Evolvement of Galle Fort Town Plan During British Era – Galle Heritage

Evolvement of Galle Fort Town Plan During British Era

The changes of land use of buildings in the town plan of Galle fort during British period can be identified in the maps.

In other to identify those changes in Galle fort, details are studied under several sub headings below.

  • Development of Rampart.
  • Development of areas adjacent to harbor
  • Infrastructural development

Development of Rampart

When Galle fort was captured by British from Dutch, development work on Rampart had been fully completed. With the expansion of British governance throughout the country it does not appear that there was a necessity for British to maintain the fortress used as military points by Dutch and they unified those constructions of Dutch time for their administrative purposes. No major structural changes were carried .out on the Rampart by British. However, they allocated a significant sum of money for annual maintenance of the rampart. Similarly, they effected some constructions related to suit their needs.

Along with development of the harbor, a lighthouse to transmit signals to ships at sea was constructed at Kodigala on the rampart using cast iron by public works Department on 11th April 1848AD. This is considered the first lighthouse in Ceylon Further; this can be regarded as the first time cast iron was used as raw material in Galle fort for civil constructions during British era.

Cast iron slabs of width 111/8 inches to 8/5 inches were used to construct the lighthouse. In height is 80 feet from the base diameter of the foundation is 8 feet 5 inches, diameter at the top; 7 feet and diameter of the gallery; 12 feet. Metal fence encircling gallery is 4 feet tall. Tall total weight of the light house after assembly was 50 tons. Light house lamps were made of brass. There were 13 such lamps for illumination British government had to spend 3000 sterling pounds to build the lighthouse. The lighthouse performed at that place till 1936AD. This lighthouse said to have been destroyed due to an accidental fire occurred due to use of kerosene oil, with the light house keeper in it.

Ulrich tower was selected to construct a new lighthouse in 1938AD. During Dutch period cannons were placed on that stretch of rampart. British rulers were not concerned on war construction and they change the set up to suit their requirements.

Concurrent with the development of Galle harbor, institutions connected with harbor activities were established in Galle fort, with the development of land transport system. Galle fort becomes a busy harbor town and a new fort entrance gate was opened between sun tower and moon tower in 1873AD. Area facing rampart witch was a moat then was developed and the main access to fort from pettah was opened. Part of the stone wall built by Dutch was removed and a wide entrance with an arch was constructed by British. To enter the fort, a bridge also had been made. This is the largest arch constructed by British in Galle fort. British governance spent Rs.11824 for that construction. British had to remove the official quarters of the Portuguese governor and other parts of the building located at that site for construction of the entrance gate.

The shape of the rampart was not make use of the constructions connected with rampart the same way prior period but they used those buildings for other purpose and covered the others which they did not use.

Gun powder store room near Ulrich tower, armory there in and the changed were used to store dynamite to blast rocks at sea.

Watch tower on moon tower was constructed in 1883AD. There was a Belfry at that place until then enclosed within two arch shaped walls and an arch shaped stone roof. Time was alarmed by that belfry. That tower was demolished to construct the watch tower. Watch tower is completely built with shapely finished stone blocks. An engineer attached to public works department, Hendry John Deslarges, was in charge of this construction. Jaffna watch tower was also one of his constructions. Mudlier Samson Abroo Rajapaksha a famous Mudlier in Kosgoda extended his support to purchase the bell, citizens in Galle town collected commemoration of the famous doctor in Galle at that time.

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