Jamaica comes to Boisdale

Usain Bolt and his team-mates wearing Jamaican tartan after success in the 4x100m relay at the Commonwealth Games 2014. Bolt is returning to London for his last ever race this August at the IAAF World Championships – if you can’t make it to the race, celebrate at our Jamaican Terrace in Canary Wharf instead!

We are particularly honoured and delighted to welcome Nobel Prize winner former President F.W. de Klerk as a contributor to the 9th edition of Boisdale Life. His comments on the somewhat illusive and divisive qualities of contemporary global leadership deserve careful reading. Bruce Anderson takes a broader historical perspective and reminds us that civilization has always been cruel. Orthodoxy is the enemy of mankind because we should never accept that we are completely right about anything, apart from of course our taste and political opinion! Clare Fox questions our right to laugh, whilst Tom Parker-Bowles only wants to lunch. Meanwhile Nick Ferrari takes it out on bicycles. Hopefully your sensibilities will be satisfactorily tickled.

On a less serious note I have always felt a very special and inexplicable umbilical bond with Jamaica and I only very recently discovered why. I obviously adored this drop dead gorgeous island, particularly the coast around Port Antonio (literally nowhere more beautiful on earth apart from South Uist!), and also found the Jamaican people incredibly engaging and friendly with a wicked sense of humour and an almost poetic lilt to their conversation. However what amazed and surprised me was to discover that Jamaica and Scotland are literally joined at the hip. There are more Scottish surnames to be found in Jamaica than anywhere in the world other than Scotland.

I have now done my homework. A combination of deported Scots and waves of emigration caused mostly by failed Scottish rebellions and colonial adventures (The Darien Scheme 1698) drove massive numbers of Scots and Highlanders to Jamaica in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The first botched escapade was led by James Scott, the Duke of both Buccleuch and Monmouth, supported by Archibald Campbell, Duke of Argyle (of whose family more later!), who in 1685 attempted, as an illegitimate Protestant son of Charles II, to take the throne from his uncle, the Roman Catholic Stuart King, James II. He was beheaded for his audacity and the more fortunate of his followers were transported to Jamaica. And then ironically in 1715 and 1745 the Jacobite Rebellions, supported incidentally by my family, valiantly fought to bring back the rightful Stuart line, which had recently been replaced by an act of parliament with the porcine, pudding faced Protestant, non-English speaking Hanoverians, from whom our current Royal family descend, and who were at the time only 50th in line to the British throne. The Darth Vader for the Hanoverian “dark side” was the dastardly John Campbell, Duke of Argyle, the hereditary mortal enemy of the Macdonald Clan. Again the leaders were executed, in many cases far more cruelly, and vast numbers of Highlanders, including numerous Macdonald’s, emigrated to Jamaica. From that time the Scots continued to voluntarily migrate to Jamaica in large numbers.

The extraordinary thing to report now and the principal sadness of this tale is that by 2017 with 60% of surnames in Jamaican being Scottish, I am truly sorry to say that by far the most populous name in Jamaica is regrettably, Campbell! Apparently there are more Campbell’s per head of population in Jamaica than there are in Scotland!! The good news is that old clan enmity is now long forgiven (my mother is a Campbell) and most importantly, reflecting this symbiotic national relationship, the Scottish Saltire (St Andrew’s cross) was rather beautifully incorporated into the Jamaican flag on the occasion of Jamaican Independence in 1962. It is now the world’s most recognised national flag and is coupled with the poignant Jamaican National motto “Out of Many, One People”.

To celebrate 55 years of Jamaican Independence Boisdale, THE Scottish restaurant, are creating the Jamaica Garden Terrace at Boisdale of Canary Wharf to be launched by His Excellency Seth George Ramocan, the Jamaican High Commissioner on Monday 3rd July. The 130 metre Jamaica Garden Terrace with palm and banana trees, tropical fauna and exotic flowering plants will be host to an all-day jerk barbeque, live music and cocktails until 31st August. Do have a look at our web site for exciting Jamaican events that will soon be announced. We very much hope that you will find the time to join us to celebrate 55 years of Jamaican Independence in a place that may well become known, given that “yard” in Jamaica means home, as the NEW Scotland yard.


Ranald Macdonald
Editor-in-Chief Boisdale Life Magazine Founder Boisdale Restaurants & Bars