Trench Town Culture Yard
The Trench Town Culture Yard is located at 6 & 8 Lower First Street in Trench Town. It is one of the many houses which was built by the Central Housing Authority between 1940 & 1949. These houses were built on two hundred (200) acres of land which was known as Trench Pen. It was subdivided to facilitate a residential community to be called Trench Town. These government-owned houses were occupied by tenants paying twelve shillings per month shortly after they were occupied. These residences or government yards as they were later called were built from First to Seventh Streets, between Central and West Roads. These government yards provided running water, electricity and other facilities that were available at the time.
The houses that were built by the Central Housing Authority were of four different types. These were the ‘H’, ‘S’, ‘T’ and ‘U’. These models were designed to facilitate and promote communal living. The ‘U’ blocks were one or two room dwellings with communal sanitary and cooking facilitates. Each room was 10'x10', access to which was gained by a long verandah which runs the entire length of the building and was also communal.
The ‘S’ rooms were unique to the government yards. These were only to be found on the block between First and Second Streets. These units were clustered in groups of threes with a courtyard for communal and social activities. Each two storey block was composed of four two-room flat, each with its own kitchen and shared toilet facilities.
The Culture Yard
The Culture Yard which serves as one of the community yards was a part of the ‘U’ block. It was in this yard that the community leader, Vincent ‘Tata’ Ford lived. Bob Marley, arguably Trench Town's best known resident lived here. While living here Bob Marley was taught how to play the guitar by Vincent ‘Tata’ Ford. It was here too that the very popular song `No Woman No Cry' was co-written by Bob Marley and Vincent `Tart' Ford, which recalled their experiences living in the yard. Bob Marley would also recall in song `Natty Dread' his many trips from First Street to Seventh Streets. It was while living at number 6 and 8 First Street that the Wailers were formed and Bob Marley and the Wailers' first album `Catch a Fire' was recorded.
The Culture Yard today hosts a small museum which presents the phenomenal history of Trench Town along with articles, instruments and furnishing used by Tata Ford, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. The original 1940's buildings have been restored to their former glory and the site is truly a heritage tourism destination. The Casbah Cafe, Lion of Judah Courtyard, In-house Artisian Shops and restrooms are available to visitors.
Trench Town Cultural Yard was designated protected national heritage on May 10, 2007.