Chippingham was once a horse racing and polo track called Track Dunmore. When Track Dunmore opened in 1915, it was beautiful – a rare sight to behold. Track Dunmore brought the rich and famous to watch horse racing, at its finest, in Nassau.
Among the well-heeled, who sat in the exclusive viewing boxes in 1915, were the ultra wealthy Astor family. Their yacht was moored in Nassau harbour.
Something pushed Track Dunmore into obscurity, in a very short period of time.
By 1915, it was more than abundantly clear that World War 1 would not be a short war. This undoubtedly didn’t help. Then there was the growth in the negro population. With very little happening in terms of economic growth, there was a steady exodus of Bahamians, out of the Out Islands, into Nassau.
By 1924, Track Dunmore was fallow, unproductive land. This coincided with the high society move to the western end of Nassau.
Land was plentiful and ripe for development. This was also an advantageous move away from a growing negro suburb area around Nassau. Grant’s Town and Bain Town was had now crossed Wulff Road with the new J. S. Engler (American grocery store owner from Florida) subdivision called Englerston. Negro communities were expanding west taking Augusta, West Street, Meeting Street and Blue Hills.
Bahamian House of Assembly Member Leon Walton Young, a black man, had created Walton Ville, a negro subdivision, with Young Street running through it.
Then there was Kemp’s Addition, on the southern tip of Young Street. Kemp’s Addition was created by a negro tailor called A. J. Kemp around the same time as Walton Ville in 1920 or so.
Englerston, WaltonVille, Kemp’s Addition, Grant’s Town and Bain Town in 1924 and for a hundred years hence, became synonymous, with poor living conditions for blacks in Nassau.
Harold Nelson Chipman, one of Nassau’s Biggest Landowners, Jumps on the Low Cost property market for Negroes 1924
Horse racing in Nassau moved from Track Dunmore, further west along Bay Street, to the Hobby Horse Race Track. Out West was gaining in popularity as an exclusive conclave. Westward Villas, a whites only subdivision, most for American and European market, was also taking shape astound this time.
There were very few options left to Harold Nelson Chipman in terms of monetising the Track Dunmore land. He too decided to jump on the low cost land scheme for blacks. In 1924, Chipman was offering a free lot, if anyone could show him in Nassau where they could buy a better piece for the same price.
Chipman was selling lots for £60 each, payable in £1 a month instalments.
Unlike WaltonVille, Kemp’s Addition and Englerston, H. N. Chipman was advertising that there would only be 12 lots to a block. This meant no overcrowding. Chipman also advertised that water pumps would be installed and streets would be 30 to 40 feet wide.
Chipman introduces building standards, minimum value of homes that could be constructed and a committee to evaluate applications
Harold Chipman began something quite new for his town development. Chipman introduced a minimum value for any home built there. He wanted to ensure, that area which would eventually become known as Chippingham, didn’t fall into the underdevelopment mire, which engulfed Walton Ville, Kemp’s Addition and Grant’s Town.
A £100 minimum building cost was stipulated in the conveyance document.
“Mr. H. N. Chipman, one of the biggest Real Estate men in the island, a developer, owner of Track Dunmore, behind historic Ford Charlotte, has decided to develop this extensive tract of land and convert it into a small town.
For many years this property was the centre of horse racing. Originally owned by the late Reverend Dunlop, it was leased by the Bahamas Racing and Country Club, and there they held their race meets before the war.
Eventually the property came into the possession of Mr. Chipman who is now going to put it to good use, by encouraging the people to own their own homes and land.
The soil in this property is of the best in the island and the development could be very easily and inexpensively accomplished. The water is excellent and Mr Chipman offers a free lot to anyone who can produce its superior from any part of the island.
Pumps have already been erected and tests are now being made to ascertain the amount of supply. In this development there will be 12 houses to the block, they will be properly laid out macadam streets (some of the streets will be 30 to 40 feet wide). Mr Chipman says that already there are over 50 applicants for lots.
Lots will be sold for £60 each on the instalment basis, being paid for in instalments of £1 monthly. Certain discounts will be given on cash payments. Mr Chipman says that fully one-half of the selling price of the lot will be used in the laying out of roads and parks.
If a man shows good faith, lays the foundation of his building, he will be assisted with advances on building material, payable in instalments covering a period of two years.
Three months grace on every year will be given to any purchaser in case of illness, rather than that he should lose his property.
There will be certain building restrictions stipulated in the sale of these lots, one being that no house of less than £100 can be erected. All plans of buildings will have to be submitted to a Committee for approval.
There are over 300 lots in this property and the first formal sale will take place on New Year’s Day. Included in this property is the long stretch of elevated land which combines a splendid view of the harbour and surrounding country.Mr Chipman estimates that there will be more than four miles of roadway in this development.”