The University of Technology, Jamaica today unveiled the official Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) plaques for four of the recently designated heritage sites on the Papine Campus. The unveiling ceremony was held at one of the heritage sites, the Drawing Room, which holds particular historical importance, as it served as the first home of two of the first industrial schools in the island.

L-R: Mr. Selvenious Walters, Technical Director of Archaeology, JNHT, Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa, Dean, Faculty of Law, Mrs. Georgia Rookwood, Senior Research Officer, JNHT and Professor Stephen Vasciannie, President, UTech, Jamaica pose in front of the JNHT plaque unveiled at the Drawing Room on Thursday, September 19, 2019.

 University President, Professor Stephen Vasciannie, CD, in his welcome, explained that “in 2019, the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) declared 7 structures at the University as national monuments.  For today, 4 of these buildings – the Drawing Room, the Cynthia Shako Early Childhood Education and Day Care Centre, Bryan’s Book Store and the Centre for the Arts– were being recognized.”

There are a total of 9 national monuments on the Papine Campus.  The other sites are Lillian’s Restaurant and The Three Ruins of the Silos, so declared in 2010,  the building housing Victoria Mutual Building Society, the Chapel and Student Activity Centre (The Barn) designated in 2019.

Acknowledging the contribution of the University’s archivist, Mrs Joan Francis, Professor Vasciannie briefly mentioned some of the earlier purposes of each of the 4 buildings.

The Drawing Room represents the first educational institution on the campus, dating back to the time of establishment of the 1891 Boys Industrial School at Hope (for wards of the State).

The Cynthia Shako Early Childhood and Day Care Centre was once the home of the Farm Manager at Hope.  Dr Keith Amiel, son of a former Farm Manager, was born at this home, and spent his early years there.

Bryan’s Book Store housed the first library of the College of Arts, Science and Technology.

The Centre for the Arts was first used as the Administration Block and was later used for security and housekeeping services on the Campus.

The University President also reflected on the significance of receiving recognition from the JNHT.  He noted that the recognition served to underline the importance the University attaches to the preservation of our history, adding that it provides a guide to future accomplishments.  He also anticipated positive cooperation with the JNHT in the spirit of continuity and change.”

Ms. Georgia Rookwood, Senior Research Officer at the JNHT who spoke on behalf of Interim Executive Director, Mrs. Michele Creed-Nelson, in her remarks, highlighted the importance of preservation of Jamaica’s history.  She noted that the national monuments at UTech, Jamaica were selected by “virtue of their historic, architectural and scientific significance.”  She also expounded on the particularly significant history of the Drawing Room, from its beginnings as the Boys’ Industrial School, which trained young men as gardeners and agriculturalists, to the establishment of the Hope Farm School, which provided post-secondary education for skilled agriculturalists, farm managers and bookkeepers. The brainchild of Sir Sidney Olivier, Governor of Jamaica (1907-1913) and H.H. Cousins, then Director of Agriculture, the Hope Farm School sought to establish a more formal system of agricultural training, and produced the noted Jamaican animal Scientist, Dr. T. P. Lecky, developer of the Jamaica Hope and Jamaica Black breed of Cattle, Mrs. Rookwood explained.

Ms. Rookwood affirmed that “the JNHT looks forward to forging a strong bond with the University of Technology, Jamaica as we seek to protect our nation’s heritage.”

A prayer of dedication was offered by Father Irenaeus Vincent OP, University Chaplain. Mr Calvin Mitchell, drummer with the Centre for the Arts and Institute of Jamaica Bronze Musgrave Medal winner entertained the large audience of members of faculty, staff, students and guests, with one of his captivating pieces.

The programme was chaired by Mr. Maurice Colquhoun, Career and Placement Officer.

Taken from UTech Jamaica Broadcaster (Abriged) 19.09.2019

Alumni Relations Office
University of Technology, Jamaica