Boer Camp Pasture – St. Philip

Part of the proposed area for the prison camp.
Part of the proposed area for the prison camp.

The name Boer comes from the Dutch and Afrikaans word for farmer.

In the 1880’s and the early 1900’s (before the start of WW1), England was involved in a bitter, bloody and fruitless war against the Boer settlers in South Africa. The Boers were fighting to maintain their dominance over their settlements.

During this conflict the British took many prisoners and removed some of the farmers from their land. They were placed in prison camps.

The British were always worried that these prisoners would break out en masse and rejoin the fighting. They made plans to relocate large numbers of them to other commonwealth countries such as Bermuda, St. Helena, Celon and India. About 26,000 prisoners were sent overseas.

They planned to send some of these to Barbados and started to build a prison on a parcel of land in St. Philip to the East of Fortescue and between Skeet’s bay and Cummings Point and Mastic Gully.

Fortunately the war came to an end in 1902 before any prisoners were relocated to Barbados. The huts that were built were sold off and used for houses at Bayfield overlooking Skeet’s Bay.

Looking East towards Ragged Point
Looking East towards Ragged Point

The pasture is still referred to as Boer Camp Pasture. During the early 1950’s when the USA navy was looking for a location to establish a naval base this site was considered but St. Lucy was used instead.

In the middle 60’s this area was used as a go-kart track. I remember going there for several meetings. I do not remember it being used for car racing. Go-kart events were later held at Louthers plantation.

It was also used as a rifle range  for the Barbados Cadets after the one at the Aquatic Gap was closed and before Paragon was opened.

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For more detailed information on the Boer War see the BBC History – The Boer Wars.

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