1942 – Farm School

Southfield Pen

Cecil was about to leave Southfield and move to the capital, Kingston. “Why was he going to Kingston?”

In the capital there had been a ‘Government Farm School’ operating at Hope Estate, Kingston since 1910. At it’s inception, the aims of the school was to train approximately 12 young men in the “art and science of agricultural.” Cecil enrolled into this Farm School. “Why did he need to learn about agriculture?”

Government Farm School, Hope Estate, Kingston

There was not much work in Jamaica but there were work opportunities now arising in the United States after they had entered the theater of war. Many American farmers had gone to fight, so the government calculated there would be a big shortage of food, with those farmers being away from the fields.

They needed a fresh supply of farm workers from other countries to come in to America to help keep the food chain moving along. The United States chose Jamaican labour to fill this void.

“Who influenced Cecil to go to farm school?” His sister Ida Mae of New York. Under her guidance, Cecil was sent out or taken to that school. Whether Ida Mae took him there or just sponsored him is unsure.

Delightful photo of Mabel, Cecil and Cissy Southfield Pen c1942

Leaving Southfield

The time for Cecil to leave Southfield for Kingston had arrived. It seemed a good moment to celebrate his leaving by having this delightful photograph taken. Wearing their best clothing, Mabel, Cecil and Cissy ventured out onto the well maintained grounds of Southfield Pen.

With the old stone walling surrounding the homestead in the background, Mabel stood proudly alongside her son Cecil. Her young granddaughter, Cissy – who she was now raising – sat with legs dangling on a dining chair.

It is unknown how long Cecil was to study at Kingston. I imagine it would have been for a term or maybe even longer. Gaining those qualifications and farming skills would eventually give Cecil the chance to step on American soil for the first time ever….

“That photograph is one of the most favourite that I have in my collection. My great-grandmother, my great-uncle and my aunt. You can see how beautiful the estate must have been in the early days. I wonder if it was Ida Mae who took the photo? If anyone knows, please drop me a line“

Coming Thursday: War Food

2 thoughts on “1942 – Farm School

  1. Thank you for this invaluable information on your 1942 Hope Farm School experience. Remnants of the 1910 Farm School is to be found on the main campus of the University of Technology, Jamaica which is located at 235 & 237 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6. We are excited about preserving this legacy, one story at a time. In 2010 and 2019 the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) Declared Farm School relics as National monuments (The Gleaner, Thursday, February 28, 2019 B3). Thank you for educating me about the importance of the Farm School to the US as it relates to food supply chain during WWII. May I suggest that you consider co-authoring a manuscript with other alumni on “Stories about Hope Farm School” and consider submitting same to the UTech, Jamaica Press for possible publication.
    Joan Francis (Mrs.)
    Museum and Heritage Preservation Officer
    University of Technology, Jamaica


    1. Hi Joan, thank you for contacting me.

      I’ve been away from the blog for quite some time, but am now just starting to respond to all the comments and messages that I’ve missed.

      I was unaware of the Farm School until I began researching my family history, but found it interesting that My Great Uncle Cecil studied there during the war. I’m just catching up right now but will Email you soon.

      Thanks for visiting To Jamaica and Beyond, glad you found it interesting.



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