A Better Day - Chattel House

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A Better Day

By (author)  Sidsel Jorgensen
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Book Description

A photo diary of present and past

 

I suppose they were looking for a BETTER DAY when my small ancestral family left for Barbados in 1885.

 

As a photographer I am interested in old family photographs. And when I realized that the small boy standing by his father side in the picture that sparked this story was the same person I knew as my great-grandfather, I got very curious. He was still little when he died in 1965, but no longer a boy. He had seen other days, other places, he was full of stories.

 

His mother had died during their stay in Barbados. According to family lore, she fell down the stairs in their house. I wondered; what stairs, where was Barbados, and why did they leave Norway to live on an island far away?

 

I didn`t set sail like they did. Pregnant with their second son they spent weeks on a sail ship from Le Havre to Bridgetown. My trip was some comfortable hours with wine, video and well prepared food.

 

Is it possible to find her grave after all these years, and their house? On google earth I found the cemetery. I was curious to find more.

 

I showed a picture of their house, taken on the day of her burial, to Harriet Pierce at the library of Barbados Museum. With the help from Richard Goddard the house was identified as Kensington House of Kensington Estate, just opposite the cricket museum at Fontabelle Road. It was torn down in 1995 to give way for the new cricket stadium - Kensington Oval. We also found out that the photographer W.G. Cooper was one of the first to establish a studio in Bridgetown and has left an interesting legacy of images from this period.

 

Old plantation houses are now open to the public under the headline OPEN HOUSE, which in a way feeds the imagination with ideas of how it might have been in former days. The rum is the same, and the effect of it...

 

I found a beautiful island with people who are said to be very religious, and I think -no wonder you believe in God if you live in Paradise.