King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences
‘The paradise of the world’: conflict and society in the Caribbean

Winter tourism

A description and illustration of St LuciaA description of St Lucia, from: Frederick A Ober. Winter resorts in southern seas ... [New York?]: published by the Quebec SS Co, [188-?] [FCDO Historical Collection F1611 OBE]This extremely rare publication (no other copy is currently recorded in the UK) promotes what are referred to as ‘the new winter resorts’ to the shivering but leisured New Yorker:

Within a week from New York lie the islands of the Lesser Antilles, where one may enjoy in January the climate of June ... To those wearied with the monotony of aspect of the scenery of Florida, an invitation is extended to make a voyage to the tropics ... to these islands of verdure that glow beneath tropic skies.

The pages on display include a description of the volcanic island of St Lucia, then, as now, noted for its natural beauty. Tourism is now the mainstay of the St Lucian economy but in the1880s facilities for visitors were few.

In fact, readers of Winter resorts in southern seas were left in no doubt that something of a pioneer spirit might be required of them on their trip; St Kitts is described as having ‘ a good eating-house ... but no good hotel as yet’, while in his account of Guadeloupe the author makes the somewhat ambivalent statement:

The hotels in this island are excellent, as West India hotels go.

But if the accommodation might not yet be of the standard expected by wealthy North American visitors, the islands more than compensated for this by their climate and natural beauty. The Quebec Steamship Company ran direct sailings from New York to Bermuda, Puerto Rico (which would become an American colony in 1898), Antigua, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St Lucia, Barbados and Trinidad.

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