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Fay Pickersgill's Jamaica's Fascinating Falmouth
It was a book she hadn’t intended to write, yet at its birth Fay Pickersgill ushered Jamaica's Fascinating Falmouth into the world with much ado. Falmouth’s population of Georgian architecture remains a distinguishing feature, harkening the to its days of wealth and prominence when sugar, watered by the blood and sweat of enslaved Africans was king.
“What I have managed to write is what is called a book,” Pickersgill said. She noted however, that when she first put finger to keypad, she had expected to produce a ‘did you know’ brochure, as she had never wanted to accept the responsibilities that accrue to authors. However, as she gathered information and the work grew, it blossomed into a thing that only the word ‘book’ could accurately describe.
Her aim, Pickersgill explained to the audience, was to allow people to have more information about the town, which might inspire its residents and those in the wider Trelawny, to be more active in protecting the town.
“It occurred to me that I needed to share the information that I had on Falmouth,” Pickersgill said.
Indeed, until the recent development of the Falmouth cruise ship port (coming attendant with merits and demerits), Falmouth seemed to have been left to wallow in its own demise, becoming another of Jamaica’s towns “that time forgot”.
“I honestly feel that if people have knowledge they can appreciate and if they appreciate then they can understand,” Pickersgill explained, noting that the wider community appeared to be unaware of the town’s history, which seemed to fuel that absence of willingness to protect and celebrate it.
Interestingly, in his remarks, Hon. Paul Muschett Custos of Trelawny pointed out that many potential developers want to destroy the old buildings and replace them with modern ones. An act that would certainly, act in contradiction to attempts to leverage the town’s history and the beauty of the existing architecture.
Most Hon. PJ Patterson noted, delivered the address for the launch. He noted that the book had resulted from a lengthy affair between Pickersgill and the town which dated back to her youth in Trelawny.
“It is a fascinating and picturesque tale from the earliest years of Martha Brae, the main seaport of Trelawny, through the period of unrivalled prosperity, to the creation of today’s innovative cruise ship port,” Patterson said.
“This book is not meant to be a scholarly treatise but a handy compilation of historical highlights, including the foundation of the town, places to go things to see and insights into the past,” Patterson continued, going on to describe Fascinating Falmouth as charming, insightful and elegant.
Fascinating Falmouth, featuring images by Ray Chen, explores the town’s history, as well as a looks at the present. It looks at the major attractions in the town, historical monuments, and famous Jamaicans who had been born in the parish. Indeed, a few were in the audience, as sprinters Michael Frater and Warren Weir both made appearances.
The launch was ably hosted by Michael Anthony Cuff, who laughingly told the audience that he used to think of himself as 'the voice', a charming nod to his daughter in laugh, singer Tessanne's performances on NBC's The Voice. The event was held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Wednesday, December 11, 2013.