The Ticthfield Peninsula, together with Navy Island, separates the East and West Harbours in the parish of Portland. Its colourful history dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries, telling tales of forts, celebrities, grand hotels and sweet bananas.
The first British settlers settled on the peninsula in the 17th century, and later established Fort George on the peninsula in 1729, as the British troops in war with the Windward Maroons requested additional soldiers as reinforcement. The fort was shaped like an arrow with walls seven feet thick and five feet high. Three mounted canons original to the property are still present, and were restored by the Portland Parish Council in 1967. Today the Titchfield High School occupies what was once the fort's barracks.
Port Antonio became the mecca for banana production in the late 1900's with the establishment of the banana industry in the town, and the route of trade from Jamaica to the eastern seaboard of the United States, by Captain Lorenzo Dow Baker. With the development of the industry came the need for accommodations as Port Antonio saw increasing numbers of overseas visitors. In 1895 Captain Baker built the original Titchfield Hotel atop the Titchfield Peninsula, a modest property with a main house and cottages. In 1905 however Baker demolished the original and rebuilt the Titchfield Hotel to what later became international acclaim, as one of the grandest hotels in the Western Hemisphere at that time. The hotel boasted over 400 rooms, 600 ft. of piazza and modern conveniences rarely found in hotels at that time. The genesis of tourism in Jamaica is attributed not only to the town of Port Antonio but also to the significant appeal created by the Titchfield Hotel.
Later in the 1930's, the devastating effects of the Panama disease on the crop caused the banana industry to decline and with it, went tourism as well. Port Antonio's charm was rediscovered with the arrival of the flamboyant Errol Flynn, who purchased the Titchfield Hotel and Navy Island in the 1950's. The resort area quickly became a hideaway for celebrities, as Flynn entertained friends like Marilyn Munroe, Katherine Hepburn, Tony Curtis, Lou Costello among many others.
Sadly in 1969 the Titchfield Hotel was destroyed by fire. Today all that remains are ruins of the property, reminders of the grandeur of the one of the world's finest hotels.
Located on the Titchfield Peninsula are outstanding examples of the architectural styles prevalent during the various periods of development of the town of Port Antonio. Take a look around and make note of the Victorian New England, Jamaican Georgian, and Victorian style gingerbread houses throughout the area.
Errol Flynn, the handsome Australian born Hollywood star, fell in love with Jamaica, and is said to have described the island as more beautiful than any woman he had ever known.
The Errol Flynn Marina on the Titchfield Peninsula houses 32 fixed dockage births and is primarily called on by yachts. The marina has several shops, restaurants and a beach and is a regular hangout spot for both locals and visitors.