Gordon House

Moon Author's Review

Gordon House was built in 1960 to replace Headquarters House as the meeting place for Jamaica's House of Representatives. There's not much to see, but visitors can drop in and experience Jamaican political wrangling at its most civil in a House of Commons or Senate session.

The building is named after labor leader George William Gordon (1815–1865), born to Scottish planter Joseph Gordon, who owned Cherry Gardens Estate, and a quadroon slave. Young Gordon taught himself to read and write and became a successful businessman while still in his teens before going into politics. A champion of the underdog, Gordon was not popular with his peers in politics who represented the landed elite. After being elected to the Assembly in 1944, he failed to regain a seat until 19 years later when he was elected to represent St. Thomas-in-the-East, where he owned substantial landholdings. Gordon was a vocal opponent of the Custos, as well as the Governor General Edward Eyre. At the same time, he allied himself with Paul Bogle, another champion of the poor, both in politics and in religion. (They were both Native Baptists, seen at the time as a lower-class religion.) When unrest in St. Thomas culminated in the Morant Bay Rebellion, Gordon was held responsible and swiftly court-martialed and hanged. Bogle was hanged shortly thereafter. Both were made national heroes when the Order was established in 1969.

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