Kandy's Victorian Era Water Fountain Restored

Print
Created on Monday, 17 June 2013

The 138-year-old wrought-iron fountain dating back to 1875 located in Deva Veediya was renovated and ceremonially bequeathed to the public of Kandy earlier this month. Mayor Mahindra Ratwatte initiated the renovation as a part of his city beautification program. The DFCC made available a grant of Rs 300,000.  K A Dinapala & Sons donated a water pump and Nippon Electricals donated the electrical equipment. The Governor of the Central Province Tikiri Kobbakaduwa ceremonially opened the renovated fountain recently in the presence of a distinguished gathering.

Kandy welcome Arch for the Royal visitors Kandy welcome Arch for the Royal visitors Governor Kobbakaduwa opens the renovated water fountain in the presence of Mayor Mahindra Ratwatte, Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake and other distinguished guestsGovernor Kobbakaduwa opens the renovated water fountain in the presence of Mayor Mahindra Ratwatte, Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake and other distinguished guests

 

The inscribed dedication on the fountain reads "Erected by the Coffee Planters of Ceylon in Commemoration of the visit of Albert Edward, The Prince of Wales (1841-1910) to Kandy December 1875." The Prince of Wales was the eldest son of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) who succeeded his mother as King Edward VII (1901-10).   

The Prince of Wales is said to have had a passion for travel and hunting. His tour of India that was the “jewel” of the British Crown was no surprise. His tour of Ceylon, it appears, was more owing to his own wish to see the island, perhaps to satisfy

Clock Tower at the Jaffna Esplanade Clock Tower at the Jaffna Esplanade Prince of Wales College, MoratuwaPrince of Wales College, Moratuwahis desire for hunting. His South Asian tour lasted from October 1875 to May 1876. His first port of call was Colombo where he arrived on December 01.  He spent a total of seven days on the island visiting Kandy from December 02 to 04. While in Kandy he had a private viewing of the sacred tooth relic, witnessed a perehara organized in his honour, and visited the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. From Kandy he travelled to Ruwanwella via Nawalapitiya for an elephant hunt. He left for India on December 08.

The visit of the Prince to the island was one of the landmark events of the then British colony in the last quarter of the 19th century. Ironically the Kandy city water fountain was built in 1875 by “Coffee Planters” after the heyday of the coffee economy had come to a somewhat abrupt end a few years earlier. By the 1860s around 250,000 acres were under coffee. In 1869, a fungal disease called Hemileia Vastatrix devastated the coffee plantations. Hundreds of planters abandoned their plantations and left the country. However, the British planters soon found a successful substitute in tea. Thus, the Coffee Planters soon turned into Tea Planters.     

The visit of the Prince of Wales created a great deal of interest in the country, especially among the emerging Sri Lankan business class. The richest among them at that time, Charles Henry de Soysa, who inherited a very successful business from his father Jeronis de Soysa and made it grow further entertained the royal visitors to a lavish dinner said to have been served on gold plates, with cutlery made of gold and silver and embellished with precious stones. De Soysa also founded Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa and Princess of Wales College, Moratuwa in honour of the visiting prince and his consort. (Originally there were two boys' schools and two girls' schools, with one in each category teaching in English and the other in “native” language. Later the schools were integrated).

People in Jaffna collected money and built a clock tower to celebrate the visit. It was damaged in the war in the 1980s and was repaired with funds that the British donated following the visit to the island in 1998 by Prince Charles, the current Prince of Wales.

Friday 22nd of September 2017. Joomla Templates Free. The Kandy News Online Edition - CMS Implementation: Webvision Sri Lanka.