Marmont Row was one of the first buildings erected in Stanley, with a fascinating history dating back to 1854.
The original owners of Marmont Row, Jacob Napoleon Goss and his wife Ann Elisabeth Pedrick, emigrated to the Falklands, arriving on the 220 ton brig “Alarm” at Port Louis on 10th April 1842. Jacob was born in Shoreditch, London on the 17th June 1825, so was only 16 years old at this time. He was listed as an “apprentice”, although it is unclear exactly in what trade. A short while after the couple arrived in the Islands it was decided Port William would be a more desirable location for a port, so in July 1843 they moved into Stanley alongside Governor Moody and most of the other settlers. Jacob’s parents followed the couple to the Falkland Islands a short time after.
After he moved to Stanley, Jacob demonstrated his industrious nature. Alongside Mr Culey (another recently arrived settler) the two of them cleared the waterfront of large rocks, clearing the way for Ross Road and Philomel Street (at the time, Philomel Street was mainly used to access the peat banks on Murray Heights). They designed the town grid system, facing houses north to take full advantage of the light and heat from the sun, and were involved in many building projects.
Of particular note, Jacob is credited with building the stone coral just outside of Stanley (near Sapper Hill), which is still standing today.
On the 25th of March 1854, Jacob received a plot of land along Ross Road. He then designed and built Marmont Row, making use of the rock they had cleared to make the roads, to build the 20-inch-thick walls.
When he originally built Marmont Row it was split into six terraced houses. It is said though he designed it to be easily split into 9, one for each of his 9 children! In the original configuration however, it was five cottages and a public house, which he named The Eagle Inn.
As you may have gathered, the early Goss family were very keen supporters of Napoleon. An earlier ancestor, Richard Goss, had been one of the escorts that delivered Napoleon to St Helena on board HMS Northumberland. In honour of that connection, Jacob named the houses Marmont Row, after Napoleon’s aide-de-camp (assistant) Auguste de Marmont. The name “The Eagle Inn” also has a connection with Napoleon, as the eagle was Napoleon’s symbol for the new French Empire.
Jacob died suddenly in 1868, and his father died three days later. Traces of poison were found in the dead men’s bodies; however, no one was ever charged with the crime. Shortly after this tragedy, it is believed that Jacob’s widow Ann Elizabeth was somehow swindled out of everything she owned. Rumour has it that the family had entrusted an Anglican priest with their fortune, and that after their sudden deaths he disappeared with their schooner, money, and many other possessions. There is no evidence however to prove that, just speculation!
Shortly after Jacob’s death in 1868, the buildings and land were taken by J M Dean. He owned the property until he sold it to the Falkland Islands Company in 1889. At that time, the name of the building was changed to the Ship Hotel and the premises was altered. Alterations were needed to accommodate the increasing number of seamen whose ships had been wrecked or condemned, and who were either waiting to pay for a passage away from the Falklands, or to find work on another ship. The hotel entrance was in the centre of the building, with the bar just to the right as you went inside. All the wrecked ships provided an interesting array of alcohol, more than you would expect for such a remote hotel!
At some point during the FIC ownership the bar was moved in the cottage to the far east of Marmont Row and was renamed the Ship Inn. There are many stories of lock-ins and different visitors, the most exotic probably being a horse!
At the west end of Marmont Row, in the two houses immediately to the East of Victory Cottage (that were converted for this purpose), the Colony Club was opened in 1933. Originally only for businessmen, farm managers and officers, it was a members only club that was regarded in its early years as being a bit snobbish.
Over the years the membership rules relaxed however, and it was enjoyed by all the community.
The Colony club had a bar, with an open peat fire, a reading room, and an indoor toilet. There was a billiard room upstairs, that had a little lift connected to the bar downstairs. It operated on a little pulley system and was used to transport drinks upstairs. The Colony Club was very popular, with games evenings and evening meals every few weeks. It closed its doors for the last time in 1994.
In 1969 ownership of the row was passed to Mr Des King, where it was renamed The Upland Goose Hotel. During this time a large conservatory was built on to the front East end of the building, where diners could enjoy their meal and a lovely view across the harbour.
In 1982 the Upland Goose Hotel became well-known internationally as a place of safety during the war. It was also known as the only house with an operational telephone line after the British Troops liberated Stanley, so helped residents keep in touch with family and friends elsewhere in the world.
Throughout the years several people have been born in Marmont Row. Most notably, was actress Mary Ellaline Lewin, on the 13th April 1871. Mary’s parents were attempting sheep farming in the Islands, they were not hugely successful, so made their return to the UK shortly after she was born. Known professionally as Ellaline Terriss, she was a popular British actress and singer, known mostly due to her performances in Edwardian musical comedies. Ellaline Terriss met and married the actor and producer Seymour Hicks in 1893. When he was knighted she was then known as Lady Seymour Hicks. She died in Hampstead, England, at the age of 100 years.