The 1,000 acres which comprise Prospect Plantation were purchased by Sir Harold Mitchell in 1936.
Sir Harold was born in Scotland on May 21, 1900 and first visited Jamaica in 1936.
His affection for Jamaica began when he was a small boy, inspired by his well-travelled uncle Paton who told tales of earthquakes, multi-coloured humming birds and the buccaneers of Port Royal. Paton presented Sir Harold with exotic gifts of parrots and, even rarer in Edwardian Scotland, grapefruit.
Later, another of Sir Harold’s uncles, Arthur, who owned a plantation in Jamaica, notified his nephew of an estate for sale. Prospect Plantation was purchased by Sir Harold in 1936 without his ever having laid eyes on it.
The estate covered almost 1,200 acres; rising from its mile long sea frontage to a height of nearly 1,000 feet. The Great House, situated on a prominent hill overlooking the Caribbean Sea, was built in the 18th century as a single storey square fort. A second storey was added in the nineteenth century to make it habitable.
In 1947, Sir Harold married and arrived at the Great House with his bride, Mary Mitchell (née Pringle). Over the years spent in Jamaica, Sir Harold and Lady Mitchell established a custom of inviting visiting friends to plant trees on the plantation. They hosted heads of state, royalty and diplomats. Amongst the dignitaries were Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, HRH Prince Phillip and US Ambassador to the UN Andrew Young. There remains today a large Jamaican mahogany, near the entrance to the Great House, which was planted by Sir Winston Churchill in 1953.
Sir Harold established large areas of the estate with crops such as Jamaican pimento (all spice), coconut, lime, banana, pineapple, coffee and sugar cane which thrived alongside native hardwood trees, primarily mahogany and cedar. Many of these crops have been maintained and form part of the daily Prospect Plantation tour which is open to guests and visitors alike.
Prospect College was founded in 1956 by Sir Harold Mitchell. The college is located on the Prospect Plantation and provides full scholarships to 30 boys. The school is run on semi-military lines specializing in IT training and academic subjects. www.prospect-college.com »