In 1948, NoŽl Coward, whilst holidaying at the nearby home of Ian Fleming,
'Goldeneye', fell in love with Jamaica. He decided to buy his own house further
along the coast. He bought and built the property that he was later to name
'Blue Harbour'; a good sized property overlooking the sea. Later he expanded
the main house, built three guest cottages in the substantial grounds, and,
a lovely swimming pool down by the shore. Blue Harbour quickly became a Mecca
for Coward's friends and the post-war 'celebrity set' of stage and screen.
By 1955 Coward eventually decided that Blue Harbour was becoming too crowded
for him to work he set out to buy a hideaway retreat, and found a site 1200 feet
above Blue Harbour – which he bought for $150. He had a simple house built
for him at the top of the hill, and completed with an outdoor swimming pool.
Coward named the property ‘Firefly’. The entire property enjoys
remarkable views of the north coast of Jamaica. Life at Firefly with close
friends revolved around the pool, Study, Studio and prolific use of the Music
Room and open Dining Room – with food being sent up from Blue Harbour.
Coward lived in the house alone. It was only towards the end of his life that a
housekeeper and gardener lived nearby. Coward died at Firefly in March 1973, and
he was buried in the garden of his beloved home.
In 1978 Graham Payn gave Firefly to the Jamaica National Heritage Trust. In
subsequent years, sadly, Firefly became very seriously run-down, and eventually
Chris Blackwell (whose mother, Blanche, had been a good friend of Coward’s
in Jamaica) bought the property and restored it to its former glory. Chris
Blackwell still owns the property and supports its upkeep financially. Much of
the contents (including pictures) of the house are owned by the Jamaica National
Heritage Trust and the NoŽl Coward Estate.
click on a picture to see an enlarged version