The city of Kingston had its origin in the aftermath of the 1692 earthquake which destroyed Port Royal, many of whose inhabitants moved to the newly established settlement across the harbour. Over three centuries Kingston itself has suffered many hardships caused by hurricanes, earthquakes, epidemics and fires. This page looks briefly at the major fires which devastated the city, at a time when virtually all its citizens, of all colours and classes, lived closely together below North Street.
1703 Jan 9 - partially rebuilt Port Royal burnt down
1728 great fire at Port Royal
1779 December - most of Savanna-la-Mar burnt down
1780 May 16 - great fire in Kingston
1795 June 6 - great fire in Montego Bay
1808 June - fire in Montego Bay
1815 July 13 - fire at Port Royal
1843 August 26 - fire in Kingston; 'James the Founder's' or 'Matcham's' Fire
1862 'Fisher's Fire' in Kingston; the Fire of 1862 became known as 'Fisher’s Fire' having started in Fisher’s Bakery on Harbour Street.
1875 fire 'originated in the Store in Harbour Street and Water Lane occupied by John MacDonald, Esq., Saddler.'
1882 December 12 - fire in Kingston; 'Feurtado’s Fire' - the fire started at Feurtado's Lumber Yard on Port Royal Street
1907 January 14 - fire and earthquake in Kingston
* The Eagle was a ship recently arrived at Bristol from Jamaica
and then: '1782. Kingston (Jamaica) had 80 houses burned. Loss, £500,000.'
source: 1911, 11th Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica
1815 Port Royal
. . . when the people in the vicinity were at last aware of their awful danger, the entire Foundry premises was already almost consumed, the shingled roof being one mass of flames, spreading in a few minutes to neighbouring wooden buildings housing a saw mill and steam bakery . . .
- the Fire of 1862 was to become known as 'Fisher’s Fire' having started in Fisher’s Bakery on Harbour Street.
This fire 'originated in the Store in Harbour Street and Water Lane occupied by John MacDonald, Esq., Saddler.'
- the fire started at Feurtado's Lumber Yard on Port Royal Street
The fire of 1907 was a direct result of the Earthquake on January 14th.