Sunday, 21 April 2019

Old Town Hall, Pettah

Old Town Hall, Pettah
The Old Town Hall located on Main Street at Gaspaha junction, Pettah was the first town hall of Colombo (Corea, 1988).

The old town hall building was designed and constructed by the government architect J. G. Smither as the Town Hall of Colombo Municipal Council (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). 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.

On 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 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 center and declared open by the then president of Sri Lanka, J.R. Jayawardena.

The two-storied town hall building bears architectural features belonging to the British period (1815 - 1948). 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 to 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 equipment and items used in the past in the 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 in the 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.

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.

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This page was last updated on 17 January 2022
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