Longwood, Saint Helena

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16 Napoleons exole St Helena June1970.jpg
Longwood House in Longwood
District map of Saint Helena.png
Map of Saint Helena's districts
Sovereign state United Kingdom
British overseas territory Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Island Saint Helena
  Total12.9 sq mi (33.4 km2)
  Total802 (district)
  Density55/sq mi (21.4/km2)
Time zone UTC+0 (GMT)

Longwood is a settlement and a district of the British island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic.

Saint Helena island in the South Atlantic Ocean

Saint Helena is a volcanic tropical island in the South Atlantic Ocean, 4,000 kilometres (2,500 mi) east of Rio de Janeiro and 1,950 kilometres (1,210 mi) west of the mouth of the Cunene River, which marks the border between Namibia and Angola in southwestern Africa. It is part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Saint Helena measures about 16 by 8 kilometres and has a population of 4,534. It was named after Saint Helena of Constantinople.



In 2011 it had a population of 802, compared with a population of 960 in 1998. [1] The area of the district is 33.4 km2. [2] The large district (second only to Blue Hill) includes the settlement of Hutt's Gate, with its St Matthew's church. The district also contains the island's only existing golf course.

Blue Hill, Saint Helena Place in Saint Helena

Blue Hill is one of eight districts of the island of Saint Helena, part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is sparsely populated and comprises the western third of the island. The district is entirely agricultural with no industrial activity.

Saint Matthew, Hutts Gate

Saint Matthew is a church on the island of Saint Helena and is part of the Diocese of St Helena. It is situated in Hutt's Gate in the Longwood district. The church opened in 1862. It is designated as a Grade II listed building.

Golf course Series of holes designed for the game of golf

A golf course is the grounds where the game of golf is played. It comprises a series of holes, each consisting of a teeing ground, a fairway, the rough and other hazards, and a green with a flagstick ("pin") and hole ("cup"). A standard round of golf consists of 18 holes. Most courses contain 18 holes; some share fairways or greens, and a subset has nine holes, played twice per round. Par-3 courses consist of nine or 18 holes all of which have a par of three strokes.

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Map showing Longwood's location

The district contains Prosperous Bay Plain, which is where Saint Helena Airport is located.

Prosperous Bay Plain

Prosperous Bay Plain is an area on the eastern coast of Saint Helena, a British island territory in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is the site of the new Saint Helena Airport, and is notable for its high invertebrate biodiversity.

Saint Helena Airport airport in the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena

Saint Helena Airport is an international airport on Saint Helena, a remote island in the south Atlantic Ocean, in the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha.

There is a weather recording station in the Longwood district. Readings of temperature, air pressure and visibility are automatically taken and communicated every 3 hours. [3]

Weather station set of sensors that record and provide physical measurements and meteorological parameters

A weather station is a facility, either on land or sea, with instruments and equipment for measuring atmospheric conditions to provide information for weather forecasts and to study the weather and climate. The measurements taken include temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, and precipitation amounts. Wind measurements are taken with as few other obstructions as possible, while temperature and humidity measurements are kept free from direct solar radiation, or insolation. Manual observations are taken at least once daily, while automated measurements are taken at least once an hour. Weather conditions out at sea are taken by ships and buoys, which measure slightly different meteorological quantities such as sea surface temperature (SST), wave height, and wave period. Drifting weather buoys outnumber their moored versions by a significant amount.



Since 2017, Longwoods main infrastructure is Saint Helena Airport. It remains to be the only airport in Saint Helena and services Airlink linking the island to South Africa.

SA Airlink (Pty) Ltd., known and trading simply as Airlink, is a regional airline based in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is privately owned, and its main activity is to act as a feeder airline between small towns and larger hub airports. It has code-sharing and schedule co-ordination agreements with South African Airways and South African Express.


Halley's Observatory Halley's Observatory (16301308499).jpg
Halley's Observatory

On leaving the University of Oxford, in 1676, Edmond Halley visited Saint Helena and set up an observatory with a 24-foot-long (7.3 m) aerial telescope with the intention of studying stars from the Southern Hemisphere. [4] The site of this telescope is near St Matthew's church in the district. The 2,230-foot-high (680 m) hill there is named for him and is called Halley's Mount.

University of Oxford University in Oxford, United Kingdom

The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two 'ancient universities' are frequently jointly called 'Oxbridge'. The history and influence of the University of Oxford has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Edmond Halley English astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist

EdmondHalley, FRS was an English astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist. He was the second Astronomer Royal in Britain, succeeding John Flamsteed in 1720.

Aerial telescope very long focal length refracting telescope without a tube, built in the 17th century; the objective was mounted on a pole, tree, etc. on a swivel ball-joint; the observer stood on the ground and maneuvered the eyepiece to aim at celestial objects

An aerial telescope is a type of very long focal length refracting telescope, built in the second half of the 17th century, that did not use a tube. Instead, the objective was mounted on a pole, tree, tower, building or other structure on a swivel ball-joint. The observer stood on the ground and held the eyepiece, which was connected to the objective by a string or connecting rod. By holding the string tight and maneuvering the eyepiece, the observer could aim the telescope at objects in the sky. The idea for this type of telescope may have originated in the late 17th century with the Dutch mathematician, astronomer and physicist Christiaan Huygens and his brother Constantijn Huygens, Jr., though it is not clear if they actually invented it.

Halley's Observatory was in use from 1677–1678. Having returned to England in 1678, Halley published Catalogus Stellarum Australium in 1679, which included details of 341 southern stars. These additions to present-day star maps earned him comparison to Tycho Brahe. Halley was subsequently awarded his Master's from Oxford and Fellowship of the Royal Society.

In 1686, Halley published the second part of the results from his Helenian expedition, being a paper and chart on trade winds and monsoons. In this, he identified solar heating as the cause of atmospheric motions. He also established the relationship between barometric pressure and height above sea level. His charts were an important contribution to the emerging field of information visualisation.

In the 19th/early 20th centuries, an observatory (in use 1840–1849) was situated in Longwood village and two further observatories were erected in the Hutt's Gate area: one in use from 1892–1924 and the second in use from 1925–1975.


Napoleon's Grave Napoleon's Grave on St Helena Island.jpg
Napoleon's Grave
Napoleon's Grave (1838) NETSCHER(1838) p023 HET GRAF VAN NAPOLEON.jpg
Napoleon's Grave (1838)

It was the location of Napoleon's second exile from 1815 until his death on 5 May 1821. France owns Briars Pavilion, Napoleon's initial exile residence, Longwood House and its properties, where he lived during most of his time on the island, and his original grave, but the United Kingdom retains ultimate sovereignty over these properties. Napoleon's main physician, Barry O'Meara, wrote letters describing the issues of Napoleon and his entourage while in captivity, and sent them clandestinely to a friend at the Admiralty in London. [5]

Geography and climate

As opposed to Jamestown being in sea level, Longwood is perched precariously on St. Helena's mountains and is located 500 metres above sea level [6] . Being one of the island's highest settlements, Longwood experiences a cooler variation of the subtropical highland climate (Koppen: Cfb) with borderline oceanic characteristics due to its persistent mild temperatures and consistent precipitation levels. Due to its elevated geography, the town is thus known for its abundant greeneries – a feature hardly visible on the island's largest town.

Climate data for Longwood, Saint Helena
Record high °C (°F)32.2
Average high °C (°F)21.4
Daily mean °C (°F)18.9
Average low °C (°F)16.3
Record low °C (°F)15.0
Average rainfall mm (inches)48
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)989145121399746105
Average relative humidity (%)85868584828283838484848484
Mean monthly sunshine hours 151.9178.0176.7150.0161.2123.0108.593.,460.4
Mean daily sunshine hours
Source: Deutscher Wetterdienst [7]

See also

Related Research Articles

Saint Helena has a known history of over 500 years since its recorded discovery by the Portuguese in 1502. Claiming to be Britain's second oldest colony, after Bermuda, this is one of the most isolated islands in the world and was for several centuries of vital strategic importance to ships sailing to Europe from Asia and South Africa. For several centuries, the British used the island as a place of exile, most notably for Napoleon Bonaparte, Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo and over 5,000 Boer prisoners.

Geography of Saint Helena

Saint Helena is an island in the South Atlantic Ocean, about midway between South America and Africa. St Helena has a land area of 122 square kilometres and is part of the territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha which includes Ascension Island and the island group of Tristan da Cunha.

Georgetown, Ascension Island Place in United Kingdom

Georgetown is the capital and chief settlement of Ascension Island, in the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, situated on the west coast of the island.

Gaspard Gourgaud French general

Gaspard, Baron Gourgaud, also known simply as Gaspard Gourgaud, was a French soldier, prominent in the Napoleonic wars.

Hudson Lowe British Army general

Sir Hudson Lowe was an Anglo-Irish soldier and colonial administrator who is best known for his time as Governor of St Helena, where he was the "gaoler" of the Emperor Napoléon.

Jamestown, Saint Helena Place in United Kingdom

Jamestown is the capital of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, located on the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is also the historic main settlement of the island and is on its north-western coast. It is the island's only port and the centre of the island's road and communications network. It was founded when colonists from the English East India Company settled on the island in 1659 and was briefly occupied by the Dutch East India Company in 1673 before being recaptured. Many of the buildings built by the East India Company in the 1700s survive and give the town its distinctive Georgian flavour.

Longwood may refer to:

Barry Edward O'Meara (1786–1836) was an Irish surgeon and founding member of the Reform Club, who accompanied Napoleon to Saint Helena and became his physician, having been surgeon on board the Bellerophon when the emperor surrendered himself.

Longwood House residence of Napoleon Bonaparte on Saint Helena

Longwood House is a mansion in St. Helena and the final residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, during his exile on the island of Saint Helena, from 10 December 1815 until his death on 5 May 1821. It lies on a windswept plain some 6 km (3.7 mi) from Jamestown.

Briars, Saint Helena architectural structure

Briars is the name of the small pavilion in which Napoleon Bonaparte stayed for the first few weeks of his captivity on Saint Helena in late 1815. The pavilion was in the garden of William Balcombe, an English merchant who became a purveyor to Napoleon. His 14-year-old daughter Elizabeth Lucia ("Betsy") Balcombe was the only family member who spoke French and she became the family translator. Because of his family's closeness to Napoleon, Balcombe attracted the suspicion of Governor Hudson Lowe, and in 1818 he was forced to leave the island and return to England. The Briars was then used as the home for the Admiral assigned to St Helena.

Diana's Peak is the highest point, at 818 metres (2,684 ft), on the island of Saint Helena, a British overseas territory in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is of volcanic origin. Mountain and its surroundings with a total area of 81 ha were proclaimed a national park in March 1996, the first on the island. It is covered in tree fern thicket.

Outline of Saint Helena Overview of and topical guide to Saint Helena

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Saint Helena:

Alarm Forest District in Saint Helena

Alarm Forest is the newest of the eight districts of the island of Saint Helena, part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is located southeast of Jamestown, in the interior of the island, and is the only district to lack a coastline.

The Museum of Saint Helena is a museum on the island of Saint Helena, a British Overseas Territory in the south Atlantic Ocean.

Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha British overseas territory in the southern Atlantic Ocean

Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha is a British Overseas Territory located in the South Atlantic and consisting of the island of Saint Helena, Ascension Island and the archipelago of Tristan da Cunha.

Lucia Elizabeth Balcombe Abell was a friend of Napoleon I during his exile at Saint Helena. She and her family's closeness to Napoleon attracted the suspicion of Governor Hudson Lowe.

French domains of St Helena

The French domains of Saint-Helena are an estate of 14 hectares in three separate parts owned by France on the British island of Saint Helena. Three French properties are under the administration of the French Foreign Ministry which undertakes their management and maintenance. These consist of :

<i>War. The Exile and the Rock Limpet</i> painting by Joseph Mallord William Turner

War. The Exile and the Rock Limpet is an oil painting of 1842 by the English Romantic painter J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851). Intended to be a companion piece to Turner's Peace. Burial at Sea, War is a painting that depicts a moment from Napoleon Bonaparte's exile at Saint Helena. In December 1815, the former Emperor was taken by the British government to the Longwood House, despite its state of disrepair, to live in captivity; during his final years of isolation, Napoleon had fallen into despair. Turner's decision to pair the painting with Peace was heavily criticized when it was first exhibited but it is also seen as predecessor to his more famous piece Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway (1844).


  1. "PROVISIONAL RESULTS - POPULATION CENSUS 2008, ST HELENA ENUMERATED (DE FACTO) POPULATION 2008 AS COMPARED TO 1998" (PDF). United Nations Statistics Division. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-06-29. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  2. "Statistics of the territories of the United Kingdom". GeoHive. Archived from the original on 2013-10-07. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  3. MeteoGroup St. Helena WMO
  4. Gazetteer – p. 7. MONUMENTS IN FRANCE – page 338 Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  5. Inside Longwood Barry O'Meara's clandestine letters
  6. "Longwood, St. Helena & Ascension Island Page". FallingRain.
  7. "Klimatafel von St. Helena, Insel / Südatlantik / Großbritannien" (PDF). Baseline climate means (1961-1990) from stations all over the world (in German). Deutscher Wetterdienst. Retrieved 6 November 2018.

Coordinates: 15°56′S5°40′W / 15.933°S 5.667°W / -15.933; -5.667