Saved Buildings

Almost lost; now restored

Never give in - never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty
Winston Churchill

Some of our historic buildings were thought lost, but have now been restored.

This page is in indexes: Island Structures, Island History, Island Detail

Saved Buildings Saint Helena Island Info{a}

Below: Rock RoseWranghams, Sandy BayThe Hutt’s Gate StoreRead More

Note that this page features buildings that were thought lost but have been, or are being restored. Those that have been, or seemingly will be lost forever can be found on our Lost and almost-lost Buildings page.

Rock Rose 

Location map:
Location Map rockrose Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings

Rock Rose was an elegant country house in the Levelwood district. It was built c. 1795. An engraved stone found at the site inscribed ‘RB Governor 1789’ refers to Governor Robert Brooke (1789-1801). This two-storey residence could be described as being marginally of Georgian style and when it was built would have been rather a major project in that part of the island, where there were then no proper roads. An advertisement in the St Helena Spectator of 14th November 1867 listed Rock Rose for sale, as the owner Mr G. V. Seale was about to leave the island. It suffered badly from the White Ants introduced accidentally onto the island in the 1840s, and was allowed to slowly deteriorate. It passed to Solomon & Company together with the surrounding land which was used for flax mills, but Rock Rose itself was not restored and was declared a ruin in 1920.

Until June 2016 it still belonged to Solomon’s and there had been no attempt at restoration since the initial demise of this building. However it has now been bought - see A new beginning?, (below).

Drawing from c.1830 Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings
Drawing from c.1830

1962 Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings

1994 Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings

c.1990s Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings

2016 Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings


A new beginning?

In June 2016 it was announced that the Thorpe family had bought Rock Rose from Solomon’s.

The plan is to rebuild the rear of the building and turn it into a 2 bedroom house. There is no plan to rebuild the front half, just renovate the back half - probably originally the servants’ quarters and the kitchen (it has two fireplaces). There will be two bedrooms on the top floor and an open plan kitchen dining room downstairs with a sitting room on the right and a stairway in between. The building work will be completed with lime and stone - not concrete blocks or cement! And the windows will be wooden sash windows.

We hope to feature photos of the completed building…

Wranghams, Sandy Bay 

Location map:
Location Map wranghams Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings

Read’s Map of 1817 Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings
Read’s Map of 1817

Wranghams is one of St Helena’s traditional country houses, built probably in the late 18th Century - the Records contain a note for 19th February 1745 Four acres in Sandy Bay leased to one Francis Wrangham. and although the building of the house is not mentioned it would presumably have been soon after. It does not appear as ‘Wranghams’ on Read’s Map of 1817, but alignment of this with later maps suggests it is enigmatically marked ‘Castle of Otranto, Major W. Seale’!

The house remained in private hands until 1972 when it was sold by one Violet Moyce to the Government of St Helena. It was used until the early 2000s as accommodation for visiting government officials. It was always damp and in later years many felt it to be below an acceptable standard. It ceased to be used for accommodation and was deployed only as a ‘conference venue’.

In 2006 it was mooted that Wranghams might be deployed for Tourism purposes, though there was no clear plan covering how it might be used. It is too small for a hotel without significant extra building work, which would be out of keeping with the area. In 2007 it was advertised as available for tourism-related development on a lease-hold basis with prospective bidders expected to submit a business plan for consideration before lease negotiations. Nobody did.

In June 2010, with the airport project ‘paused’ and Wranghams in an increasingly sorry state it was proposed that it be sold. It took until March 2011 for a decision to be taken. In August 2013 was it formally proposed that Wranghams be downgraded from a Grade II to a Grade III listed building, but this was not approved by Executive Council. It was finally advertised for sale in December 2013, at an asking ‘guide’ price of £90,000 with bids to be submitted by 5th February 2014. Again, there were no takers, but by August the Government of St Helena was reported to be in negotiations with a bidder. By May 2015 planning applications were being filed. Work was completed in December 2016 and Wranghams is now, once again, one of St Helena’s fine country houses.

For lease 2007 Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings
For lease, 2007

For sale 2013 Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings
For sale, 2013

Before restoration Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings
Before restoration{a}

Restored Dec 2016 Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings
Restored, Dec 2016{a}


Look closely on Read’s 1817 map and you will find Wranhams intriguingly named The Castle of Otranto

The Hutt’s Gate Store 

Location map:
Location Map huttsgatestore Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings

Hutt’s Gate Store Sign Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings

The Hutt’s Gate Store building is directly on the Longwood road, facing northwest, just east of St. Matthew’s Church. From the front there are four upstairs windows, and downstairs there is (left to right): door; high-level window; door with porch; high-level window. At the back there are various outbuildings. The store bears a distinctive sign which remains today, even though the building is no longer a store. It is designated as a Grade II Listed building.

The earliest record of a dwelling on this site is in 1673. The Crallan Report in 1974 found no definite proof that a building of this date still existed, but considered the possibility that the current building dates from this time. In 1673, following the Dutch capture of St Helena, Richard Keigwin’s men landed at Prosperous Bay and marched across the island to surprise the Dutch at the fort in Jamestown. On their way, they stopped for breakfast at a farm called ‘The Hutts’, the gate of which was Hutts Gate. This may be the origin of the name{5}.

It is thought the building was originally a military post, given its commanding position on the only road to Longwood and the north east. Apparently there was also at one time an Inn on the site, known as the Rose & Crown, which in 1877 was the only public house outside of Jamestown, but no remains of this can be identified today. It is not known when the building first became a shop.

By then start of the 21st Century it was still an active shop, and in September 2001 the following notice appeared in the St Helena Herald:

Hutts Gate Store will be reopening on Saturday 29th September at 10am. On sale will mainly be groceries to start with but will be branching out to clothing and hardware soon.{c}

The store was put up for sale as a going concern in September 2002 but evidently there were no buyers. It closed soon after and the building, unoccupied, was left to deteriorate. In March 2006 part of the rear of the store collapsed, possibly as a result of ill-advised building work. The owner was forced to put the building up for sale by auction.

After two attempts at auction, on 2nd September 2006 and on 24th March 2007, it sold. It is being restored by the new owners and expected to be be a private house.

From St. Matthew’s Church 1961 Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings
From St. Matthew’s Church, 1961{b}

Closeup 1961 Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings
Closeup, 1961{2}{b}

Rear view 1970s Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings
Rear view, 1970s

Damage March 2006 Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings
Damage, March 2006

Damage March 2006 (rear) Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings
Damage, March 2006 (rear)

Auction 2nd September 2006 Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings
Auction, 2nd September 2006

Closeup January 2017 Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings
Closeup, January 2017{3}

From St. Matthew’s Church 2017 Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings
From St. Matthew’s Church, 2017{4}


Read More 

Below: Historic Environment RecordArticle: The Old Ways are the Best

More stories on our page Read articles about St Helena.

Historic Environment Record

For more about our historic buildings consult The Historic Environment Record.

HER image Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings

Article: The Old Ways are the Best

Lime Mortar Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings
Lime Mortar Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings

Published in the St Helena Independent 27th March 2009{6}

On Tuesday morning, Ben Jeffs, who is working on the High Knoll Fort and the Round Tower renovations, showed how lime mortar is better than cement in just about every way.

Ben organised a practical demonstration in the PWD Yard in Jamestown. About 30 people who were PWD workers, private contractors and planners attended.

By the end of the demonstration Ben had convincingly shown that lime is much better than cement mortar for all buildings, new or old, in several different advantages. Not only does lime help to keep a building cool in the summer heat or warm when it’s chilly, it stays good longer, needs less maintenance and is much cheaper to buy than cement mortar.

Lime based paint or ‘lime-wash’ was also shown by Jeff to be better and cheaper than the modern paints now in common use. It does not flake off and less preparation is needed before a surface previously painted with ‘lime-wash’ receives a fresh coating.

Ben emphasised that the Island’s old stone buildings must be maintained using lime mortar. Cement mortar causes too much damage to the stone. Restoration work on the rock fall damaged Baptist Church in Jamestown includes the use of lime mortar and the new Boat Shed on the wharf has had lime mortar included in part of the work and in the mix used to paint the renovated buildings.

Lime mortar was in widespread use long before cement was even though of as a building material. Now, lime as a building material for blocks and mortar is fast returning to common usage. Lhoist UK is part of Groupe Lhoist, the largest manufacturer of lime in the world. Based at Buxton in the Derbyshire Peak District, Lhoist UK produces high [97%] purity Quicklime and Hydrated Lime. Lhoist tells prospective users of lime on its website at www.lhoist.co.uk:

Lime is frequently used in mortars as it ensures superior workability and less wastage making mortars easier to use. From an engineering perspective lime mortars display greater longterm durability and enhanced flexural strength. These characteristics can reduce or even eliminate the need for construction joints in brick and blockwork. In addition, their ability to react with water provides a self-healing capability for minor cracks. Increasingly in new build applications as well as in historical refurbishment, lime is specified not only for mortars but also for plasters, renders and screeds. The advantages of the breathability of lime based products and their self-healing and ductility characteristics make them ideal for these purposes.

Closing Humour Saint Helena Island Info Saved Buildings

Laugh at funny Saved Buildings humour LOL Saint Helena Island Info


{a} Neil Fantom

{b} Copyright © 1962 Film Unit, used with permission{6}.

{c} St Helena Herald, 28th September 2001{6}


{1} We are not sure of the date of this photo. The state of the house puts it between the 1994 and 2015 photographs, and it looks like it’s a scan of a chemical photo, not a digital one. If you can date it please contact us.

{2} If you can identify the people, please contact us.

{3} Damage repaired - just needs a coat of paint!

{4} This was an attempt to re-create the 1961 photo from the same spot, but unfortunately the flax (left) has grown so high you can’t actually see Hutt’s Gate Store from the spot where the 1961 photograph was taken!

{5} The Hutts was itself named after slave accommodation, see Hutt’s Gate.

{6} Reproduced for educational non-commercial use only; all copyrights are acknowledged.


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