Longwood, Saint Helena

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Longwood House in Longwood
Longwood House in Longwood
Map of Saint Helena's districts
Map of Saint Helena's districts
Sovereign state United Kingdom
British overseas territory  Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Island Saint Helena
Status District
 • Total 12.9 sq mi (33.4 km2)
Population (2011)
 • Total 802 (district)
 • Density 55/sq mi (21.4/km2)
Time zone UTC+0 (GMT)

Longwood is a settlement and a district of the British island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic.


In 2011 it had a population of 802, compared with a population of 960 in 1998.[1] The area of the district is 33.4 km2.[2] The large district (second only to Blue Hill) includes the settlement of Hutt's Gate, with its St Matthew's church. The district also contains the island's only existing golf course.

Map showing Longwood's location

The district contains Prosperous Bay Plain, which is where Saint Helena Airport is located.

There is a weather recording station in the Longwood district. Readings of temperature, air pressure and visibility are automatically taken and communicated every 3 hours.[3]



Since 2017, Longwoods main infrastructure is Saint Helena Airport. It remains to be the only airport in Saint Helena and services Airlink linking the island to South Africa.


Halley's Observatory

On leaving the University of Oxford, in 1676, Edmond Halley visited Saint Helena and set up an observatory with a 24-foot-long (7.3 m) aerial telescope with the intention of studying stars from the Southern Hemisphere.[4] The site of this telescope is near St Matthew's church in the district. The 2,230-foot-high (680 m) hill there is named for him and is called Halley's Mount.

Halley's Observatory was in use from 1677–1678. Having returned to England in 1678, Halley published Catalogus Stellarum Australium in 1679, which included details of 341 southern stars. These additions to present-day star maps earned him comparison to Tycho Brahe. Halley was subsequently awarded his Master's from Oxford and Fellowship of the Royal Society.

In 1686, Halley published the second part of the results from his Helenian expedition, being a paper and chart on trade winds and monsoons. In this, he identified solar heating as the cause of atmospheric motions. He also established the relationship between barometric pressure and height above sea level. His charts were an important contribution to the emerging field of information visualisation.

In the 19th/early 20th centuries, an observatory (in use 1840–1849) was situated in Longwood village and two further observatories were erected in the Hutt's Gate area: one in use from 1892–1924 and the second in use from 1925–1975.


Napoleon's Grave
Napoleon's Grave (1838)

It was the location of Napoleon's second exile from 1815 until his death on 5 May 1821. France owns Briars Pavilion, Napoleon's initial exile residence, Longwood House and its properties, where he lived during most of his time on the island, and his original grave, but the United Kingdom retains ultimate sovereignty over these properties. Napoleon's main physician, Barry Edward O'Meara, wrote letters describing the issues of Napoleon and his entourage while in captivity, and sent them clandestinely to a friend at the Admiralty in London.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "PROVISIONAL RESULTS - POPULATION CENSUS 2008, ST HELENA ENUMERATED (DE FACTO) POPULATION 2008 AS COMPARED TO 1998" (PDF). United Nations Statistics Division. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-06-29. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  2. ^ "Statistics of the territories of the United Kingdom". GeoHive. Archived from the original on 2013-10-07. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  3. ^ MeteoGroup St. Helena WMO
  4. ^ Gazetteer – p. 7. MONUMENTS IN FRANCE – page 338 Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Inside Longwood Barry O'Meara's clandestine letters

Coordinates: 15°56′S 5°40′W / 15.933°S 5.667°W / -15.933; -5.667