Plymouth. There's nothing like it in the Americas. It was our capital for more than 300 years until it was laid to waste by the volcanic eruption of 1995. Today's ruins are a humbling reminder of nature's awesome power. Contact our Visitor Centre to take a tour with certified guides and taxi drivers, and experience this surreal landscape.
Also called the Church of England, St. Anthony’s was built in 1636 by the first Governor, Anthony Briskett. It was a landmark church that gave the name Church Road to the Northern part of Parliament Street. It was rebuilt several times after suffering damages by earthquakes and hurricanes, before it was finally abandoned after Plymouth was evacuated in 1996 following volcanic eruptions. It had a striking architectural design, elaborate pipe organ, and beautiful wooden pews, enough to seat up to one thousand people at a time.
The Flora Fountain Hotel was built and opened in 1984 by Mr. Manu Chandiramani, who arrived on island in the 1960s. The hotel, which was named after the picturesque fountain in the centre of its courtyard, had a circular architectural design and stood prominently on Church Road in the heart of Plymouth. It had 18 rooms, a duty free shop, bar and restuarant.
The Molyneaux Building was built by John Molyneaux in 1989 and served as the corporate office for Cable and Wireless and the Government’s Audit Department. The four-storey building was the tallest one in Plymouth, and was the only one made entirely of concrete. Most buildings at the time were made of concrete blocks with wooden roofs.
Less restricted than Plymouth is Richmond Hill, once an upper middle class neighbourhood. Trants and St. Patrick’s remain in the forbidden part of the Exclusion Zone and can only be looked upon from afar – the former from Jack Roy Hill, and the latter by boat.
The former museum, a historic stone sugar mill, is still standing, as well as stranded dream homes, now in disrepair. Visitors can wander through the Montserrat Springs Hotel, which had a natural hot spring as part of its spa offerings.
Although a small village, Trants had agricultural importance for the island. Here, sugar, sea island cotton and limes were grown, owing to the wide expanse of flat land. The lay of the land also allowed this to be the site of Montserrat’s first airport, Blackburne. Of keen interest to archaeologists were the ruins of a large Amerindian village which historians believe existed up to the last time the volcano erupted hundreds of years ago. A chimney which belonged to the Trants Sugar Plantation’s boiler house can still be seen above the buried town.
This village was perhaps the most popular among tourists for its St. Patrick’s Week celebrations and Great Alps Waterfall. It also offered a direct roadway for close-up viewing of the Soufriere Hills crater to see its boiling water and fumaroles. Residents who grew up here proudly remember its bamboo forest, where the island’s endemic bird, the Montserrat Oriole, was first discovered; its wealth of black pineapple plantations; and hosting the island’s first deep water harbour.