The Liguanea Club is situated on what was known as Knutsford Park which originally comprised some 35 acres. It is located in the heart of the New Kingston business area, with its high rise office blocks and opposite the hotels on Knutsford Boulevard.
It derives its name from the “Liguanea Plain” on which much of the City of Kingston is geographically located and which originally was host to large numbers of “Iguana” (a large lizard) a photograph of which hangs in the “Iguana Bar” in the Club House.
“Liguanea” is a corruption of the Spanish form of “Iguana” and reminds us that Jamaica was originally a territory of Spain for some 150 years before being captured by the English in 1655. It was thought for many years that the Iguana was extinct in Jamaica however some years ago several were sighted in the Hellshire Hills area and they have been listed as an endangered species.
The Club is a members’ sports and recreational club with eight tennis courts, six squash courts, a gym, swimming pool, badminton court, meeting rooms, restaurant, members rooms and bar facilities, jogging and walking trail.
Membership is open to both local residents and overseas visitors who wish to make use of the sports facilities and a limited number of members and guest rooms are available particularly serving country or overseas visiting members who require temporary accommodation.
The club’s Terrace Restaurant which offers alfresco dining in a garden setting is particularly pleasing; a true oasis in the heart of New Kingston. The grounds and trees are a haven for a variety of birds. One can often see the elegant Egret strutting across our lawns; the Chicken Hawk, nesting in the adjacent high rise buildings; Humming Birds and the unique Jamaican Doctor Bird, Ground Doves, Banana Quits, Green Parakeets; and at night the Patoo Owl among others.
The Liguanea Club boasts a substantial historical past. Formerly opened on November 22, 1910 by Sir Fielding Clarke, the first President of the Club and Chief Justice of Jamaica. The entrance fee then was three guineas (£3 3s) and the annual subscription four guineas (£4 4s) and whisky was 4/6 per bottle and the residential room rate £7 per month.
The Club boasts one of the oldest Georgian Style structures in Jamaica sharing a historical heritage with such places as Devon House, Vale Royal and Curphey Place. In its early years it was the hub of social activity for resident expatriates as was common in British Colonies. In more recent years and since Jamaica’s Independence in 1962; membership has been open to all Citizens of Jamaica and visitors who enjoy the sports facilities available and it has, in particular, been host to many International Tennis, Squash and Bridge Tournaments etc.
The main building was extensively refurbished in 1949 and was officially declared re-opened by Sir John Huggins, a former Governor General of Jamaica, on December 28, 1949. A plaque at the main entrance commemorates the event. On Friday, November 22, 1985 the Club celebrated its 75th Anniversary to the day. The then Governor General, The Hon. Sir Florizel Glasspole, was the chief guest of honour.
The Club has been used extensively in media promotions and feature films the most notable being the making of the “James Bond Movie – Dr. No” which featured the entrance to the Club in its opening shots and the lead actor, Sean Connery, was a guest at the Club. In more recent times TV News Crews from the UK, USA and New Zealand have included the Club in their work and a local film producer has extensively utilized the facilities for the series “Reggae Beach Rescue Patrol.”
The Club has and does facilitate such organizations as The Jamaica Squash Association, Tennis Jamaica Ltd., The Olympic Association of Jamaica, Rotary International, The Women’s Club, The Scottish Country Dance Society, The Caledonian Society, Kiwanis and Optimists Club to name but a few. It also provides facilities for the training of young persons in Tennis, Squash, Swimming and encourages sporting activities for persons of all ages thereby living up to the Clubs motto; “Fellowship, Discipline, Sportsmanship”