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Location map:
Location Map halftreehollow

Half Tree Hollow

Home on the hill

That little cluster of huts and cottages scattered at random on the face of the hill, is a village rejoicing in the euphonious name of Half Tree Hollow.
Joseph Lockwood, 1851{a}

Half Tree Hollow (‘HTH’) is the most populous district on St Helena.

Half Tree Hollow
{b}

Half Tree Hollow from the air

Below: What’s Here? • Stay here? • History • Read More

Half Tree Hollow, just up Jacob’s Ladder from Jamestown, is the island’s most populous district, with some 22% of the island’s inhabitants living here{1}. It is clearly identifiable as any ship approaches Jamestown.

What’s Here?

Houses, mostly! But apart from these, you can also find:

Governor Massingham: Half Tree Hollow

Click here to hear this audio file

Click To listen

Governor Massingham, speaking at the opening of the Solomons Bakery on 6th September 1983, made some observations about the growth of Half Tree Hollow (sound file, right).

The climate is dry; very similar to that of Jamestown though perhaps a little ‘fresher’.

Apart from the ‘Business Parks’ there are few job opportunities in Half Tree Hollow, so most people commute to work elsewhere, mostly in Jamestown.

Half Tree Hollow in more detail, with the second RMS St Helena in the bay (2015)
Half Tree Hollow in more detail, with the second RMS St Helena in the bay (2015)

Stay here?

From our Where To Stay page:

Half Tree Hollow is close to Jamestown, though somewhat quieter, but unless you are very fit you will need a car or taxi to get home at night - walking up Jacob’s Ladder is hard work after an evening’s revelling. Most Saints live in ‘HTH’ so there are plenty of bed-and-breakfast offerings, but also many flats and houses available for short-term rental (including a purpose-built estate). HTH is well connected to Jamestown and to the central and western areas, though to reach the eastern part you are probably best to travel via Jamestown.

History

The road through Half Tree Hollow was built when the Plantation (now Plantation House) was opened up in 1673. There is also a tradition that a thick wood occupied Half Tree Hollow at this time, and some persons got lost in it and died{3}. By 1711 it is described as ‘Halfway Tree Common’ and designated to be enclosed to keep The East India Company’ Cattle, Hogs and Goats (the wood clearly having by then be cut down). In 1905 an old island inhabitant was reported as saying that the wood was full of monkeys, who pelted stones at passers-by. Sometime after that the woodland was cleared. Kitching records that a local event, of some interest, was the foundation in 1822 of a new village on the northwest of High Knoll, the forerunner of the modern Half Tree Hollow. The area is shown on Palmer’s 1850-52 map as sparsely built with the name ‘Dallas Village’, suggesting Governor Dallas (1827-1836) may have been behind the early development. Governor Sterndale attempted to re-introduce trees but in The ‘Blue Book’ for 1898 he reported:

I have for some time tried to redeem the barrenness of Halftree Hollow, through which the main road from Jamestown to the south runs, but the rock is too near the surface for most trees, and some hundreds of young Cape yews planted have, with few exceptions, withered away. Some olives planted by me in 1896 survive, but the most hopeful species is a kind of evergreen of the fig tribe which in Jamestown grows to an enormous size{4}. One tree of this on Halftree Hollow, planted by me in 1896, is now in a most flourishing condition, and I am about to make an avenue of the same.

In 1905 it is recorded that: Passing through Half Tree Hollow, wholly destitute of trees except a few young saplings of recent planting, and continually ascending past clean little cottages, generally enclosed in a small patch of garden ground.

Half Tree Hollow from High Knoll Fort, in 1905
Half Tree Hollow from High Knoll Fort, in 1905

Map of Half Tree Hollow 2002

Half Tree Hollow, 1961
Half Tree Hollow, 1961
Half Tree Hollow, 1963
Half Tree Hollow, 1963
Half Tree Hollow, 1980s
Half Tree Hollow, 1980s

The settlement remained small until the 1960s, when significant development began. The Half Tree Hollow area was ideal to meet the demand for land needed for the building of new homes. It already had water and electricity, so it was only necessary to make roads. It’s close to the quarry (across the valley at Donkey Plain), providing ready access to building materials, and Jamestown, where most people work and socialise, was easily accessible.

As the photo (right, bottom) shows, by the early 1980s a significant local community had arisen (the building, top-right, is the Community Centre).

Development has continued even to the present day; it is unusual to drive through Half Tree Hollow and not see at least two houses under construction. Much of the development is in-fill; the construction of a new house by subdividing an existing plot, often so that children can have a home of their own.

A plan has existed since 2005 to build a substantial housing estate, with maybe as many as 60 houses, on scrub land just to the north of the New Apostolic Hall. In recent months the land was cleared so development may begin soon!

People often comment (negatively) on the haphazard nature of housing development on Half Tree Hollow. Whether a neatly laid out housing estate full of near-identical houses would be an improvement is a moot point.

Half Tree Hollow in 1984 and 2014
Half Tree Hollow in 1984 and 2014

Half Tree Hollow from High Knoll Fort, 2005
Half Tree Hollow from High Knoll Fort, 2005

Half Tree Hollow can be clearly seen in this 2014 airborne view of Jamestown
Half Tree Hollow can be clearly seen in this 2014 airborne view of Jamestown{c}

The image below from Google™ Earth™{d} shows the whole of Jamestown, The Briars, Ruperts and (most of) Half Tree Hollow. Only a satellite or a very high-flying aircraft can capture this view! A clickable version of this image appears on our Maps of St Helena page.

Google Earth view of Jamestown, The Briars, Ruperts and Half Tree Hollow

JamestownHalf Tree HollowSt PaulsLongwoodAlarm ForestBlue HillLevelwoodSandy Bay

Districts of St Helena

Alarm Forest • Blue Hill • Half Tree Hollow • Jamestown • Levelwood • Longwood • Sandy Bay • St Pauls • Maps of St Helena

Read More

Article: A & D’s Mini Mart - Open for Business!

Published in the St Helena Herald 16th March 2007{5}

A & D’s Mini Mart

On the 23rd February, Anthony and Diana Essex became the joint official owners of ‘A & D’s Mini Mart’ in Half Tree Hollow, the property formerly known as the ‘Seven Eleven’.

The St Helena Herald spoke to the proud owners and they told us that they saw the purchase of the shop as a way of expanding their current business, as they currently own and manage Little Italy and the Corner Shop. Anthony said that he is a very ambitious person and saw the potential of the shop, bearing in mind its location, along with his experience in management, he feel that he can take this new business venture forward in the right direction. ‘A & D’s Mini Mart’ is seen, by the owners as a long term investment.

Anthony and Diana were originally approached by the previous owner in December of last year enquiring if the couple might be interested in purchasing the shop. They thought about it over the Christmas holidays and later decided to make the purchase.

The majority of the equipment that is now in the shop is brand new. All new stocks have been purchased from suppliers in Jamestown, i.e. Thorpes, Queen Mary Store and Solomons and all products are sold at the retail selling price.

Over the first four days of opening, Anthony and Diana said they received an overwhelming response from the public, way beyond our expectations. Many favourable comments about the shop and the goods available there were made to the owners. They are currently accepting suggestions from their customers of what new range of products need to be added to their shelves.

Anthony and Diana told us that ‘A & D’s Mini Mart’ would never have opened within twelve days, from handing the property over to refurbishing and redecorating, without the help of family and friends. Their support and assistance were more than welcomed.

Opening hours are at the moment running on a trial basis. Weekdays and Saturdays open from 9:00am to 7:00pm and Sundays from 10:00am to 1:00pm.

The St Helena Herald would like to congratulate Anthony and Diana and wish them success in their new business venture.

In 2016 the business expanded into a new, larger building on the same site.

Laugh at funny Half Tree Hollow humour - LOL

Credits:
{a} ‘A Guide to St. Helena, Descriptive and Historical’ by Joseph Lockwood. Kindly provided to us by David Pryce at the Museum of St Helena, MDCCCLI (1851){5}{b} MJ Ltd{c} Tourist Office{d} Kindly supplied by Ian Bruce, September 2018.

Footnotes:
{1} 2016 Census: 984 from a total population of 4,534.{2} Don’t be confused by the name - the ‘rock’ refers to the ground, rather than the music style, which is predominantly Country!.{3} We are still trying to verify this.{4} We are trying to establish which plant this is. If you can help please contact us.{5} Reproduced for educational non-commercial use only; all copyrights are acknowledged.

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