Longwood House

Longwood House

Longwood House was the 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 is situated on a windswept plain some convert|4|mi|0 from Jamestown. Formerly the summer residence of the Lieutenant Governor, it was converted for the use of Napoleon in 1815. The British Government recognized its inadequacy as a home for the former Emperor and his entourage, and by the time of his death had built a new house for him nearby, which he never occupied. After Napoleon's death, Longwood House reverted to the East India Company and later to the Crown, and was used for agricultural purposes. Reports of its neglect reached Napoleon III, who negotiated with the British Government for its transfer to France. In 1858 it was transferred to the French Government along with the Valley of the Tomb for a sum of £7,100. Since then a French Government representative has lived on the island and has been responsible for managing both properties.

In 1959 a third property, the Briars, where Napoleon spent the first two months while Longwood was being prepared, was given to the French Government by Dame Mabel Brookes.

As a result of the depredations of termites, the French Government considered demolishing the building in the 1940s. New Longwood and the Balcombe's house at the Briars were both demolished at this time, but Longwood House was saved, and it has been faithfully restored by recent French curators. The stone steps at the front are the only part of the original fabric to survive.

External links

* [http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/tourism/museum1.html The French Possessions on St Helena] .

Further reading

*Jean-Paul Kauffman, "The Dark Room at Longwood" (2000)

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