TOURIST HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS BUILT DURING BRITISH PERIOD OF RULING – Galle Heritage

TOURIST HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS BUILT DURING BRITISH PERIOD OF RULING

British administration had to build hotels and restaurants to provide facilities to foreigners arrived at the town through the harbour as Galle fort continued developing as a commercial town and also as a harbour town. Old maps depict existence of several large hotels in the Galle fort during 18th century.

New oriental hotel or N.O.H. can be reckoned as a distinctive hotel built during that century. New oriental hotel was constructed with there stories at the junction between church street and middle street on the land where the official residence of the army company commander.

During early 17th century priests quarters were situated at these premises. It had been a large engine storied building for the use of priests. New oriental hotel or N.O.H. reflects many European architectural features. All window frames of the building are arch shaped armed glass frames are felted. The front verandah of the building is reinforced using arches by British. Arches are covered with a carpentry fence. Beading at the end of each floor to separately show very floor can be seen from outside. Wooden planks and ceramic tiles are used for the floor inside, Architectural features introduced by British during late 19th century are highly pronounced.

A hotel named old mansion was mountaineer in an Old Dutch building, suitably altered on Church Street during British times. That hotel was managed by a person named Hendry Bogar till 1805AD. According to survey maps of 19th century, this hotel seems to have been run in the present clan house building. This is a Hipp Roofed, two story building equally showing British and Dutch architectural features. Front of the ground floor consists of 05 semi circular arches and the first floor has 6 dual carpentry pillars. Beadings are carved on the face of the wall to demarcate first and second floors. The carpentry fence on the first floor is evidently an addition during British period.

Window frames on the front of the ground floor carry some spiel features. The spaces left for natural lighting with both windows are wider than the sections occupied by window panes. The frame is set using pieces of glass forming a cobweb pattern. The tradition of making windows allowing a larger space for natural lighting had been adopted in 16th and 17th centuries. There by it can be determined that those window frames had been made during Dutch period of governance and as such the building it self too belong to the same period.

A hotel named “New Mansion’’ was started by C.B. Bogar during British period at no 28, middle street, in Galle fort.  This was a single building although separated as two building at present bearing nos.28 and 30. Appearance of this building in the 1689 map of J.C. Toozy it is clear that it was build in the 17th century. Since it is shown in that map and also due to prominent Dutch architectural features of the building it is evident that the building belonged to an important person of Dutch East India Company during Dutch period. Artistic carvings unique to Dutch architecture are seen on the front door frame of the building. At the front section, to the left, there is a door to enter the horses in. Inside there is a middle court with huge carpentry pillars. Several hexagonal straight pillars felted with large beams of timber for balks have been added to the verandah to hold the wooden upstairs. This is the only building in Galle fort where such pillars are seen. At the rear verandah are orbed straight carpentry pillars with tops decorated with a beading of simple design. Half wall at front and window frames with moldings and glass window panels appear to be additions made later. It appears that British had attempted to change the front with pillars and the rear section to use the building for mansion hotel. A note in English to say “night restaurant’’ was found on the front wall of the building.

In 1868Ad, another hotel was started by C.B. Bogar himself in the Eglinton House ( where Sunday schools were conducted by church those days) at the junction where hospital street and peddler street meet which is the building presently used as the Regional office of bank of Ceylon. Eglinton building was sold by C.B.Bogar to A.R. Eopram. The building used as the savings bank of Government kachcheri during early 20th Century is presently used as Regional office of Bank of Ceylon. Art Deco architectural features can be identified in this building.

Sea view hotel situated on Rampart street during British time can be recoded as a popular hates at that time. Sea view hotel carried on its business in two buildings at the end of the church street. The hotel was originally owned by the elder brother of A. R. Eapram, named Angelo Eaprams and later the building was bought by Macan Markar. Despite the hotel is seen as a two storey building in old photographs sea view hotel was housed in a single story building in front of that building as depicted in the survey plans prepared during British period. From an outside view, two storied building with  main rafter and  tiled with Calicut tiles used in 19th century shows British architectural features which  can be seen even today? In upstairs is a concrete balcony surrounded with a concrete grill and hooded by a concrete sunshade. Windows are arch shaped and tiled with grass panels. Dual carpentry pillars on the upstairs stand out among the British architectural features reflected in the beautiful beadings at the front and rear faces of the building. It is evident that those were the alterations made to the building to make use of the building as the hotel. Date marks at the front side of the building also make it clear that the building underwent those changes in the year, 1887AD.

Architectural features of Dutch period of governance can be clearly identified in the other single storey building. Front section of the building has two verandahs. It appears that those verandahs had been added on two occasions. In the first verandah, carpentry pillars have caputs with a simple beading. Other section of the verandah has wooden pillars and is covered with windows fitted with lattice. According to its doors and windows also, it can be considered that this building was constructed either during the latter days of Dutch era or early British era. Its roof is gable shaped and semicircular tiles are seen even today. Apparently British have changed the verandah sections.

Among the hotels of British time, pavilion hotel takes a special place. The hotel was situated on a land in front of the Triton tower in fort. Before the hotel started, there were building of early 17th century on that land which were used for hospitals built for the slaves captured and brought by Dutch from African religions. This building is identified as the Kafir hospital in the maps of Dutch period. Pavilion hotel was constructed later connecting with the   Kafir hospital also adopting architectural features of Europe in the later period of British governance. The building is constructed with an upper storey in which the cement grill fence round upstairs balcony and the flight of steps therein reveal architectural patterns of late 19th century. Later this building became popular as Kularathna Bungalow.

Lorette hotel on the middle street was another specific hotel during those days. Dissanayaka building of the present southland collage was as the Clorette Hotel that time. Part of the building is constructed with stone and rest is built using cement. The front section of these building shows more British architectures signs.

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