Kingston 1870

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Christmas in Kingston, 1870



The picture of the Victoria Market on Christmas Day shown above is of a very much later date than the events described below, but shows clearly the popularity of the Christmas Market. The Victoria Market was only completed and opened on May 24, 1872, so it is interesting that it was opened up to the public for Christmas 1870. The tradition of the Christmas Market was already well established by then, and was kept up well into the second half of the 20th century. Sadly the Victoria Market and Pier were destroyed in the process of 'developing' the waterfront in the 1960s when  -

'Casualties of the redevelopment process were the once famous Myrtle Bank Hotel, the picturesque finger piers jutting out from Port Royal Street, and historic Victoria Market, scene of traditional Sunday and Christmas markets for over a hundred years.' 

Tour Jamaica  by Margaret Morris

Colonial Standard, January 9, 1871, page 2


                    COLONIAL STANDARD OFFICE


               SATURDAY, January 7, 1871 -- 3 p.m. 


The holiday season has passed off very pleasantly. CHRISTMAS falling on Sunday was observed on the following day, Monday, when the Markets were held. The show of Beef was of the usual credita­ble character, and would have disgraced no country in the World, not even excepting England herself. The custom of visiting the Market on Christmas morning has gradually sprung up in this Country and may now be considered as a national one, the observance of which is most re­ligiously fulfilled. The attendance on the Monday morning was immense and comprised people of all classes in their holiday attire. The new Market in course of erection was cleared of the loose building materials about it, and thousands crowded under the immense roof to listen to the music of the City Band and pay their tribute of admiration and approval of the magnificent establishment.  Except in its height, which in the opinion of most persons de­tracts very much from its appearance, and will it is thought also occasion certain inconveniences, the building may be said to be truly a splendid one. We believe that nothing equal to it can be found anywhere else in the West Indies. The Grocers shops in Kingston were brilliantly illuminated on Christmas and New year’s Eve, and again on Twelfth Night, and we may say literally that all Kingston was in the Streets to witness the sight.  Most of the shops did a good stroke of business. We may say upon the whole that Christmas of 1870 was celebrated with “All Honors,” and we are glad to say that not the slightest accident occurred.










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