Montserrat is a tiny island and British Dependant Territory situated in the Caribbean Sea, 1350 miles south east of Miami and near the other Leeward Island of Antigua.

The local people - Montserratians speak English as well as a form of Patois and at the census of 1990 the population numbered 11,500 with Plymouth, the capital, as the only main community.

Although sited and named by Christopher Columbus in 1493, the first European settlers on the island were of Irish-Catholic stock, fleeing from persecution on nearby St.Kitts in the early 1630's. To this day Montserrat is known as the Caribbean's Emerald Isle.

Until ash covered the land, Montserrat was extremely fertile providing good conditions for growing the island's principal cash crops of tomatoes, limes and the soft locally woven Sea Island cotton.

George Martin fell in love with the island when he first visited with his wife in 1977. The island exuded an over-powering sense of peace and amity - all the right ambience for the creation of great music. In 1979 George completed building AIR Studios Montserrat which for nearly 11 years became one of the most prolific studios in the world playing host to all the stars of the time, including; Paul McCartney, Dire Straits, Stevie Wonder, The Police, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Ultravox, Eric Clapton and Lou Reed, to name but a few.

Unfortunately Montserrat was dealt a devastating blow in 1989 when Hurricane Hugo hit destroying the island, ultimately leading to the relocation of AIR Studios to London.

Then in 1995, just as the island seemed to be getting back to its feet, the volcano that had been dormant for so long, which dominated the southern part of the island, erupted. This was the first of many violent eruptions that have destroyed the island's only town and seaport, Plymouth, the airport and much of the industry and agricultural land. Thousands of islanders lost everything; their homes, their livelihoods and some, their lives. 

Since the eruption George Martin has been raising funds to help the victims and families on the island. The first event was a star-studded event at London's Royal Albert Hall featuring many artists who had previously recorded on the island including Paul McCartney, Mark Knopfler, Elton John, Sting, Eric Clapton and Midge Ure. All the proceeds from the show went towards short-term relief for the islanders.

George's second major initiative was to release five hundred limited edition lithographs of his score for the Beatles song 'Yesterday'. Complete with mistakes and tea stains the lithographs are numbered and signed by Paul McCartney and George.

The lithograph sale raised more than $1.4million which helped fund the building of a new cultural and community centre for Montserrat, providing a much needed focal point to help the re-generation of the island.




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The centre was completed and handed over the the people of Montserrat in 2007. It is a focus point for meeting and entertainment on the island and was visited by HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall on their visit to the island in 2008. Funds continue to be raised to help in the running of the centre and making sure that it remains an up-to-date multi-media facility for the region.