➥ Loading Saint Helena Island Info

*

*

Districts of St Helena

More than Administrative Divisions

Love thy neighbour as yourself, but choose carefully your neighbourhood.{a}

St Helena is divided into eight administrative districts, but they are more than that…

Districts of St Helena
Districts of St Helena

Original five districts
Original five districts

History

It is not clear when the districts of St Helena were first defined. They were certainly in existence by 1877 - they are mentioned in the Almanac for that year - and may have been created soon after the Crown took over the island from The East India Company on 22nd April 1834. They certainly pre-date the ecclesiastical districts, which were created by Ordinance on 5th November 1885.

Originally there were only five districts{1}: Blue Hill District, Jamestown District, Longwood District, Sandy Bay District and St Pauls District (map, right). In the early 1960s, following a recommendation by the Advisory Council, Levelwood District was separated out from Longwood District and Half Tree Hollow District was separated out from St Pauls District. Alarm Forest District was carved out of Jamestown District and Longwood District by Governor Stimson in October 1988.

Until recently there were competitions between districts. The agricultural show held for the visit of HRH Anne, The Princess Royal in 2002 had district stalls and inter-district events, but within a few years all of this had ended, most probably due to the dramatic fall in population (mostly in younger families) after the restoration of full British Citizenship, also in 2002. The closure of village schools and the centralisation of voting{2} have further removed district divisions. Some districts - most notably Sandy Bay District and Blue Hill District - still have a strong identity and a feeling of belonging, but most others do not (more below).

Districts form the fundamental basis of the Land Registration system.

The Districts

In alphabetic order the districts are:

District

Since

District Page

Map

Area

Pop{b}

Voters‌{c}

Selected Features

Alarm Forest District

1980s

Alarm Forest

Inline Image @@E@@

5.6Km² (5%)

394 (9%)

32.3%

The Briars Pavilion; The Heart Shaped Waterfall; Prince Andrew School

Blue Hill District

1830s?

Blue Hill

Inline Image @@E@@

38.0Km² (31%)

174 (4%)

49.5%

Boer Camp Site (Broad Bottom); Donkey Sanctuary

Half Tree Hollow District

1960s

Half Tree Hollow

Inline Image @@E@@

1.6Km² (1%)

1,034 (23%)

28.6%

High Knoll Fort

Jamestown District

1830s?

Jamestown (district)

Inline Image @@E@@

4.0Km² (3%)

625 (14%)

31.5%

Jamestown (city); Ruperts; Banks Battery

Levelwood District

1960s

Levelwood

Inline Image @@E@@

15.2Km² (13%)

342 (8%)

17.3%

Diana’s Peak (shared with Longwood District)

Longwood District

1830s?

Longwood

Inline Image @@E@@

34.5Km² (28%)

765 (17%)

22.6%

Longwood House; The Airport; The Millennium Forest; Napoleon’s Tomb; Halley’s Mount; Diana’s Peak (shared with Levelwood District); Meteorological Station; Boer Camp Site (Deadwood Plain); Hutts Gate

Sandy Bay District

1830s?

Sandy Bay

Inline Image @@E@@

16.6Km² (14%)

177 (4%)

43.5%

Lot’s Wife’s Ponds

St Pauls District

1830s?

St Pauls

Inline Image @@E@@

6.2Km² (5%)

928 (21%)

30.8%

Plantation House; Jonathan the tortoise; St. Paul’s Cathedral; Lemon Valley

You can see all their locations and approximate boundaries on the map below. Click on the areas to be taken to the relevant page.

QUESTION: How do you get from Blue Hill District to Longwood District without passing through any other district? (answer below)

Population by district:{b}

SEE ALSO: More about where people live on our page Houses and Housing.

Issues and peculiarities

The Half Tree Hollow District is usually shown as in our map (above), running all the way down to the northern coast, but actually this is not correct. The official north-most boundary of Half Tree Hollow District is actually further south, running across the area at approximately the location of the Three Tanks, and hence Ladder Hill Fort and the Community Care Centre are technically in Jamestown District, not Half Tree Hollow District. Nevertheless, if you ask most of the people who live in these areas they will say they live in Half Tree Hollow District.

Apart from being the most recently created, Alarm Forest District is different from all the other districts, for two reasons:

  1. It has no coastline; and

  2. It does not have a community centre

St Pauls District borders six other districts, which is more than any other district.

In global terms the districts of St Helena are tiny, and yet people are commonly quite strongly attached to the district they grew up in. Differences between the district populations are also decreasing with improvements in transport and the centralisation of schooling. We discuss this further on our page ‘Local’?.

Following implementation of the Ministerial form of Government in 2021, the seven non-Minster councillors were each assigned a district to champion. Eight districts into seven councillors does not go so Sandy Bay District and Blue Hill District (the two with the lowest populations) had to share.

It can be seen that a significantly smaller percentage of Levelwood District residents voted in the 2021 General Election than in other districts. This can be explained by the high proportion of Jehovah’s Witnesses (who do not involve themselves in politics) living in the district.

More here.

Phantom Districts

If you read the reports and researches into the history of St Helena you do come across a few District anomalies. For example, in Ken Denholm’s (excellent) treatise on the island’s Flax Industry we read:

In 1925 Messrs Solomon & Company set up a stripper mill at Rock Rose in the Levelwood district.

… but although the Levelwood District existed when Denholm was writing in the early 2000s it was not actually created until the early 1960s. In 1925 Rock Rose would have been in the Longwood District. Also consider the following from Rev. Edward Cannan’s 1992 ‘Churches of the South Atlantic Islands, 1502-1991’, which has:

Two sects arrived in 1949, the Seventh Day Adventists [᠁] and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who established themselves particularly in the Levelwood district, where they still have a significant influence.

… again pre-dating the creation of Levelwood District by over ten years, but written 30 years after its creation.

This is not uncommon. Writing today, someone might talk about the burial of Napoleon and make the mistake of referring to Napoleon’s Tomb as being in Alarm Forest District, as it now is but which wasn’t created until the 1980s - at the time of the burial it was in the Longwood District.

Where these ‘errors’ are found in texts which we reproduce in Saint Helena Island Info we have not necessarily corrected them. We may have even made some of them ourselves. We apologise to any of the more pedantic mind that we might have offended!

Read More

Spatial identities of the citizens of Saint Helena

The 2002 treatise Spatial identities of the citizens of Saint Helena talks extensively about the districts of St Helena and their peculiarities (Chapter 5). While some of the detailed information has been superseded (the document is now years old) the position remains largely as described.

LOL

How do you get from Blue Hill District to Longwood District without passing through any other district? IN A BOAT!

Credits:
{a} Louise Lester{b} 2021 Census, taken 7th February 2021.{c} 2021 General Election.

@@FNCRRETADV@@

Footnotes:
{1} In A Descriptive Sketch of The Island of St Helena by J. and E. Wallis, published in 1815, we read that there are three districts, viz. the east, the west, and the south, or Sandy Bay division but under The East India Company we think these were not formalised Districts as we now understand them - just vague locations.{2} You used to vote for one or two councillors who represented your district, but now you vote for a consolidated list of twelve councillors, each covering the entire island.

@@FNCRRETADV@@