The Heritage Department’s mission is:
to preserve and protect the Outstanding Universal Value of the Antigua Naval Dockyard and Related Archaeological Sites and the historical sites and features of significance to Antigua and Barbuda. The department aims to continue developing and expanding elements of the heritage tourism product whilst educating the wider populace.
The military ruins along the Ridge above the Dockyard are an integral part of the World Heritage Site and our public interpretation program. The spaces were used by European and African soldiers, enslaved labourers, women, men, and children for more than 70 years. In 2019, the ruins at the Blockhouse were evaluated and a conservation plan drawn up to establish a stabilization and interpretation program for that area.
The World Heritage Inscription reads:
“The Antigua Naval Dockyard and its Related Archaeological Sites consists of a group of Georgian Naval structures, set within a walled enclosure, on a naturally-occurring series of deep narrow bays surrounded by highlands on which defensive fortifications were constructed. The Dockyard and its related facilities were built at a time when European nations were battling for supremacy of the seas to obtain control over the lucrative sugar-producing islands of the Eastern Caribbean. Antigua’s location as a front-line naval dockyard facility gave the British navy a strategic advantage over its rivals at a crucial point in history.
On the 14th November 1961, Nelson’s Dockyard was opened as a heritage site by The Friends of English Harbour. Using photographs in the Dockyard Museum Collection from the 1940s and 1950s, we show how the Dockyard has changed over time, transforming it from a historic ruin to an internationally recognized heritage site.
On the 8th of March 1744, an explosion ripped through English Harbour. A tent storing gunpowder ignited, killing eight enslaved African men. Their names were Billy, London, James Soe, Caramatee, Quamono, Dick, Joe, Scipio, and Johnno.
Named after the date of the explosion, the 8th of March Project is a collaborative, community oriented, interdisciplinary research project, headed by the Heritage Department at the National Parks. The goals of the project are to recover and commemorate the names and lives of the enslaved and free Africans who laboured in the Dockyard and lived in English Harbour, and to celebrate the continuous cultural landscape that is the English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour communities.