In 1948 Noël Coward was a guest at Goldeneye, the Jamaican home of his friend Ian Fleming; it was the beginning of a lifelong love affair with the island. Coward impulsively purchased some land a few miles along the northern coast near to the township of Port Maria and built a beachside property which he called Blue Harbour. Seven years later Coward bought a large plot of land on the hilltop 1,500 feet above Blue Harbour from Blanche Blackwell, mother of Chris Blackwell who went on to form Island Records. With stunning views for miles along the coast in each direction ‘The Lookout’ not surprisingly had also been the hideaway of pirate buccaneer Robert Morgan.
Coward christened the property ‘Firefly,’ after the magical insects that appear each night after sunset and proceeded to landscape the extensive gardens along with building a simple property, the centrepiece of which was a large open fronted room looking out to sea. For the next eighteen years Firefly was where Coward spent each winter writing, painting and lavishing legendary hospitality on his glamorous circle of friends.
On the 26 March 1973 Coward suffered a heart attack and passed over at his beloved Jamaican home. He was buried by the lookout promontory where he had spent many evenings with friends sipping cocktails amid the Fireflies.
The property was subsequently bequeathed to the Jamaican National Heritage Trust but sadly fell into disrepair before, with circularity the Master would have thoroughly approved of, Firefly was bought by Chris Blackwell who set about restoring the house and gardens to their former glory. Firefly now proudly sits as Coward left it, along with many of the original artefacts. The location is now ready to host a celebration of the work of Noël Coward, annually on the weekend coinciding with his anniversary.