Waterloo Guest House – 44 High Street, Black River
Nowhere in Black River has a more interesting history than Waterloo Guest House.
The house was built in 1819, built mainly from materials imported from England and named after the battle of Waterloo. It was originally owned by the Shakespeare family (who were believed to be related to the great bard). The Shakespeare’s sold the property to John Leyden, an English racehourse breeder. Leyden bought the first car to Jamaica and in 1893 made Waterloo the first home in Jamaica to be supplied with electricity. He then went on to wire the whole town with electricity, making Black River the only town in Jamaica with domestic electricity. However, when the family’s fortunes changed the electricity plant had to close. The town then went without electricity until 1936.
Black River High School
In 1940 the house was sold to Dr. Frank Ferdinand. Dr. Ferdinand’s wife established a school (the “Black River High School”) which was operational between 1945 and 1960, producing many great scholars.
Waterloo Guest House
Waterloo was converted in to a guest house in 1972 when Stewart’s daughter, Mrs. Carolyn Allen returned to Jamaica from the USA. The original building contains six bedrooms but a new wing, housing 16 rooms was added in 1992.