Kingston 1885

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Christmas in Kingston 1885

A Christmas almost completely ruined by cold, rainy weather!

                                               Flooding in Kingston, after heavy rains.



Colonial Standard,  December 26 1885, pages 2-3


Christmas 1885.


In the future, the record of Christmas 1885 must prove of a most exceptional character owing to the topsy-turvy state of the weather which has marked its advent. In the memory of the proverbial oldest inhabitant such heavy, continuous rain, as that which has fallen at the present season has never been experienced: nothing short of October Seasons at Christmas tide ! usually so bright, so cool and bracing. On Thursday evening [Christmas Eve] the rain fell in great abundance entirely putting a stop to those festivities and that enjoyment on which our citizens are wont to enter upon with so much zest and pleasure. Yester’ morning, however, although breaking at first in gloom, with the rising of the sun, gave promise of a change, which was subsequently fully realised, the day continuing fine, although very warm, telling of yet further rain, which recommenced at about 5 o’clock in the afternoon, continuing in heavy showers at intervals up to midnight; a heavy Norther setting in at nightfall.

Christmas, however, has its responsibilities, its legends, its innumerable evidences of parental affection and friendly greeting, its social festive obligations. Accordingly, once feeling assured that the day was likely to prove fine, it was astonishing to mark with how much celerity pater-familias with the young folk hastened to the usual place of rendezvous - the Victoria Market - and the several handsome and spacious stores in King Street, which were abundantly supplied with the good and exhilirating [sic] cheer so indicative of the coming and arrival of old Father Christmas. On all sides also did the sound of fife, trumpet &c., tell of the joy which shone from the happy faces of the many delighted children whose hearts had become gladdened by the favourable change in the weather, enabling them to come in for their accustomed share of the sweets and toys which Christ­mas ever brings for them. It was surpris­ing as we have already stated in view of the previous two days heavy rain and the lower­ing aspect of the morning, to see the number of persons of all conditions and classes, and of vehicles also, which crowded King streets. A good business we think must have been done by the several stores there situate - at least we hope so and we sin­cerely trust that there is yet time between this and New Year, or say Twelfth night, for our business men in general to drive a large and profitable trade - as some recompense for their previous disappointment.

Of the display of the usual good things in the Market we must confine ourselves to the excellence of the beef - which was really splendid - the palm being generally awarded to the stalls of Messrs. ISAAC LEVY & Co. The show of vegetables and fruit was necessarily very poor, the country people having been made to share in the disappoint­ment of our citizens at the exceptionably unpleasant weather by which Christmas has been rendered memorable. However, let the motto of one and all be nil desperandum and let them with renewed energies await the good time which assuredly will result to them, from the blessing the island at large will experience from the much needed and splendid rain.


This seems dangerous!


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             The unseasonable weather - and its effects.


Colonial Standard, January 6 1886, page 2


The proverbial oldest inhabitant has no recollection of such - for the tropics - extremely cold weather as that which prevailed on the 26th and 27th ultimo. In several instances we are assured by gentlemen residing in the country parishes who have repeatedly crossed the Atlantic on a visit to the mother country, that for the first time in their experience they had to don their winter clothing, whilst ladies and children shivered, feeling how acceptable would have been a cosy fire-side in their dwellings. Lacking this, many faut de mieux, were glad to resort to the kitchen fire for the purpose of getting warm. In Kingston, we ourselves saw several gentlemen, who although clad in woollen clothes, found that when walking out, a heavy over-coat was by no means too warm for them. It is a pity, however, that so exhilirating a state of the temperature is so rare and so fleeting here, for the cold weather with us lasted but two days, during which in different parts of the island the Thermometer varied from 37 to 56, whilst in usu­ally hot Kingston we had it as low as 64 - and in the lowlands of the contiguous par­ish of St. Andrew it fell to 61.


Colonial Standard,  December 28 1885


During the heavy “Norther’’ which prevailed on Saturday last two walls of buildings in the burnt district near Harbour and Orange Streets fell but happily no damage was done to life or property.

[The 'burnt' district was the area destroyed in the fire of December 1882]

Narrow Escape.

During the “ Norther” on Saturday last, a boat with three men was cap­sized off Orange Street. Fortunately they were good swimmers, and having succeeded in getting a seat on the up­turned boat, remained there for about half an hour when they were rescued by a boat which put off from shore.



And on top of all that . . .


Colonial Standard January 6 1886


On the night of the 1st instant at 25 minutes to 10 o’clock, two shocks of earthquake were felt in this city - rapidly suc­ceeding each other. The first was slight and of short duration, but the second lasted longer and was of much greater severity. The undulations were from South east to North west. Happily no damage was done, although the shock was sensibly felt throughout the island.



for more on Jamaica's weather in 1885 go to


Xmas 04 - extras

Colonial Standard December 24 1885

Some Christmas goodies in 1885





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Xmas '04

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