Learn the secrets of the past

 

Stories of slavery, pirates, fishing and agricultural era are some of the enchanted tales of the BVI.  Your experience in the BVI will be enriched by visiting our National Parks, Copper Mine, Forts, Museums, Churches, Burial sites and old Plantation Estates. Across the seas from shore to shore, you'll climb the hill to Old Government House Museum, Mount Health, Fort Burt, and  the Copper Mine just to name a few. Old memories of sugar fields from days gone by extend all around you at Josiah’s Bay Plantation. These are just a few of the historical sites to be seen in the BVI. With such a rich past and culture, you can easily see why the BVI has played such and important role in Caribbean history. 
 
1780 Lower Estate Sugar Works
Island: Tortola - Road Town
Built by the McClevery slaves, this location was the site for sugar production in 1940 and cotton production in the 1900’s.
 
 

Britannic Hall 

Island: Tortola – Main Street, Road Town
Built in 1910, this historic building was the site of physician’s surgery.  This building now houses the offices of Smith’s Gore Real Estate. 
 
Callwood Rum Distillery 
Island: Tortola - Cane Garden Bay 
This site features the original structure of a Sugar Cane distillery. Visitors to this rustic site can purchase samples of rum. The original boiler still operates and produces rum, which in then stored in original storage casks. The old guard house is also intact and has been turned into an art gallery and gift shop. 
 
The Dungeon 
Island: Tortola - West End
This site is located on private property and is not currently maintained. Located near Pockwood Pond, halfway between Road Town and West End, this fort was built in 1794 and housed a garrison of soldiers responsible for protecting the islands. 
  
Fort Burt 
Island: Tortola - Road Town 
Rebuilt by the English in 1776 and named after William Burt, Governor of the Leeward Islands. Originally built approximately 20ft above sea level, this site offers breathtaking views of Road Harbour and the surrounding islands. This commanding site offered defence to Road Harbour and features foundations, magazine and cannon remains of this historic ruin.  Presently the site of a hotel and restaurant, meals are served during breakfast and dinner. 
  
Fort Recovery 
Island: Tortola, Tower's, West End
Built in the 1640s as a military gun post, these ruins remain intact and are the oldest historical landmark in Tortola. Located on the coastal area, this site features a hotel, with modern amenities. 
  
Her Majesty’s Prison 
Island: Tortola - Main Street, Road Town
As the oldest building in Road Town, this prison experienced the execution of Auther W. Hodge on May 8th, 1811 for the murder of a slave.  
  
Josiah's Bay Plantation 
Island: Tortola -Josiah’s Bay, East End 
Originally a sugar factory, the building was converted into a rum distillery in the early 20th century. The machinery was powered by steam and diesel engines, examples of which can be seen on the site today. A restaurant, art gallery and store are now housed in the historic building. 
  
Jost Van Dyke Preservation Society 
Island: Jost Van Dyke - Great Harbour 
http://www.jvdps.org/ & http://www.sloopnews.org/
Tel: (284) 540-0861 
susan@jvdps.org
Sloop Project: 
In an effort to preserve an important piece of Jost Van Dyke’s maritime tradition, the JVD Preservation Society has embarked on an ambitious plan to build and sail a replica of a Tortola sloop.  The sloop, christened Endeavor, is under construction in Great Harbour.  The building project is an educational effort that involves local school children.  They learn the history of the boats as they help to build the sailing craft from the keel up.  Visitors can view the sloop building project behind Foxy’s bar and visit the Jost Van Dyke Preservation Society’s office at Great Harbour to learn more about the island.  
 
Main Street 
Island: Tortola - Road Town 
In addition to serving as Road Town's main shopping district, Main Street contains several historical landmarks including the Post Office built in the mid 1800s, St. George's Anglican Church, Britannic Hall and the Virgin Islands' Folk Museum. 
 
Mount Healthy Windmill National Park 
Island: Tortola – Mount Healthy 
The 18th century windmill located at Mount Healthy, belonged to the area's wealthiest planner. Slaves harvested and processed raw cane into sugar at this extensive sugar cane cultivation. Other ruins on the property included the boiling house, and remnants of the animal mill round, distillery, hospital, storage shed, and housing, some of which can be seen on private property in the area. 
  
The Noel Lloyd/ Positive Action Movement Park 
Island: Tortola – Wickham's Cay I, Road Town 
This park symbolizes the struggle and opposition of locals to the Bates Hill Agreement which would have prevented locals from accessing this area except for jobs as servants. Pioneer Noel Lloyd championed this cause and the FCO agreed to buy back leases of Wickham’s Cay in 1970. Today, a life size statute of Noel Lloyd and face plates of other members of PAM stands in memory of their efforts. 
  
North Shore Shell Museum 
Island: Tortola - Carrot Bay, West End 
A cluttered museum in Carrot Bay, with thousands of shells on display, as well as boats and various crafts. 
 
Old Government House 
Island: Tortola - Road Town 
The recently refurbished Old Government House, a national landmark, was once the governor's residence. It is now a public museum open Monday through Friday 9AM to 4PM. 
  
RMS Rhone 
Island: Salt Island (Marine Park)
The Rhone was a 310’ Royal Mail Ship that was dashed against the rocks off Salt Island during an 1867 hurricane. Now a National Park, its remains have become a fascinating underwater habitat for marine life. To explore the mysteries properly, bring snorkelling or diving gear. 
  
Road Town Methodist Church 
Island: Tortola - Main Street, Road Town 
The wall of the present chapel was rebuilt and dedicated in 1926 after the previous structure was destroyed by hurricane. Regular services are held there weekly. 
  
Saba Rock Nautical Museum and Gift Shop 
Island: Saba Rock (North Sound)
Owned by renowned diver Bert Kilbride, the museum showcases artefacts from the wreck of The Rhone, as well as other shipwrecks. Unique jewellery and other gifts are for sale. 
www.sabarock.com/museum.html ·  sabarockfun@aol.com
  
Sir Oliva Georges Plaza 
Island: Tortola - Road Town 
This courtyard like area was the site of much commerce and trading in the early 1940-1960’s.  Named are the first BVIslander to be knighted, Sir Oliva Georges, this area houses the Royal Virgin Islands Police Headquarters and other commercial buildings. 
  
St. Phillips Anglican Church 
Island: Tortola - Kingston
Constructed in 1840, St. Phillips is said to be the first church built for liberated Africans in all the Americas and it will undergo a complete restoration in the near future. 
  
Sunday Morning Well 
Island: Tortola - Road Town Area
This landmark symbolizes the area for the emancipation proclamation in 1834.. 
  
Thornton Plantation 
Island: Tortola - Palestina Estate
This plantation was the birthplace of one of Tortola's most famous sons. Architect William Thornton prepared his first plans for the new United States Capitol building here. Ruins of the Thornton family's Pleasant Valley sugar factory still stand. 
  
Vigilant 
Island: Tortola 
Vigilant, a traditionally styled 25-foot wooden boat, is one of just three original Tortola sloops remaining in the BVI. Since the 18th century, sloops such as this have carried trade goods and provided a means of communication amongst the islands. Vigilant was one of the fastest, and a familiar sight on the Sir Francis Drake Channel. 
  
VI Maritime Museum 
Island: Tortola – Paraquita Bay, East End
The Centre offers education programmes focused on marine studies and showcases a series of sloops made in the BVI.  As a means of commerce and trade these relics were important to the fishermen and captains of the day.  Artefacts and portraits of Captains are showcased there. 
www.hlscc.edu.vg/hlsccwebsite/default.aspx  ·  info@hlscc.edu.vg
  
Virgin Island Folk Museum 
Island: Tortola - Main Street, Road Town
Located on Main Street just past The Sir Oliva Georges Plaza, the Virgin Island Folk Museum has some Arawak and Carib pottery and stone tools, including a decorated spindle, wreck of The Rhone and H.M.S. Nymph artefacts, plantation items and reef conservation information. This small museum also sells t-shirts, paintings, maps, and gifts. 
  
Zion Hill Chapel 
Island: Tortola - West End 
An early 19th century chapel, built atop Zion Hill, was the site of celebration on the Day of Emancipation in 1834. After being periodically destroyed by hurricanes, it was replaced with the present Methodist chapel, a fine example of West Indian simplicity built in pasture land at the foot of Zion Hill. It has served both as a church and school.