Category Archives: History

AUDIO: new St Helena Britannica is a tribute to island historian

The widow of the late St Helena historian, Trevor Hearl, has been presented with the first copy of a new book that brings together the results of his research over many years. Click here to listen to Simon Pipe’s report … Continue reading

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Are there places more British than the UK?

The Falkland Islands are not the only far-off territory to still feel British, writes Vanessa Barford in the BBC News Magazine. While the world’s media focuses on the referendum on the Falklands, she says the 4,200 people on St Helena also … Continue reading

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How Napoleon could have escaped exile by submarine: Smuggler ‘was offered £40,000’ to rescue emperor from St Helena

Tom Johnson claimed he was offered £40,000 in 1820 to rescue Napoleon Emperor exiled by British to heavily-guarded St Helena after Waterloo loss Escape plan involved mechanical chair and Napoleon putting on disguise But Johnson’s craft was ‘intercepted on Thames’ … Continue reading

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Who ‘disarmed’ the Boer War bomb in the tower?

In his column in the St Helena Independent, Julian Cairns-Wicks recalled the saga of the unexploded bomb that was discovered in the old round tower on Ladder Hill. But what happened to it? Here’s the down-to-earth answer, as told to … Continue reading

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Rebuilding lost steeple – next job for church fund-raisers?

After more than a decade of restoration efforts, a group of church fund-raisers are braced for their most ambitious project yet – to replace the missing steeple on Jamestown’s historic parish church. The steeple had to be dismantled in 1980 because it had … Continue reading

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Napoleon seeks Friends

It had to happen: Napoleon Bonaparte, the Emperor of Longwood, has got a Facebook account. He calls himself Napoleone Buonaparte, but apart from failing to spell his name correctly in English, it’s the same chap. His profile says he worked at … Continue reading

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Airport supply ship set to make island history

History is set to be made on St Helena this Wednesday, when the Basil Read supply ship is due to be become the first cargo vessel ever to dock at the island. The finishing touches have been applied to a … Continue reading

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Slavery expert is to rescue island’s ancient archives

Unique St Helena records dating back more than 300 years are to be rescued from possible “catastrophic loss”. Many of the ancient documents in the archives at The Castle in Jamestown are already in very poor condition because of a … Continue reading

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Civil service versus the can-do culture: a governor’s view

In the third extract of an address to the Friends of St Helena, former governor Andrew Gurr reflects on the island’s emerging private sector, optimism and – just briefly – education. Read part one of his recollections here, and find … Continue reading

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Napoleon’s Longwood letter has experts debating

A letter written by Napoleon at Longwood – in English – has set commentators off on a debate about whether he was any good at his captors’ language. The letter is tipped to fetch in the region of £65,000 at … Continue reading

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