Mackinnon Mackenzie Building, Colombo Fort

Mackinnon Mackenzie Building
Mackinnon Mackenzie Building (Sinhala: මැකිනන් මැකන්සි ගොඩනැගිල්ල) is located at the intersection of York Street and the Layden Bastian Road in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka. The popular Grand Oriental Hotel is situated next to this building (Manathunga, 2016).

The Mackinnon Mackenzie and Company of Ceylon Limited is one of the oldest companies in the country. It has a history associated with the British India Steamship Company [(BI) a company founded in 1856 and closed in 1972] and the Peninsular and Oriental Steamship Company [(P&O) a company founded in 1837 and closed in 2006]. The P&O started an agency in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in 1842, and their local shipping agent at that time was E. Coates & Co. (Galle) Ltd., situated within the Galle Fort. However, the P&O was taken over by the newly formed Mackinnon Mackenzie & Co. in 1871.

In 1917, the Mackinnon Mackenzie & Co. established their office in Colombo Fort in a building owned by the Earl of Inchcape. They purchased the building from Earl of Inchcape in 1921 and expanded it during 1925 to accommodate the activities of the company. In 1952, the company converted to a limited liability status and in 1974, the ownership of the Mackinnons Group of Companies was acquired by the John Keells Group. However, the building is still used by them for their commercial activities.

The building
Old P&O
Although the building has gone through major renovations, most of the original architectural features still remain in some extent in the present building. The part that faces York Street has been almost renovated (Manathunga, 2016). The decorative features of the half-round arches of the first and second floors have slightly changed by recent renovations, finally giving them a plain appearance. The half-round arches, columns and the pair of two domes at the topmost floor have given a vivid appearance to the present building.

A protected monument
The building of Lanka Mackinnon Mackenzie Ltd. located at Layden Bastian Street in Colombo Fort, in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Colombo is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 21 January 2000.

1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.32-33.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 1116. 21 January 2000.
3) The official webpage of Mackinnon Mackenzie Shipping (

Location Map
This page was last updated on 15 August 2022

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