Two Boats Village
History (Acknowledgement to Mike Simpson for help and some of the Photos
boats came about when the island expanded with the arrival of the BBC and CSO.
Its name comes from the Naval gig which has been cut in two and put up to serve as a shelter for people heading between Green Mountain and Georgetown
After transmission tests in 1963 the BBC decided to build its Atlantic relay station there to broadcast the world service programmes to the South American and African continents.
started at English Bay in 1964 with and advanced party from various Caribbean
Islands and St Helena. In total 500 men where recruited. to build the site
This however was only part of the Ministry of Public Works and Buildings, they also had to build somewhere for the BBC staff to live.
So it was that Two Boats village was started in the middle of the island at a place called Muriel Avenue.
Right: Two Boats Village still under construction
complex started with just some prefabricated bungalows, and was expanded with a
shop, laundry, club, swimming pool, school and bakery.
The complex was supposed to be finished by 1966, but by September 1966 it was still only half completed
Simpson and his family travelled down to Ascension on the RMS Capetown
Castle to work for CSO, the staff were called in to a
seminar at GCHQ in Cheltenham to be shown the plans of the village.
They were told that they would have full use of all the facilities. When they arrived they had not been started and were still not completed by the time they left in 1968
Left: Two Boats School
The bungalows which we lived in were on concrete bases, with steel frames, the walls being made of a fibrous sandwich between layers of a vinyl material. The outsides were covered and weatherproof and the interior walls a white P.V.C. material.
The windows were louvred glass which could be opened and closed by means of a lever
bungalows received an award when they were erected in the UK and could be put up
by a team there in two weeks.
Unfortunately, the building work was done on Ascension by teams of West Indian labourers, mainly from Antigua, Barbados and St. Kitts.
Right: Two Boats Under Construction
West Indians were very friendly with us, but whoever sent them did not realise
that just because they were West Indians, did not mean that they were the same.
They were not all the same, apparently there was a lot of friction between the various islands.
On top of this, they were given the jobs to relieve unemployment in the West Indies, so it was in their own interest to make the job last as long as possible.
Two Boats from Green mountain
This they succeeded in doing, the project which was supposed to take a couple of years went on for at least 5 years.
The standard of workmanship was
somewhat questionable, I worked in the CSO 'Technical Building' and we just
about had to rewire the power circuits, it was in the days when electrical
wiring was red/black/green. The first power point I tried did not work, it had
the green wire to mains and black to earth.