Plantation House was built on St Helena in 1792 as a country residence for the Governor of the Honorable East India Company.
Plantation House is now the seat of the Governor of St Helena and its two dependencies, the Islands of Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.
Plantation House is a stone built Georgian house with large symmetrical windows and an entrance porch. The house has 35 rooms, many of them are very large and connected by passages with archways. There is a large front hall, dining room and drawing room. The house has three staircases, the main one and the two back ones. Upstairs is spacious enough to include a private bedroom, dressing-room, bathroom accommodation and two sitting-rooms for the Governor. Downstairs is the playroom, formally the billard-room, but the billard table, once Napoleon’s, was returned to Longwood in 1934. These rooms are connected by the kitchen and staff quarters. The Govenor’s Room is now in the west wing of the house, but at one time, certainly in the middle of the last century the Governor used the large room in the east wing, now called the General’s Room.
There is a large area of grass in front of the house, enclosed by green railings and is traditionally called the lawn, but as the grass is rough and the ground not really level, it is more like a paddock, and is now used as such. This is where Jonathan, the world’s oldest animal, a giant tortoise stays.
House tours takes place on Tuesdays at 11am, and gives a full showing of both the ground and first floors of the residence. Lasting approximately one hour, tour guide Joyce Williams walks visitors through the 200 years of history of Plantation House, with a quick viewing of the four tortoises: Jonathan, Emma, David and Fredricka. After the tour there will be a serving of St Helena coffee or a cup of tea in the new coffee shop where souvenirs are also available for purchase.
Tickets are £10 for visitors.
Visitors are also welcome to visit and browse the library at Plantation on Wednesdays from 10:30am to 2pm. The library has been referred to as ‘the heart of the house’ with iconic bookcases holding over 2,000 volumes. This includes a serving of tea and coffee next to the fire place, lit in colder weather, under the carved marble mantelpiece.
Tickets are £5.