Sunday, 21 April 2019

Old Town Hall, Pettah

Old Town Hall, Pettah
The Old Town Hall is located at No. 290 on Main Street in Pettah in Colombo District, Sri Lanka. It is considered the first town hall built in Colombo (Corea, 1988).

History
The old town hall building was designed and constructed by the government architect J. G. Smither of the Public Work Department as the Town Hall of Colombo Municipal Council (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009; Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). It was declared open in 1873, by Sir William Gregory, the then British Governor of Ceylon (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). In May 1928, the building was given to the Marketing Department as the town hall was shifted to a new building located at Vihara Maha Devi Park in Cinnamon Gardens. The building was then used as a public market.

Under the direction of Ranasinghe Premadasa, the then Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, the building was renovated in 1979 by the municipal council during the tenure of the office of B. Sirisena Cooray, Mayor of Colombo. On 16 December 1984, it was re-established as a municipal museum and a cultural art and trade centre and declared open by the then president of Sri Lanka, J.R. Jayawardena.

Building
The two-storied Town Hall building has been designed in the Neo-Gothic architectural style (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). The wooden upper floor, pointed arch-shaped doors and windows are some of the elements which depict British architectural influence (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

The building facing the north direction is entered through a portico which is about 10.3 m in length and about 5.1 m in width (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The portico gives entrance to a large open verandah of about 17.67 m long and 3.75 m wide (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Several old pieces of equipment and items used in the past in railway transportation and by the Public Work Department are exhibited in an area on the ground floor (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

A protected monument
The old Town Hall building of the Municipal Council located on Main Street in the Grama Niladhari Division of Pettah (Pitakotuwa) in Colombo 11 is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 16 August 2013.

References
1) Corea, I., 1988. Glimpses of Colombo. Colombo Municipal Council. p.127.
2) De Silva, N.; Chandrasekara, D.P., 2009. Heritage Buildings of Sri Lanka. Colombo: The National Trust Sri Lanka, ISBN: 978-955-0093-01-4.  p.184.
3) Rajapakshe, S.; Bandara, T. M. C.; Vanninayake, R. M. B. T. A. B. (Editors), 2018. Puravidya Sthana Namavaliya: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Vol. I. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 978-955-7457-19-2. p.29.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Extraordinary. No: 1823/73. 16 August 2013. p.6A.
5) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. pp.70-71.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 10 August 2022

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