Longwood House Part 2

After Napoleon’s burial on May 9, 1821, his French entourage left St Helena within days.  Longwood House itself fell into neglect, reverting into an agricultural property.  Napoleon’s own rooms were used to store farm equipment, while termites demolished much of the rest of the structure.  Hearing of its sorry state in 1854, Napoleon III (our Napoleon’s nephew and the ruler of France from 1852-1870) began negotiations for its transfer from Queen Victoria’s Britain to France.  In 1858, France paid £7,100 to England for Longwood House and the Valley of the Tomb. Since then, there has been a French representative on British St Helena.  Today’s Honorary Consul, Michel Dancoisne-Martineau has held the position since 1987, and is credited with the properties’ loving restoration.  He graciously arranged for me to have private visits in Longwood House this past week.

But there is much work to be done. If you are interested in contributing, there is an international fund in support of Longwood House’s restoration: Save Longwood Fund.



  • Helen
    May 24, 2011 - 11:56 pm | Permalink

    Sounds fabulous in every way. I’m so happy that your journey has been so much more than you had even anticipated. If you could, would you stay on the island another 9 days? Did you see Jonathan, the giant tortoise? We are eager to read more and hear more about all that you have seen and done and heard. Thank you for sharing the beautiful photos, too.

  • mrodenberg
    May 25, 2011 - 4:07 am | Permalink

    Yes, we saw Jonathan and he seems to be doing well, especially for his reputed 179 years of age. I don’t know that I would stay another nine days, but I’d stay another couple if the sun would shine. Even though it’s been a great trip, I’m ready to get home to concentrate on writing!

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