More Recently on Mustique

The story of Mustique takes a dramatic turn in 1958 when the 1,400 acre island was purchased for less than $68,000 by the unforgettable, eccentric Scottish aristocrat Colin Tennant (also known as Lord Glenconner or more formally 3rd Baron Glenconner). At the time of Tennant’s arrival the island had more or less returned to its natural state of untamed but breathtaking beauty. There wasn’t so much as a single dock or jetty in the harbor and wild cattle and sheep could be found roaming around. The population consisted of about 100 people, who were living in a ramshackle village known as Cheltenham near where the Cotton House is today. They worked as share croppers and were cultivating small quantities of peas, corn and of course, cotton. Tennant became obsessed with turning Mustique into a private island paradise and began to sink his family’s wealth into the island as well as the private estate he constructed for himself, now known as The Great House. Tennant was good pals with perhaps the island’s most famous figure Princess Margaret and he presented her with a 10-acre plot of land as a wedding present in 1960. She constructed a beautiful and famous villa there which she named (Les Jolies Eaux or The Beautiful Waters in English).

In 1964, a new village called Lovell above the harbor was constructed and the original inhabitants of the island were each given a plot of land and a newly built home. The island still had a 250 acre cotton plantation and groves of coconut palms were also cultivated (though they fit in very well with the scenery, palms are not naturally occurring on Mustique) as well as various citrus trees and vegetables. The wild cattle were sadly exterminated, which is a shame as it’s fun to imagine them mingling with the island’s rich and famous visitors.

There were also numerous fishermen from Bequia and St. Vincent who camped out on Mustique’s beaches before returning home with their catches. The fishermen were also been granted a permanent settlement along the waterfront in Britannia Bay, which is now the brightly colored collection of buildings you see as you make your way to Basil’s Bar (as you certainly will do at some point on your vacation to Mustique).

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