The Richmond vs Mahinda Teams of 1955 in A Classic Gathering

Courtesy of Nandasiri Jasentuliyane,** who was known to us then as N. De Silva 

The “Galle Esplanade,” as it was then known, has been transformed since the playing arena has become a test ricket ground. It was, as now, oval-shaped; but there the resemblance ends. Note the old pavilion in the background of this photo from the 1930s.

This ground was the site of soccer and hockey matches as well — supporting two sites for such games. On occasions it was also site for çeremonial’contests marking vesak or other special days …. and even supported a hackery race or two …. and even, on one rare occasion,  an elephant race  involving domesticated elephants.

More centrally from a personal point of view, the Galle Esplanade was the home ground of my beloved St. Aloysius College and therefore was the spot to which I went every evening in term-time for my sporting endeavours.

The simplicity and beauty of the site was enhanced by the evergreen hedge at waist-height that fenced it. The hedge had entrance-points in the south, north and north. This meant that anyone and everyone could walk through the arena from the south to the north-western bus stand area,.

 Royal Mail cart parked on the southern side with the hedge alongside and the old pavilion in the background — photo by Lincoln Perera in the 1930s

Galle arena before the Esplanade and the Anthonisz clocktower along the ramparts were engineered …a rare picture







Filed under architects & architecture, British colonialism, Dutch colonialism, economic processes, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, modernity & modernization, photography, sri lankan society, transport and communications, travelogue

2 responses to “The Richmond vs Mahinda Teams of 1955 in A Classic Gathering

  1. Tommy Fernando

    In 1953-54, as a recognized ‘slow’ bowler in the SAC under-16 Cricket team, I remember our training sessions in the evenings in the Galle Esplanade. One of our matches was in Matara where we went by train for the day. A particular highlight at the Esplanade one evening was an exhibition soccer match by an European soccer team from Croatia. Cricket, Soccer, and Table Tennis were the games one could engage in at SAC, and of course swimming in the Galle Harbour or in the Closenberg surfing bay.

  2. Lam Seneviratne

    Such valuable old photos and wonderful memories.

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