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14.2 Newtown

'Anything is possible to happen in Newtown' (Anonymous 1999).

Newtown (sometimes spelled 'New Town') like many other settlements called 'new towns' or 'new cities'--such as Naples in Italy, Uusikaupunki in Finland, or Novgorod in Russia--is amongst the oldest communities of its region. In the 18th century, the British called it Charlotte Ville and intented to move the whole capital there.

In short, Newtown is two squares connected by one street. Newtown Savannah was to be the central square of the new capital. The Anglican Church was first constructed on that site, the cemetery remains next to it. Currently the Savannah is a playing field but is in a dilapidated condition (see Fig. 59). The other square is in front of the Fatima Church in the SE end of Newtown. It is much better kept than the Savannah with small lawn surrounded by plants.

The two squares are connected by Victoria Street (Fig. 64). Most of the housing and almost all commercial services are situated along the street between the squares. The street is heavily used since it is the only route to Roseau from the southern parts of Dominica. In the vicinity of the Savannah where most of the business activities are situated the street is framed with verandahs. There are no large supermarkets in Newtown but several small grocery stores, bars, restaurants and other sevices are located on the sides of Victoria Street.

Newtown is separated from Central Roseau by a hill that houses several national institutions. The State House, former Governor's House, is on the top of the hill. Opposite to it is the Public Library and the Dominica Broadcasting Service (DBS) radio station. The Dominican Parliament, or the House of Assemby, is situated opposite to the DBS station. Between the institutions and the Newtown Savannah there is a triangle-shaped High Street area with some housing, offices, warehouses and a Texaco gasoline station. Many Roseauans assert that the area is not part of Newtown at all but Newtown begins at the Savannah.

To the SE from the Fatima Square, Victoria Street changes to a road leading to the villages of Soufriere and Grand Bay. Steep mountain cliffs force the road to follow the sealine. Some 500 metres to the South there is the community of Castle Comfort with hotels and suburban housing.

Coastline between the Savannah and the Fatima Church is filled with warehouses and housing. Newtown is traditionally a fishing community. In 1991, Newtown had 18 canoes, 25 keel boats and one sloop for professional fishing purposes (DNSP s.a.: 88). Newtown has a bad reputation amongst the Roseauans. It is associated with unemployment and violence but, on the other hand, also with the sense of community. Newtowners differ from other Roseauans also in prefering generally football to cricket, which is the national sport of Dominica. Football is often played at the Savannah which is, however, used for the same purpose by other Roseauans, too.



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