The General Post Office (G.P.O) Colombo

The General Post Office Colombo
Horse-drawn mail coaches in front of G.P.O, Colombo, Sri Lanka c.1895-1905s #IMG634

In the year 1796 the British Colonial government took over postal services from the Dutch. After British conquered the whole country (Year 1815) they appointed a postmaster Captain Kennedy who later on became the First Postmaster General of Sri Lanka. Ceylon took the lead among Asian countries in using horse drawn carriages to transport mail, when the first mail coach service was started between Colombo and Kandy on February 1, 1832.

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Year 1895 – 2000
old general post office
Janadhipathi Mawatha, Colombo

The General Post Office (G.P.O) was designed and built by Mr. Herbert Frederick Tomalin of the Public Works Department and was assisted by Mr. Tunstall.

From the time the work start on G.P.O. building commenced on October 1891, Mr. Thomalin’s devotion to the building was almost a case of structure worship It was in 1893 the roof principals and iron work were fixed. The contract for casting the heavy columns was let to M/s. Walker, Cons and Co. in May, and the work, which was one requiring considerable care and skills,

The heavy iron trusses were made in the Government Factory, the Workmanship being excellent; the framing and fitting of the iron work for floors and etc., was also performed in the Government Factory, besides The stone flying stair cases were completed during the same year. The very large stones required were quarried at Panadura and transported to Colombo. A large quantity of cut stones for staircases was roughly dressed at Ruwanwella and Ratnapura and transported by boat to the Colombo Beria Lake and moved thence to the site, the method being found cheaper than obtaining the stones nearer at hand and transporting by road.

The G.P.O. made fair progress, and part of it was occupied early in January 1895.

Image submitted by Niranjan Karunathilake

2 thoughts on “The General Post Office (G.P.O) Colombo

  1. I have a person in Colombo who states they have sent me regestered mail four time and it has never arrived and he informs me that Colombo post steal his mail, if you want proff of this I can forward copy of emails

  2. That’s true Rodger. Your not the only one, as I have had many a letter thieved as well, depriving my dear friends from our “old” and endearing method of communication. Pity yes?

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