Historic Book, “Behind the scenes at Jamaica’s King’s House 1873-2010” officially launched

King’s House gets a Personalised History

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jackie Ranston’s new book, “Behind the Scenes at King’s House, 1873-2010,” was launched appropriately, under the patronage of the Governor-General, in the ballroom of King’s House itself.

The book chronicles approximately 144 years of Jamaican history through a focus on the occupants of King’s House, encompassing the first British Governor under Crown Colony government, Sir John Peter Grant, to Jamaican Governor-General, His Excellency, The Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen.

It was launched last Thursday (Oct. 20) by the King’s House Foundation in partnership with Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), which commissioned the book.

“The book skillfully weaves anecdotes, reports and research to paint a picture, and describe for us the origin of King’s House,” said Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most. Hon. Sir Patrick Allen. “Author Jackie Ranston, describes scenes and situations in such a way that, readers feel they are in the moment, walking and talking with Governors-General and their guests.”

Jackie Ranston

The author told the more than 150 guests at the launch ceremony, that writing the book had taken her on a satisfying journey of discovery. Ms. Ranston pointed out that, there had been Governors who left the island in tears, on departing from Jamaica.

“One revelation that this (research) had was: the effect that Jamaica and Jamaicans had on the lives of colonial government,” Ms. Ranston said. “More than one Governor admitted that ‘this country has done something for us.’”

Earl Jarrett (left), general manager of Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) and Jackie Ranston, author of the book, “Behind the scenes at King’s House 1873-2010” celebrate the culmination of a three year project at the official launch of the book on Thursday, October 20 at King’s House.

Dennis Lalor, Chairman of the King’s House Foundation indicated that the publication of the book was one element in a strategy for the full restoration of King’s House to its former glory. Proceeds from the sales will help with the continued maintenance of the property.

“We on the Board of the Foundation we are happy to be able to do this,” Mr. Lalor declared. He indicated that the book would also serve as another element in attracting visitors when the building was eventually opened to guided tours for the public.

“We believe that King’s House should be maintained in a state that is consistent with the office of the Governor-General,” the Chairman said.

Earl Jarrett, General Manager of Jamaica National hailed the publication of the book as being timely, given that next year, in 2012, Jamaica will celebrate the Golden Jubilee of its of independence.

He pointed out that the stories and incidents are not all draped in the “pomp and circumstance,” of royal and presidential visits, or the swearing in of Prime Ministers and High Court Judges; as, some are quite humourous… capturing the grace, wit and quirks of many persons who have contributed to different aspects of our development.

“The book also provides, a context in which we can evaluate significant periods of our history,” the JNBS General Manager stated. “Through the lives of each of the 18 Governors and six Governors-General… we can better understand some of the influences that shaped our nation.”

Copies of the book are available at Kingston Bookshop and the University of the West Indies bookshop.

Governor-General of Jamaica, His Excellency, the Most Honourable, Sir Patrick Allen (second left) makes a point about the book, “Behind the scenes at King’s House 1873-2010” to author, Jackie Ranston (third left) as she examines the book with Earl Jarrett (left), general manager of Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) and Dennis Lalor, chairman of the King’s House Foundation.

Jackie Ranston (left), author of the book, “Behind the scenes at King’s House 1873-2010” signs a copy of her book, which was purchased by Thalia Lyn, owner of fast food chain Island Grill at the launch of the book at King’s House on Thursday, October 20. Proceeds from the sale of the book, which was commissioned by Jamaica National Building Society will be donated to the King’s House Foundation for the on-going maintenance of the buildings at King’s House.

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