Matthew Parker: Goldeneye - Where Bond Was Born

  Goldeneye: Pictures  

Belle VueAn idealized portrayal by J. B. Kidd of Bellevue Great House above Kingston. Here Fleming stayed with Ivar Bryce in 1943 and fell in love with Jamaica. >>

Banana Transportation


<< Bananas became a mainstay of the Jamaican economy in the 1930s, with Oracabessa (below right), next to Goldeneye, a key port.



Newspaper clipping<< The Gleaner announces the arrival of Ian and Ann in Jamaica in 1948. They weren’t very good at keeping their adulterous affair private

King's House

^^ King’s House, the Governor’s residence and the centre of British colonial power in Jamaica.

Huggins ladies

Molly Huggins, the wife of the 1943-1950 Governor, with her daughters. She organized mass weddings of Jamaicans to improve the morals of the island while herself carrying out high-profile extra-marital affairs. >>

IF and Barriffe

<< Ian at Goldeneye with Felix Barriffe, his gardener.

1951 0811 picturegoer patrice wymore

Errol Flynn and Patrice Wymore who married in 1950. Flynn was the first Hollywood superstar to discover Jamaica. His wife Patrice would live on the island for the rest of her life.

Jamaica Inn

^^ Tourist postcards from the 1950s: Jamaica Inn, Sunset Lodge, Tower Isle. Jamaica was marketed as an unspoiled paradise; locals appeared in promotional materials only as waiters or picturesque peasants.

MarilynMarilyn Monroe honeymooning with Arthur Miller at the Jamaica Inn in 1957>>

ruined sugar factory

^^Alec Guinness in the pool of Noël Coward’s Blue Harbour in 1959. From the late 1940s to the early 1960s, Jamaica
was the first choice of international celebrities and the Jet Set for their holidays.

ruined sugar factory<<Fleming loved what he saw as the romantic melancholy of Jamaica’s many ruins from the heyday of the sugar empire.

negril before development

Negril beach before it was developed as a tourist mecca. In Live and Let Die, Bond is brought here by Quarrel to prepare for his mission. After a week, ‘all the scales of big city life had fallen away from him. ’>>


IF and Roper<< Ian with Barrington Roper, who became his guide to the wonders and dangers of the reef, which would inspire the very best Bond scenes.


Prime Minister Anthony Eden bids farewell to local dignitaries after his recuperative stay at Goldeneye during the height of the Suez Crisis. The debacle ended Britain’s pretension to imperial power. >>


1950s street scene

<< A Kingston street in the late 1950s. After Suez, there was a rush to offload colonies, including Jamaica.


IF and BB on beach

Ian with Blanche Blackwell on Goldeneye’s beach in 1958. Ann Fleming was by now calling her ‘Ian’s Jamaican wife’ >>

last salute

<< The last salute: just prior to independence, the commander of the last British garrison in Jamaica bids farewell to the governor.

old IF with lobster

Fleming started having health problems in his early forties, but he always found ‘Doctor Jamaica’ reviving.


Firefly today

^^Firefly, Noël Coward’s writing retreat high above Port Maria harbour. Coward was Fleming’s closest friend in Jamaica. The house is kept just as Coward left it, with fading sepia pictures on the walls of some of its many illustrious guests, including Charlie Chaplin, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, James Mason, Sophia Lauren and many others.

Cabarita island

The view from Firefly takes in Cabrita Island, which inspired Mr Big’s Isle of Surprise in Live and Let Die. >>

for sale sign<< After Caspar Fleming’s death, the family were keen to sell Goldeneye. It would be bought by Blanche Blackwell’s son, Chris.

Goldeneye is now an Island Outpost hotel and the closest thing on the island to the Jet Set glory days of the 1950s. For more information see

Modern goldeneye from sea

Modern goldeneye

Modern goldeneye

modern GE inside

sunken garden today

©Matthew Parker 2014