Saturday 10th December saw the residents of Virginia Quay, a residential development in East London’s Poplar area, come together with FirstPort Bespoke Property Services, who manage the development, to celebrate the 410th Anniversary of the day intrepid explorers set sail to establish an English settlement, Jamestown, in North America.
Toasting the occasion with mulled wine, hot chocolate and mince pies, residents from the luxury development came together to honour the men and women who stepped off from the banks of the place they call ‘home’. HM Queen Elizabeth II remarked during her visit to Jamestown on its 400th anniversary that it was the beginning of the British Empire.
All guests convened in the rotunda management office before being led by a three piece historical folk band to the riverside, where Nigel Howell, FirstPort’s CEO said a few words to mark the occasion before ‘revealing’ the newly restored monument.
Young and old came from all walks of life to celebrate the occasions. The attendees included the wonderful Mrs Marsie Taylor, a WWII veteran who was part of Churchill's cabinet and assisted with the masterminding of the DDay landings. At 96 years young, Mrs Taylor’s efforts in planning the June 1944’s landings were recognised in May this year as she became the first British woman to be awarded the Legion d’Honneur from the French ambassador.
Nigel Howell, CEO commented; “I am proud of all the developments we manage and we are lucky to have some fantastic properties with really interesting backgrounds within our portfolio, but none with such history behind it as Virginia Quays. It is a brilliant development set in a thriving area of East London, one that played such an important role in history and is a true legacy to the amazing 105 trailblazers who set off all those years ago. I am honoured to be part of this commemoration.”
Gordon Young, resident said, “We have lived here for three years and can see all the different layers of history here, we love it.”
In addition, Jim Fitzpatrick, Member of Parliament for Poplar & Limehouse, remarked that “East London is full of historic places. Some of it is world-famous – for instance, The Tower of London, some of it is invisible. The Settlers Monument on Virginia Quays celebrates one of the most significant events in UK and US history. We celebrated the 400th anniversary and it’s good that FirstPort is recognising the significance of the ships leaving 410 years ago, as well.”
Ashley Dabysing, on site Development Manager also commented saying, “I was delighted to welcome so many of our residents to our event today, I always enjoy mingling with them and love being part of their lives. I would like to thanks Elite Contracts for doing the complimentary restoration works on the monument bringing it back to pristine condition and preserving it for many more years to come.”
Virginia Quay History:
From Virginia Quay to Jamestown – The Journey
Virginia Quay today is a brilliant development set in a thriving area of East London. It is one of FirstPort Bespoke Property Services’ flagship sites. As outlined below, the location of the development hides a rich historical story.
The story behind Virginia Quay
In June of 1606, King James I granted a charter to a group of London entrepreneurs, the Virginia Company, to establish an English settlement in the Chesapeake region of North America.
Captain Christopher Newport, along with 105 adventurers across three ships, stepped off on their journey literally just a hundred or so yards from where our monument stands today. They set sail into the unknown on a hugely dangerous mission; just 20 years earlier a similar attempt had ended in disaster and a colony never seen again.
Five very long months later after surviving truly terrible conditions at sea, they landed and set about establishing an English colony: The birth of the British Empire.
In the years that followed there were many times of peace and prosperity, yet countless more of a troubled nature. The first representative assembly in English North America convened in the Jamestown church on July 30, 1619. A few weeks later came the first arrival of Africans to Jamestown.
The capital moved to Williamsburg in 1699, and Jamestown began to slowly disappear below the ground.
By 1893 Jamestown was owned by Mr and Mrs Edward Barney. The Barneys gave 22 1/2 acres of land to Preservation Virginia.
The remaining acreage on the island was acquired by the National Park Service in 1934 and made part of the Colonial National Historical Park. Today, Jamestown is jointly operated by Preservation Virginia and NPS.
The Settlers Monument in place here at Virginia Quays serves as a constant reminder and commemoration to the amazing feat of 410 years ago when, against all odds, Captain Newport and his men successfully arrived in North America. Their story began the tale of the British Empire and set the foundations for what has been the United States of America.