Falmouth on World Monuments Fund’s ‘at Risk’ List


The historic town of Falmouth in Trelawny has again been placed on the World Monuments Fund’s (WMF) 2004 List of the world’s l00 most at risk historic sites.This is the first year that the WMF has published a list identifying historic sites on every continent in the world.
The “at risk” sites around the globe include Africa and the Middle East, 18 sites; Asia, 16 sites; Europe, 33 sites; the Americas (including the Caribbean), 31 sites; Australia, one site and Antarctica, one site.
Antarctica, Australia, Ecuador, Finland, Palestine, Paraguay, Slovenia, South Africa, Taiwan, and Trinidad and Tobago are listed for the first time. “Many of Falmouth’s early buildings have survived with few alterations. However, hurricanes and lack of maintenance have taken their toll. Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 had caused considerable damage, much of which had not been repaired. Falmouth is strategically located on Jamaica’s North coast, between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, which receives some two million visitors each year, however, the town’s economy is too weak to support community-based revitalisation,” the WMF said of Falmouth.
Falmouth was designated a National Monument by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust in 1996. The Falmouth Restoration Company, which was founded in 1990, has been working to develop the town as a world Heritage site.
The organisation has been working to preserve and restore the town’s historic buildings and its Georgian infrastructure.
Falmouth was listed on the WMF’s Watch in 2000 and again in 2002.
“Further government studies and local conservation training have succeeded in raising civic pride and generating a greater appreciation of the town’s historic resources. The Georgian Society of Jamaica, a leader in local preservation efforts, now intends to launch and raise funds for a more ambitious programme – The Market Street Restoration Project – to restore four significant Georgian buildings and continue the regeneration of Falmouth,” the WMF has said.
Falmouth, which was originally designed in the 1770’s, was considered the town with the best architecture in the western hemisphere. In fact, historic Williamsburg in the United States was modelled on Falmouth.
The World Monuments Watch is a global programme launched in 1995, and its goal is to call attention to imperilled cultural heritage sites around the world, and directs timely financial support to their preservation. A panel of leading international experts selects the List of 100 Most Endangered Sites from nominations submitted to WMF every two years, by governments, individuals and organizations active in the field of cultural preservation.

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