Vale Royal

Vale Royal in March 2024, and in better times

After years of neglect by the Jamaican Government, Vale Royal is in a disastrous state. In January, the FGSJ team were informed of its condition and tried to gain access in the hope that we could provide advice but an appointment was never offered.

Vale Royal has been a government property since 1929. Originally purchased as a home for Colonial Secretaries, it became, at Independence, the official residence of Ministers of Finance. In 1981, it became the official home of the Prime Minister when Edward Seaga, who was both P.M. and Minister of Finance, chose to live there.

The property was established shortly after the English captured Jamaica from the Spanish. The present building probably dates from the 18th century when “a capital mansion” was recorded on a conveyance. For nearly 200 years, the property was known as Prospect Pen but came to be known as Vale Royal by the middle of the 19th century.

The house was damaged by the 1907 earthquake and restored by its then owner, Ernest Nuttall, son of Archbishop Enos Nuttall. It was restored once more before Edward Seaga when a Friends of Jamaica House appeal fund was established to restore Vale Royal and refurbish Jamaica House.

Vale Royal has been an important house on the Kingston landscape for hundreds of years. The house should be accessible to Jamaica’s citizens and, with its large grounds, it could be a valuable “green lung” in an increasingly built up city.

Rosie Dodd