The History of the Phoenix Foundry (Dome) in Falmouth
The Phoenix Foundry or the Dome, as it is popularly called, is a unique, historic structure in Falmouth. Situated at the corner of Tharpe Street and Harbour Street, the unique structure will certainly force a first-time visitor to ask: “what is that?”
The structure was once a foundry, which is a place for moulding or casting metal. The Phoenix Foundry was constructed in 1810 and is one of the oldest industrial complexes in the island that still stands.
Back in its heyday as the busiest port in Jamaica, when sugar was king, the foundry was used to repair broken metalwork from the ships which came to dock in Falmouth Harbour. Back then, the main areas of trade were in slaves, sugar and rum.
The sugar estates around the parish were also well served by the Phoenix Foundry, as it repaired pans, boilers and other sugar factory equipment.
The foundry was also used to make bedsteads for the British soldiers at the nearby Fort Balcarres. The fort, which is now the home of the Falmouth All-Age (Barracks School), was built in 1811, one year after the foundry was constructed. It was built to protect the Falmouth Harbour from attacks.
Glass and Ceramics
The kiln at the Phoenix Foundry in Falmouth, Jamaica, also manufactured glass and ceramics for export. This is evidenced by both the dome shape of the foundry and the fact that ceramic and glass artefacts were also found there. This is in addition to copper, iron and lead that have been found from excavations.
The Phoenix Foundry
The next time you see the ‘Dome’ in Falmouth, then you know it is the Phoenix Foundry. It is rich in history, dating back to the days of the slave trade.