Δ

This site uses Javascript for menus and many other features. YOU DO NOT HAVE JAVASCRIPT ENABLED IN YOUR BROWSER. A minimal non-Javascript menu appears at the bottom of the page. To enable JavaScript please see your browser instructions.

 

Blank

Glossary

Terms used

Remember that the progress of the world depends on your knowing better than your elders.
George Bernard Shaw

Blank

Here are some terms used on St Helena or within Saint Helena Island Info that we thought might benefit from further explanation

This page is in indexes: BlankIsland Detail

Glossary Saint Helena Island Info

Terms

The following are presented in broadly alphabetic order.

Blank

Below: 1962 and 1991 filmsArchivesArrackDFIDLegal TenderLighters and TendersOrdinancesPlantersPunch House‘The Records’ScurvyS.H.A.P.E. (SHAPE)‘Swindolena’ or ‘Swindhelena’‘Town’TungiUnion Castle LineWindshear

Other terms, e.g. Executive Council and Legislative Council are defined in the relevant pages.

Then there are the many interesting words and phrases when you are speaking Saint


The 1962 and 1991 films

1962 film title Saint Helena Island Info Glossary

At the end of 1961 a Film Unit arrived to document the island of St Helena and its life and culture; the first time this had been attempted. Formally entitled ‘Island of Saint Helena’, the half hour film featured our history and physical features (of course) but also Fishing, The Flax Industry (then still fully functioning), our Friendly Societies and their marches and the extensive use of donkeys for transport. The Film Unit consisted of Charles Frater, Bob Johnston and Esdon Frost. In addition to the film, they also collected many sound recordings and photographic stills, a good number of which feature (with permission) on Saint Helena Island Info. Jean Johnston also kept a diary of the visit, highlights of which can be seen on our Memories of St Helena page. It is usually known simply as ‘The 1962 Film’ because of the date of its release. The full film is available on YouTube™: www.youtube.com/watch?v=YngeIbFUEVw{1}.

1991 film title Saint Helena Island Info Glossary

30 years later in 1991 Charles & Julia Frater came back to the island and made another half hour film called ‘Saint Helena, South Atlantic Ocean’ (‘The 1991 Film’), stills from which also feature (with permission) on Saint Helena Island Info. New features of this film included second RMS St Helena, the beginnings of the move from counter-based shops to supermarkets, the new focus on our Endemic Species, the possibility that St Helena might soon have an airport (it actually took another 25 years), modern communications including the Satellite Link and, of course, Radio St Helena, which was then 24 years old having started six years after the 1962 Film was completed. The full film is available on YouTube™ www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NR-kkFRUgg{1}.


The Archives

Established in 1962, the Archives is where the Records are kept.

The Archives can be accessed:

in person

The office is located in The Castle; enter through the main gate and seek a door on your left. There are full-time staff available to help with enquiries.

by email

Contact Karen Henry: Karen.Henry@sainthelena.gov.sh or archives@sainthelena.gov.sh.

by telephone

(+290) 22470 and ask for ‘Archives’ (8:30am-4pm GMT, Mon-Fri)

The Archives charges a small fee to non-Saints for researching subjects. In 2018 the non-resident fee was £40 for the first 7 hours and £20/hour thereafter. Discuss with them the expected fee and how to make payment. Since April 2018 there is also a fee of £1 charged to everybody for photographing documents (for which you must bring your own camera, and operate it yourself).

Read more on the Government of St Helena website: www.sainthelena.gov.sh/about-us/archives.

Some of the shelves Saint Helena Island Info Glossary
Some of the shelves{a}

Door plaque Saint Helena Island Info Glossary
Door plaque

 


Arrack

Arrack was a locally-brewed spirit distilled from potatoes that is mentioned often in the Records. Its origins are in South and Southeast Asia, where it is made from either the fermented sap of coconut flowers, sugarcane, grain or fruit, depending upon the country of origin. Since it became economic to import spirits from overseas its production seems to have been discontinued.

Arrack was often sold in Punch Houses. Arrack and other alcoholic drinks were elements in several rebellions.


DFID

DFID logo Saint Helena Island Info Glossary

Although the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (‘FCO’) formally manages St Helena on behalf of The Crown/HM Government, the island requires an annual financial grant to keep it solvent. This is paid by the UK Department for International Development (‘DFID’).

Periodically a team from DFID arives to discuss with the Government of St Helena how much funding support the island needs. An agreement to this is then signed. Theoretically this is done before the start of the finacial year (1st April) but not always so - in 2018, for example, no figure was announced until August.


Legal Tender

In layman’s terms, if notes/coins are Legal Tender this means that these MUST be accepted in payment of a bill or debt. Other notes and coins CAN be accepted, but the other party is under no obligation to do so. So a retailer can choose to accept a UK, American, South African or European banknote, but they are obliged to accept a St Helena one.

To complicate matters further, there are legal restrictions on how many of a particular coin you can use at one time. Paying a £500 bill in 1p pieces may sound like fun but it isn’t actually legal and the recipient is not obliged to accept it.

Legal Tender must not be confused with ‘a Tender’, which is a boat.

Most businesses on St Helena will accept foreign currency for payment, but usually only Flag of The United Kingdom Saint Helena Island Info GlossarySterling, Flag of The United States of America Saint Helena Island Info GlossaryUS Dollars, Flag of The European Union Saint Helena Island Info GlossaryEuro and Flag of South Africa Saint Helena Island Info GlossarySouth African Rand (these currencies are not Legal Tender). Sterling is accepted at par (i.e. 1:1) with St Helena Pounds; the rates at which the other currencies are accepted will be based on (but not necessarily the same as) those published weekly by our local bank. These may differ from rates advertised on websites and from other sources.

Note also that you may see signs in shops for the ‘Bank of St Helena Debit Card Scheme’. Sadly this is a purely local scheme - you cannot use it with overseas credit and debit cards.


Lighters and Tenders

These are sea-craft used for transporting goods (‘lighters’) or people (‘tenders’) between anchored ships and the wharf.

NB: ‘Legal Tender’ is not a lawful people-boat, it has a different meaning.

RMS St Helena with lighters & tenders Saint Helena Island Info Glossary
RMS St Helena with lighters & tenders


Ordinances

Ordinances Saint Helena Island Info Glossary

The laws on St Helena are called ‘Ordinances’. The term should not be confused with ‘Ordnance’ - military weaponry and munitions, or with religious terminology. Its origins may be the Ordinances issued by Cromwell’s Parliament of England, which was operating at the time St Helena was first settled.

Prior to its approval by Legislative Council an Ordinance is referred to as a ‘Bill’. An Ordinance only becomes law when signed by The Governor and the Public Seal attached.

You can download and read our Laws

Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.
Henry David Thoreau


Planters

‘Planters’ is the original term for the Settlers, from 1659 onwards and still in use in the 19th Century. When slaves were emancipated they were given the status of Planters (but no financial means to acquire any land to plant).


Punch House

A Punch House was a very basic form of tavern, frequented by those with the lowest incomes. Arrack was served. Prostitutes were available. At one time most of the buildings in lower Jamestown were Punch Houses.


‘The Records’

The St Helena Records is a collection of documents dating back to the earliest days of St Helena, held in the Archives.

From the records and other sources we have compiled an events database, which drives our events-based pages (e.g. On This Day and In This Week) and supports the various searches on our Chronology page.


Scurvy

Scurvy is a disease caused by a diet deficient in Vitamin C, and can be fatal. It was suffered by early mariners whose foodstuffs aboard ship for long sea voyages did not feature fresh fruit or vegetables. In its early history St Helena had so many lemon trees sailors suffering from Scurvy were dropped off here to recover (amusingly, nowadays we import all of our fruit from South Africa).


S.H.A.P.E. (SHAPE)

St Helena Active Participation in Enterprise, a local social enterprise providing work and training for the disabled, operating from the former school in Sandy Bay.


‘Swindolena’ or ‘Swindhelena’

Many of the Saints who reside in the UK live in or around the town of Swindon in Wiltshire. There is nothing particularly St Helenian about Swindon - it isn’t small and it isn’t anywhere near the sea - and our guess is that employment might have been the original reason; Swindon used to be a major industrial town and the Great Western Railway had works there.

The term ‘Swindolena’ or ‘Swindhelena’ is not just used by Saints:

Article: St Helena expats from ‘Swindolena’ to gather for sports day this weekend

By Daniel Angelini, Swindon Advertiser, 24th August 2018{2}

DID you know that Swindon is known as ‘Swindolena’ to St Helena expats?

St Helena Saint Helena Island Info Glossary
St Helena

The town is known to residents of the remote island by this nickname because of its large community of expats, known as Saints, from that island.

St Helena, located in the South Atlantic, is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world and its current population is around 4,300 people.

The UK’s largest gathering of St Helena expats takes place over this Bank Holiday weekend on Saturday and Sunday in Reading this weekend.

Expat Saints from across the country will gather at Reading Abbey Rugby Football Club for a weekend of fun activities at the annual St Helena Sport Day.

The event has been taking place in Reading for nearly 40 years and is organised by the charitable St Helena Association.

To find out more, visit sthelenasportsday.com{3}.


‘Town’

‘Town’ means Jamestown, so goin’ to Town means a trip to the nation’s capital. Although Jamestown is smaller than the average British village, it is the only place worthy of the name ‘town’, and it does have ‘town’ in its name.

Actually, Jamestown is legally a City. Its charter was granted by Queen Victoria on 6th June 1859.


Tungi

Tungi spirit bottle Saint Helena Island Info Glossary

Tungi flowering Saint Helena Island Info Glossary

Pronounced Toon-jee this is the local name for a species of Prickly Pear. Tungi bushes grow wild around the hotter and dryer parts of the island, such as Half Tree Hollow. The tungi fruits can be eaten but avoiding eating the fine spines makes doing so impractical. The fruits are distilled into a local spirit by the St Helena Distillery in Alarm Forest and sold in a distinctive Jacob’s Ladder bottle (right).


The Union Castle Line

Union Castle poster Saint Helena Island Info Glossary

The Union Castle Line provided the regular shipping service for St Helena from the 19th Century until 1977, when it closed its Southampton-Cape Town service.

Amusingly, the Union Castle Line ships were painted with black and red funnels and a lavender-coloured hull, as a consequence of which the company was affectionately known as the ‘Lavender Hull Mob’.


Windshear

Windshear is a phenomenon encountered at some airports which can make it difficult to land an aircraft. The following explanation is in laymen’s terms - for a more technical one see the Wikipedia.

Put simply, aircraft fly because of the air flowing over and under their wings. They are easiest to fly when the airflow is fairly steady. Turbulence, familiar to any air traveller, is caused by an unsteady air flow past the wings. When turbulence is encountered near the ground, normally on landing but sometimes also on take-off, it is referred to as Windshear.

Windshear diagram from Wikipedia Saint Helena Island Info Glossary
Windshear diagram from Wikipedia

The effect of Windshear on an aircraft coming into land or taking off could be that the aircraft loses height unexpectedly - uncomfortable in mid-air but potentially dangerous when already close to the ground. Different types of aircraft cope better with Windshear than others.

At St Helena airport the Windshear was found to occur at the Northern end of the runway. A Boeing 737-800 - the aircraft the airport was designed to handle - would need the entire runway length to safely take off and land, and the Boeing 737-800 is known to be sensitive to Windshear. If you watch closely the video of the test flight landing you can see the aircraft wobble as it is preparing to touch down. This was it being affected by the Windshear.

Two solutions to Windshear exist. One is to remove the cause - in this case wind eddies around King & Queen Rocks, which overlook the runway. This would have been a major, and therefore costly, operation and would have radically altered the island as well as destroying historic sites. The alternative was to use a smaller aircraft that did not need the full runway length, ideally also one that would be less sensetrive to Windshear if it was encountered. This was the approach adopted.

Sadly the smaller aircraft carries only around 90 passengers (as opposed to the 200+ carried by the Boeing 737-800), so with only one weekly flight planned this dramatically reduced potential tourist numbers and also increased flight costs. An alternative solution is still being sought.

Read more on our Building St Helena Airport page.


My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe; why it is as it is and why it exists at all.
Stephen Hawking

Blank

SOME USEFUL ANAGRAMS

DORMITORY

:

DIRTY ROOM

SNOOZE ALARMS

:

ALAS NO MORE ZS

A DECIMAL POINT

:

IM A DOT IN PLACE

THE MORSE CODE

:

HERE COME DOTS

ELEVEN PLUS TWO

:

TWELVE PLUS ONE

SLOT MACHINES

:

CASH LOST IN ME

SAINT HELENA

:

HASTEN ALE IN


Credits:

{a} St Helena Travel on Facebook™



Footnotes:

{1} Please first read this warning.{2} Reproduced for educational non-commercial use only; all copyrights are acknowledged.{3} Or our Reading Sports page.



NAVIGATION is restricted because Javascript is NOT enabled in your browser (not recommended). To enable Javascript please check your browser’s instructions.

Translate this page using Google™ Translate Saint Helena Island Info Glossary
translate traducir översätta vertalen übersetzen tradurre