Sugar Hill — Bajan Village Life

Sugar Hill village entered my life in Nov 1965 when we moved to live at Lammings, St Joseph.

One thousand feet above sea-level was another world - you could feel the temperature cool the few degrees that made it impossible to be too hot there.

The breeze that crossed those hills seemed to have a life force in it that made life there very close to heaven....

Sugar Hill, St Joseph

I loved the freedom of the country - driving the Anglia in the cart roads around the house, exploring the gully below the house at Lammings, stopping at the shops in the village and getting cheeze or corn–beef cutters with good Bajan hot sauce.

A few years later I had settled on my photographic path forward so in 1970 I went to Guildford, England to study photography. 

I was very fortunate to have made a trip home for 6 wks over Dec 1971 and Jan '72 (seems I also returned Dec 1972 - Jan 1973) and shot the photos in this collection - my major project for graduation about the Bajan lifestyle and Sugar Hill.

The images below are from the scans of the hard copy 12x14" album I made in 1973. The cover here is a single page full bleed and the other pages are spreads - enjoy! These were mainly shot on Kodacolor color negative film and I think I shot a roll or two of Kodachrome - not sure if the 25 ASA or 64.

Click in the image grid below to open larger images - enjoy!

Off to Market, Sugar Hill 1976 bag4-12

Sugar Hill - Major Project 1971-73 -

Click in this Window to

View Images as Shot by Roll

mp05 721210 0014 An Ocean of Umbrellas - This was a multi-denominational religious service held at the Garrison Savannah Dec 10th 1972
  • Great project in the photo journal of Sugar Hill and Braggs Hill.
    These bring back wonderful memories of my childhood.
    Thank you for your the extent to which you went in preserving these pictures.

  • Happy New Year! Been working on my computer – needed to put in a 1TB SSD so am having to do some work to get it all working properly – plan on adding more of the Sugar Hill project photos and others in the next few weeks. Hope your Old Year’s Night was great!

  • Hello everyone, Just uploaded rolls # 3 and 4 from the Major project shoot – these are first gen scans so please forgive color and other problems. I wanted to get these some of these up before Christmas – 51 years ago! Hope you all enjoy whats here – just another 30 rolls to go!

    • Burleigh, this is David Watts from Sugar Hill. So happy that you have posted these photos. I see my brothers and my sister and they bring back such great memories. You would take me and my brothers and other guys to Bathsheba to learn how to surf. You have no idea how wonderful it is to come across these pictures. I look forward to seeing the next round.

      • David – this is so great to be in touch! Hope you and all the family and friends are doing well. I am so happy to be able to start getting these up so you all can retrieve a few memories of the people and times of Sugar Hill in the 70s. I really still think of Sugar Hill as heaven, but like all life I’m sure that there were hard times for everyone at some point, but there was such a loving and happy attitude from everyone that still touches my heart. I hope that we can get down to visit in the not too distant future.
        So what have you been up? Is Bernadette still in Boston? Are your parents still alive.
        Will try to get more up soon. Looking forward to talking more and hearing your news.

        • Hi Craig, this is David Watts. The girl to the left is my sister Denise, the other girl is my sister Sharon, the guy to the right is my brother Peter, and the guy to the top left is my brother Richard, unfortunately I am not in that particular picture, but I am in the one with Pat Paris. We are planning to come down on the 2nd week of September, of 2023. We hope that you can come, it would be great to see you and your family.

          • Thanks David – I know that Denise is on Facebook – so good to now know your names! Sept of 2023 sounds like a dream! We will be looking at what we can swing. What news of Coral – hope she is doing well.

  • Just put these up – this is Roll #2 of the major project – mainly the guys at Mrs. Parris’ shop in Sugar Hill.
    Please forgive some of the blotches – the colors had gone quite bad or the scans were not too good. I will try the scans on some of this project again

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  • The people with the baskets ,ready for the market look like the Taitts, (Herman Taitt & Son Yard family) and the woman walking in front of Riley’s Shop is Pearl Best

    • Hey Arri – I’m wondering if Pearl Best might be related to Vernon Best who lived on Yearwood Rd – he is in the album dressed in his church robes getting ready to go the the huge event that was held at the Garrison that’s also in the album – that would have been Dec ’71

      • I am starting to think that the Major project was actually shot between Dec 1972 and Jan 1973 and not a year earlier as originally thought! know that some of the photos were from 1971, but most might be ’72-’73.
        Have looked through my old passports to set the time line of my visits, and was surprised to find I had visited in Dec ’71 to Jan ’72 and then again the following year – had thought I had only been back ’71- ’72.

  • I knew the names of several people in your photos. Is there a way to view more of your photos of scenes or people you photograph in Sugar Hill St.Joseph? Also, do you have any photos of yourself while you were living in Lammings?

    • Hi Errol – great to hear from you – I have many more photos from that time – a bunch are the photos that did not make it into the major project album but that will be perfect to put up here. I need to go through the scans of my original negatives and see if they will be good enough – I prefer to start with the best I can get out of the original negative or transparency. But I was pretty happy with the output of the album and the prints have held up well.

    • At Mrs. Paris’ shop. I have a few of Bucky – will have to work on getting those up but it might take a while (that’s why I decided to show the original album as it was easier to get out.

  • Incredible scenes. I think that is Dave Best in the red pants. Can’t wait to see the other Sugar Hill photos. The lovely baskets, a crafting tradition we can revive. Our carefree play. Such innocence. It warms the soul. Thank you for sharing.

    We have a FB page called “St. Joseph cyber reunion”. Please join us

    • Hi Sandra – so nice to hear from you! Glad that you recognise Dave Best – I will be working on the older photos from Sugar Hill as I continue to scan my images and get them viewable online. Just went over to ‘St. Joseph cyber reunion’ – look forward to further connections. Did you grow up in Sugar Hill – I still miss it! We lived at Lammings from 1965 to 1977. Are you in Barbados or out and about somewhere else?

      • I was born in Braggs Hill but moved to St.Michael during mu high school days. As I write this I just visited Braggs Hill and met the last of the guys I grew up with.
        We reminisced of the old folks who kept us in check as “the Village raised us”.
        They are long gone but we remember them well.
        Gone too are the friends we went to school with but the wonderful memories we made still linger.
        It was awesome seeing the changes made, but even with that change, my friend and I still remember where every tree was planted that produced the fruits and food we ate.
        I had planned this visit to see my old friend Trevor and talk about our lives growing up in Braggs Hill and it was indeed a pleasure.

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