Harrison’s Cave derives its name from Thomas Harrison, who was a prominent land owner in the area during the early 1700s. It is not clear whether Mr. Harrison ever entered the cave that bears his name, but others certainly did!
During the 18th and 19th centuries, several expeditions attempted to explore Harrison’s Cave with little advancement. Unfortunately for them, the natural entrances to Harrison’s Cave were hard to access, and the internal cave network presented many challenges which were only conquered much later on in the 1970s.
In 1974 Danish engineer & self proclaimed cave explorer Ole Sorensen along with his two Barbadian friends Tony Mason and Allison Thornhill, rediscovered and mapped Harrison’s Cave. After 1974, the Barbados government started developing Harrison’s Cave as a show cave and attraction, and undertook the task of excavating shafts and tunnels that could accommodate trams.
In 1981, Harrison’s Cave was officially opened to the public.The Boyce Tunnel, named after equipment operator Noel Boyce who broke ground to open the cave’s natural passageways, leads to the entrance of the cave. Beyond this point, Harrison’s Cave is a massive stream cave system that is at least 2.3 kilometres long. Interior temperature is an average 27 degrees Celsius and its largest cavern, the Great Hall measures 15 metres high.
Harrison’s Cave is considered an active cave as it carries water, and it is very much alive as its stalagmites are still growing albeit by less than the thickness of a piece of paper each year; but that’s very fast in geological terms!