Arthur Hutchinson’s abandoned Lime Kiln at Ragged Point, Barbados

To extract sugar from sugar cane Calcium Oxide (CaO) known as lime has to be added to the cane juice. This allows the impurities to precipitate and be removed from the juice. This is done in large settling tanks after the cane juice is heated. The residue, called mud, is filtered out and used to fertilise the cane fields. The lime is made in lime kilns. This is the story of Arthur Hutchinson’s abandoned lime kiln at Ragged Point.

Interior of Arthur Hutchinson's abandoned Lime Kiln at Ragged Point
Interior of Arthur Hutchinson’s abandoned Lime Kiln at Ragged Point. Pieces of coal are still visible.

Lime, as it is called, was made by heating coral rock which is made up of Calcium Carbonate CaCO3.  In late December and January the smell of the lime kilns signalled that the crop was about to start.

Mr. Arthur Hutchinson worked at Pool and Kendall Plantations. He was dissatisfied with the treatment of the overseers and tried to form an Overseers Union to represent those working in the factories and plantations.

The Plantation owners (the Barbadian plantocracy) heard of this and told him that if the Union was formed he would be fired, which he was. The Estate Owners made sure that he could not get another job in the island.

Mr. Hutchinson then purchased the Lime Kiln at Ragged Point to supply Three Houses and the other Sugar Factories in St. Philip. To get back at him a Lime Kiln was built at Three Houses. This forced the closure of Mr. Hutchinson’s lime kiln operation.

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP), led by Sir Grantley Adams, won the election the following year in December 1948. Mr Adams knew about these events and offered Mr. Hutchinson a job as liaison officer for the workers who went to Florida to cut canes and pick fruit.

David Marshall, who grew up at East Point, told me this story about Mr Hutchinson.

“Mr Hutchinson  lived  in  Marley  Vale in 1946. It was the  first  year  after  the  war  that the  blackout  was  lifted and  you  could have outdoor lights. The old lady   was  showing  baby John (better known as  Chimp)  the pretty  lights   at  Three  Houses when this  shot  rang  out  and  landed  between  my sister, Dorothy,  and Chimp.  Well  we had no  phone  and  the  old  man (aka The Okra King) could not  drive  at  night. We battened down the  house,  inside  shutters  and  all,  until  morning. At daybreak we found the 303 bullet  in  the  verandah. The old man then went to District C Police Station.  When  the  police  came they  said  the only person  that  had  a  303  was Hutchinson and they  went to  his  house  in  Marley  Vale.  The  police  soon  came  back   with  him  and  he  admitted  that  his dogs  had  a fight in the  back  yard  and  he  discharged  his  rifle  in  the  air  to  scare  them and the  shot  must  have come down in the verandah. He  and  the  old  man  then  shook  hands  and  that  was the  end  of  that.

Mr. Hutchinson liked guns and from the many stories I have heard he was not afraid to fire off a few shots.

Arthur Hutchinson was not the only white Barbadian to run afoul of the elite Barbadian plantocracy.

In 1949 Atholl Edwin Seymour Lewis, known as T. T. Lewis, a member of parliament with the Adams BLP Administration, was dismissed by his employers. This caused outrage among the working class of the island. After weeks of demonstrations, called the “Lewis Demonstrations”, he was represented by Sir Grantley Adams at a Board of Enquiry. Mr. Lewis was not reinstated but paid severance of one month for every year he worked and his pension contributions with interest.

Ref: “Grantley Adams & the Social Revolution” by F.A. Hoyos

Responses to “Arthur Hutchinson’s abandoned Lime Kiln at Ragged Point, Barbados”

  1. Justin Browne

    Visited this in June 2019. Thanks so much for the information.

  2. Jim Webster

    I visited the kiln for the first time today. Very interesting and glad to find this article to further explain about the kiln and it’s history. Another well researched Bajan Things story.

  3. Carson D. Lorde

    Does anyone know of any links with pictures of Three Houses Factory? Would love to know more about that factory.

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