JM | Aug 8, 2022

Save Ormsby Hall: Petition launched to protect historic cultural building

Tamoy Ashman

Tamoy Ashman / Our Today

Ormsby Hall and Laura Facey’s Zinc Walking Tree sculpture on the outside. (Photo: Lauren Facey)

Jamaican artists have launched a petition for Ormsby Memorial Hall to become an arts centre in downtown Kingston.

This comes after an announcement that the building is to be demolished or sold after years of neglect.

For many years, Ormsby Hall served as a performance space, particularly in the 1930s, where music recitals took place. It is also said that musicians such as Bob Marley and Don Drummond would often practise there, making it a building loaded with significant cultural memories.

Blogger Emma Lewis, on her blog, The Petchary made an appeal to the Ministry of Tourism, stating: “Tourists are not all ‘sun, sea and sand’ people.”

“Why not seek to preserve a building, an artefact, a work of art that has intrinsic value? Why demolish a building that has value not only for visitors to take a look at, but for the Jamaican community – something to be proud of? Grants are available; apply for them. Devon House in Kingston – which is uptown – is a major attraction; does it have to be the only one? What about downtown?” said Lewis.

Petition signers also made their own appeal.

Michelle Neita stated that Ormsby Hall must be saved “for history’s sake and for the sake of the arts”.

“I was impressed with the space, but saddened by its deteriorating state. I do trust that the Anglican Church can be convinced and assisted to save the building rather than sell it to commercial interests to build an office complex,” shared Christine Marrett.

The petition, started by Noah Levy a supporter of the initiative, currently has 641 signatures. To sign the petition, click here.


What To Read Next