Pedro Castle best known as the “Birthplace of Democracy in the Cayman Islands”, Pedro St. James was the venue for a meeting on 5 December 1831 where the decision was made to form the first elected parliament. Later, on 3 May 1835, Robert Thompson, sent from the Governor of Jamaica, held court at Pedro St. James to issue the proclamation ending slavery in the British Empire.Over the ensuing years, the building has been buffeted by hurricanes, struck by lightening, and engulfed by fire. The “Castle” was abandoned by the Eden family in 1877 after lightening struck the main building killing the daughter of the house, Mary Jane. Unused, it ultimately fell into decay, and by 1910 it was reported that
only the original stone walls remained. The building was renovated by the Hurlston family in 1914, but was then abandoned again in 1920.In 1959, a portion of the property was purchased by Thomas Hubbell who renovated the “Castle” and lived there until 1963. It was operated as a restaurant and hotel from 1967 until it fell victim to a severe fire in 1970. It was repaired and again operated as a restaurant from 1974 until the late 1980s when it was damaged by a hurricane and another fire. In 1989, the restaurant operation went bankrupt and the “Castle” again sat vacant.Finally, in 1991, the property was purchased by the Cayman Islands Governement for development as an historic site, and the Canadian firm of Commonwealth Historic Resource Management Limited was retained to develop a restoration and interpretation plan for the site. That work concluded in 1996 at a cost of approximately $8 million and produce the historic site that exists today.