Longwood House

Saint Helena History, Napoleon I

Longwood House was Napoleon’s last home. He stayed there from December 10th, 1815 until his death on May 5th, 1821. Located on the Longwood Plateau, the site, isolated and difficult to access, lent itself to become a prison. The house was the former summer residence of Lieutenant Governor Skelton. Renovated and enlarged thanks to the carpenters of Northumberland and the soldiers of the garrison, it is made up of disparate buildings linked together.

When Napoleon arrived, it was basically equipped with carpets and furniture bought on the island. The garden, meanwhile, was inhospitable. Napoleon then designed the gardens himself, in an way that can still be seen today.

To access Longwood, visitors had to have a governor’s pass and a notice of audience from Grand Marshal, General Bertrand. Count Montholon or General Gourgaud, in uniform, would receive them in the veranda and introduced them into the billiard room, which served as an anteroom. This, the largest room in the house, was the most suitable for the exercise. Napoleon sometimes dictated its memories while walking up and down, hands behind his back. To observe the sentries and the comings and goings of the British, Napoleon had made two holes in the shutters using his knife