from Jamaica's finest church to some grand 18th-century Georgian structures.

The highlight is St James Parish Church, regarded as the finest church on the island. It was built between 1775 and 1782 in the shape of a Greek cross, but was so damaged by the earthquake of March 1, 1957, that it had to be rebuilt.

The pretty Town House, fronted by a stately redbrick exterior, is buried under a cascade of bougainvillea and laburnum. The house dates from 1765, when it was the home of a wealthy merchant.

At the corner of Water Lane is a plantation-style octagonal structure that today houses a police station. About 50m west, at the corner of King St, is a redbrick Georgian building harboring the Community & Workers of Jamaica Credit Union. A more impressive structure is the three-story Georgian building at 25 Church St – headquarters of Cable & Wireless Jamaica.

Fort Montego’s Quiet Cannons

At the southern end of the Hip Strip a set of stairs leads (very) steeply up to a rough square of old rocks dubbed, somewhat ambitiously, Fort Montego – or the ruins of Fort Montego, complete with rusty cannons. A sign describes the nitty-gritty of the production of said armaments, while leaving out the depressing details: the cannons were only fired twice, and both times were a fiasco. The first shot, in celebration of the capture of Havana in 1762, was a misfire that killed an artilleryman. The second time the cannoneers screwed up and shot at one of their own ships, the Mercury, which was carrying a dangerous cargo of…dogs. Fortunately the cannon crews weren’t the best at their jobs (as you may have guessed by now) and missed the Mercury.