Wednesday 17 June 2020

Postcard of the Day No. 100 - Orange Street, Kingston, Jamaica

British rule in Jamaica had more than half a century to go when in 1905, man of few words, Herbert, scrawled his brief message on the front of the card and posted it to J O’Shea at the Great Eastern Omnibus Company in Leyton, Essex. The electric tram service we see here between King Street and Orange Street had been running since 1899 and was praised by visitors for its efficiency. A Canadian controlled company (West India Electric Co.) operated the service using tramcars similar to those used in Montreal. 1905 was also the year that Marcus Garvey arrived in Kingston and found employment as a printer. Less than two years later, in January 1907 the city would be largely destroyed in an enormous earthquake in which over a thousand people died. Sound system pioneer, Prince Buster (1938-2016) was born in Orange Street and recorded his own instrumental tribute, Freezing Up Orange Street and a vocal version, Shaking Up Orange Street. In the 1960s Orange Street was the centre for Ska and Rocksteady recording where rival producers and studios battled for supremacy.

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