Black Immigrant Daily News
J. Wray & Nephew Limited (JWN) has announced the publication of its first history book, Appleton Estate: A History.
The publication brings to life the story of Appleton Estate, providing a true,complete, and accurate history of the estate and the development of the world-renowned spirits brand from the founding by the Dickinson Family to the changes of ownership by various persons, including William Hill, the Lindo Brothers, Lascelles Demarcado, the Henriques Brothers, and to its acquisition in 2012 by its present owners, the Campari Group.
The book is based on research commissioned by JWN and conducted by a team from the Centre of Reparations Research of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona led by Professor Verene Shepherd and supported by Ahmed Reid, Gabrielle Hemmings, and John Shorter.
Professor Verene Shepherd, lead researcher and one of the authors of the ‘Appleton Estate: A History’ book at the launch.
In speaking about the research, Professor Shepherd noted: “Despite working during the COVID-19 pandemic, this project, with the help of wonderful archivists in the UK and Jamaica, allowed me and my team to excavate further the deep layers of Jamaican history and uncover yet another story of plantation construction on lands that once belonged to the Indigenous Peoples, and the use of enslaved peoples to make those lands profitable for outsiders.
“It was like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle, tracing the estate owners from beginning to end and seeing how they ran the estate. Despite the sad aspects of the history that confronted us in the archival documents, however, the team remained excited, worked well together and produced evidence of the past that we hope Appleton Estate will use to change the representation of the present. “
Tanikie McClarthy Allen, Senior Director Public Affairs & Sustainability J.Wray & Nephew Limited shows Culture Minister Olivia Grange the artwalk display showing excerpts of the ‘Appleton Estate: A History’ book.
Managing Director of J. Wray & Nephew Limited, Jean-Philippe Beyer spoke to the reasoning behind JWN’s publication of the book.
“This history book is an important moment for J. Wray & Nephew and the Appleton Estate brand as we are finally able to tell the Appleton Estate story from start to finish. The origins and of the role of the plantation and its former owners in the pernicious unjust system of human enslavement is a difficult truth that must be acknowledged.
“For us, it was important to capture the accurate history, pay tribute to the enslaved people and pause to acknowledge their contributions and sacrifices,” he said.
Beyer continued: “In commissioning Professor Shepherd and her team, we have worked hard to ensure that there is no misrepresentation of historical facts or understatement of the role of enslaved Africans in the success of the Appleton Estate enterprise since its inception in 1655 and the earliest distillation of rum at Appleton Estate in 1749. This is just the start of some of the changes we are making to our operations and how we tell the story of Appleton Estate.”
Dr Joy Spence and her husband Emile Spence view a page of the ‘Appleton Estate: A History Book’ at the launch.
The information contained in the Appleton Estate History book was gathered from several sources, including the Dickinson Papers held at Wiltshire Records and Somerset Archives in the United Kingdom, UK National Archives, National Archives of Jamaica, National Library, and other valuable sources.
Appleton Estate: A History will be available in retail outlets and at the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience. Proceeds from the sales will go directly to the JWN Foundation’s scholarship programme, which provides scholarships to students pursuing high school, tertiary and vocational training in communities JWN operates in Kingston, Clarendon and St Elizabeth. Since 2016, JWNF has invested nearly $150 million in scholarships to these communities, which includes support to dependents of staff.
Ten students received Master Blender scholarships valued at $450,000 each per annum. More details about the work on JWNF can be found here https://jwnfoundation.org/
Since its acquisition of J.Wray & Nephew Limited in 2012, the Campari Group has invested over US$14 billion in Jamaica, including the upgrade of the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience in St Elizabeth.