The main building was planned in 1785 (the year after Nelson arrived in English Harbour as Captain of HMS BOREAS) and was completed in 1788.
The ground floor was used to store pitch, turpentine and lead, and there were offices for the engineers of the Dockyard upstairs.¬†The brick passageway at the entrance divided brick-lined pits used for storing the pitch, which was in barrels. Some original pitch marks may still be seen at the foot of the stairs. The bricks used in the building were brought over from England as ship’s ballast, and it is said that the ballast used on the return trip was mostly rum.
The main floor houses a comfortable reception area, lounge and a charming bar. The ship’s plan behind the bar is of Nelson’s ship, H M S BOREAS (meaning “the North Wind”), a 142 foot 28 gun frigate built at Hull. This plan is a photographic copy of the original Admiralty draft of this vessel.¬†Every ship had to leave a draft submitted to their Lordships of the Admiralty for approval of design. The frame surrounding the plans is of lignum vitae, and is an original door frame from one of the entrances to the building.

The round pillars on the grounds once supported a large boat house with a sail loft above. The plans of this building may be seen in the museum. The roof was destroyed by earthquake in 1871, and concrete caps were placed on each pillar to prevent erosion.