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Isn’t that everything?

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You need your own village, if only for the pleasure of leaving it
Cesare Pavese

You could argue that, on a small island like St Helena, everything is ‘local’. But you’d be wrong…

This page is in indexes: Island Place, Island People, Island Detail

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St Helena is only 16 by 8 kilometres, or 121 km²(see our How Small Is St Helena? page to understand this better.) and it takes under an hour to drive from one tip to the other{1}, so surely everything could be considered as ‘local’? And yet, even within such a tiny area (1/13 the size of Greater London{2}, for example) local places have local ‘personalities’.

Blue Hill, for example, was until motorised transport a day’s journey from Jamestown. People left home before dawn and arrived home after dark when making the journey. This made Blue Hill quite self-reliant. Many rarely left the district. People grew vegetables for their own use and bartered the surplus with neighbours, or sometimes sold it via the Blue Hill shop. There was a pub; a dance hall (the Community Centre, and prior to that the school); and a local church. So Blue Hill developed a local character and even a distinguishable accent. And even now that a vehicle can travel to town in 30-40 minutes, much of that local flavour still exists.

The same, for similar reasons, applies to Levelwood, and to a lesser extent to Longwood though this area was always part of the ‘tourist route’ due to the Napoleonic sites.

Most of these differences are not immediately apparent. After you’ve lived here for a while you learn to spot where people live, or were brought up, by the way they behave. All this on 16 by 8 kilometres, or 121 km²(see our How Small Is St Helena? page to understand this better.)!

So if you advertise a dance in Blue Hill, you can be reasonably sure that most of the people who turn up will have travelled less than 3Km. This is not because of drink-driving restrictions{3}. It’s just that your event will be seen as a local event and non-locals, though doubtless no less welcome, feel it is not for them.

This website’s editor was once told by someone living in Longwood that she felt isolated from her roots; she had grown up in New Ground

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Laugh at funny local humour - LOL [Saint Helena Island Info:‘Local’?]


{a} Ed Thorpe


{1} Though you’d need a 4-wheel drive - the roads don’t stretch that far.

{2} Though with only 1/1,900 of the population!

{3} Which are apparently not enforced outside the Jamestown and Half Tree Hollow areas.


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