The Sluice Gate at Mona

Located on Hermitage Road, near The UWI Mona Campus main gate, is a small brick structure. Unlike the other historic remains on the Mona Campus, this piece is neither connected to any other structure, nor is it situated within the immediate proximity of other ruins.

Its un-labelled state contributes to its general obscurity especially because it sits outside the perimeter fence. However, it is not a mere piece of broken brickwork taking up space on the sidewalk, it is the remaining piece of 18th century Mona Estate sluice gate.

The arrow on the left points to the pond and the one on the right points to the remains of the sluice gate.

The sluice gate controlled the flow of water into a watering pool for animals. The pool, situated in the same location as the current pond, was fed by the aqueduct from the Hope River.

How did the water get to the pool regulated by the sluice gate? From the 1758 to the mid 19th century, the water from Hope river fed a pool called the ‘the basin’, which was located north of the site of the University Hospital. From the basin, the water flowed into the aqueduct which extended from the Papine estate to the Mona estate. Along the journey to the Papine sugar factory, some of the water was distributed to a tank and a pool that supplied the all the persons living on the estates and served a watering trough for animals.

At the Papine factory, the water turned the mill-wheel that powered the mill. As the mill-wheel turned, water flowed through an underground conduit to floodgates which are located south of the Assembly Hall. From there, the water was channelled to the Mona mill-house, surrounding fields and the pool connected to the sluice gate.

Un-labelled and seemingly abandoned, for over two centuries, the sluice gate has a simple yet important history in the distribution of water in the industrial complex of the Mona and Papine Estates.

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