Old Lighthouse and Clock Tower (Colombo)

Old Lighthouse and Clock Tower (Colombo)
The Colombo Old Lighthouse & Clock Tower (Sinhala: කොළඹ කොටුව පැරණි ප්‍රදීපාගාරය සහ ඔරලෝසු කණුව; Tamil: கொழும்பு கோட்டை மற்றும் கடிகாரங்கள் போஸ்ட்) is a clock tower and was a lighthouse situated at the junction of Chatham Street and Janadhipathi Mawatha in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka. The tower was used in navigation to indicate the safe passage for vessels entering the Colombo Harbor at night time. Although the lighthouse is no longer operational, the tower still functions as a clock tower.

This clock tower is unique because it is the zero-mileage point in Colombo (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). 

Old Lighthouse and Clock Tower
Following the construction plan by Emily Elizabeth Swinburne, the wife of Governor Sir Henry George Ward (1797-1860 A.D.), the tower was built under the supervision of John Fleming Churchill (1829–1894 A.D.) during the years 1856-1857 and the construction was done by the Public Work Department (Manathunga, 2016; Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). The 29 m tall tower was the tallest structure in Colombo at the time  (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

Firstly, a clock was installed on the completed tower in 1857 and a navigation light was added to it in 1867 (Manathunga, 2016). In the beginning, the light was lit using Kerosene but from 1907, gas was used for the illumination (Manathunga, 2016). In 1932, an electric-powered light was installed on the tower but it was deactivated in 1952 after its light became obscured by nearby buildings (Manathunga, 2016). It is said that the light of this tower was visible to the eye at a distance of 17 miles [(27.35 km) Manathunga, 2016].

In 1914, the original clock of the tower was replaced with the current clock (Manathunga, 2016).  It is said that the original clock was manufactured by renowned watchmaker Dent who produced the Big Ben in Westminster  Palace (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). 

See also
#) Colombo Lighthouse


1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. p.24.
2) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.14.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 14 November 2022
Previous Post Next Post