Photo Quiz- Sam


Can you identify the location and name of the building shown in  this 1910 photograph?



18 thoughts on “Photo Quiz- Sam

  1. I have not been to Rajasthan – but, are there coconut trees in Rajasthan ?

    I am training my eyes and my mind to Plant Blindness– see the trees and vegetation around the building .
    Who is to say, this is in Colombo ?
    it may be Colomb – because I see those nice big trees in the picuture .

    OR — It may be anywhere in Colonial Asia , where the white man went and put his mark on other peoples places ! and by the way- there is NO ‘white man ‘ in the photo !

    it looks to me like the old ‘ es wattuwa ‘ , ( agree with Nisantha – he knows his stuff !! ) as I remember it from 1949- when my father was warded there for something, and we kids were taken to see him, and I got very scared when I saw my Thatha with all those bandages around his eyes !
    But, then, Sam’s photo is from 1910- I was not around then- even my Thatha was not around then .!!
    how would I know ??
    I never studied Old Colonial Buildings anywhere as I had no use for the old Colonial Masters anyway !

    However looking at the top globe on the building that jumps right at you, it seems to me that an Islam business guy built it combining Colonial Style and Islam Pinnacle to grace the top of the building .

    I remember something like this in York Street- Main Street- ? Gaffoor building at the corner of Main st and york st ?.
    I used to stop there to look at pic of Rukmani Devi – where a vendor had a small cart full of Sinhala, / Tamil/ Hindi movie stars .

    I used to walk along those streets after school, with my sisters, to my Thatha’s office ( at the Central Bank ) that was located at the Hema’s building , and hang around there, till he finished work, at 4.30 and drive us all home to Hendala .
    if it was a friday- we got our treat from Nawaloke Hotel and Bakery in Peliayagoda .

    ok ok- I am off the topic now – wondering around !!

    Q- What is the building –
    A -Gaffoor Building

    Q- where is the building located ?
    A– Corner of York St- and Main Street or what ever the street was that had Cargills on one side and Hema’s building on the opposite side .

    Gee – my old head is now spinning .
    I have to have a break from this thing now !
    it is almost 10 pm here in Ontario, Canada – ‘
    Dream time for me- as I was up till very late last night with the pics of Antelope Canyon !

    sleepyeagledeepthie .


  2. Anyway- on second thoughts- I will agree with the experts – the encylcopedia of class of 64- from Up Above and with Nisantha –
    old Es wattuwa- ( Eye Hospital ) where I remember my Thatha with all those nasty bandages around his eyes .
    Who am I to disagree– Nisantha is always ‘spot on ‘ on these things .
    and confirmed by the Class of 64 Encyclopedia from Up Above and Down Under !

    Am I allowed to change my mind to go along with the experts ?
    I sure hope they are right- I am just going along for the ride !

    if so- it is THE old Eye Hospital .– is my vote on the quiz .
    wideawakeeagledeepthie !!!!


  3. Yes this is the the old Eye hospital building or the Victoria Building.When we were interns & was doing the surgical casualties this was used as the A & E unit and I have slept in one of the rooms in the first floor which was the on call room for interns. Asokan might remember
    We have been trying to get this building for the Health Ministry Museum.It is still maintained with out any changes to the exterior as it appears in the photo but is at present used by NHSL.



  4. Dear Mates, (Ariya writing from London)

    Having returned to the adopted ‘home base’,
    pleased to see the on going intelligent dialogue
    I am absolutely clueless on this and won’t enter the fray
    Being a coward, if I were to go by performances of past
    Like to be in the half of Nisantha, Simone and Deepthie

    There is one significant absence of expressions, renown
    Whose intelligent input so far is missing on this question
    Radiologist with deducing powers of Sherlock Holmes,
    To minimize my agony, illuminate us with thoughts Seelan



    • Ariya,
      My youngest Grand daughter turned 2 today. Party is going to be on Sunday. I just saw your note.
      The building is definitely the old Eye Hospital.

      My memory:-

      1)I have ridden my Moto Guzzi ( motor bike) round & round at the round-about next to the Eye Hosp until the exhaust pipe scratches the road & produce sparks !!! ( in the mid night of course)

      2)The arches in the building are the same.

      3) I may be the only batch mate who had surgery in this building. The Casualty Dept was there. When the “stupid” Bloemfontein glass door cut my forearm up to the bone, I was operated by the Resident surgeon – Asokans Uncle. (Name??? – will let you know later) He sutured all the forearm flexor muscles, ligatured the completely severed Ulna artery & did a primary suture of Median nerve !!! Numbness is still there in the Median nerve distribution. I was saved by my friends, Dharma, Asokan, Arulrajah, Ranjit Almeida & few others- I think that it was Dharma who compressed the artery with a towel until we reached The above building.
      I heard the anaesthestist saying ” This guy dosn’t need much anaesthetics”

      4) The old Vet Dept was also next door or nearby, but in 1910 I notice that the next door had a name board starting with” C”. 2nd line starts wit “CIN”. However I still think that the building in question is Eye Hosp. building.


  5. My wife Kathy, who is a student of Colonial era architecture, guessed the Indo-Saracemic style Victoria Memorial Eye hospital at Ward place instantly. Similar architecture is seen in Cargills building in Fort, by the same designer, Ed Skinner. But to be fair I must recognize Nisantha , Rani, Deepthie, Dalpe and Ranjinie as the winners.
    The building was constructed in 1903, to commemorate Queens Diamond Jubilee. The original B&W Plate picture of the building (1910) is beautifully framed in heavy foliage from a nearby massive tree, against the distant backdrop of palm trees. I recognize two pedestrians, and a twin engine covered ox cart in the left far end on the picture, stark contrast to the present day traffic and the commercial pollution of the present day Lipton circle. I have upgraded the post with two more pictures. Please feel free to click on the images for enlarged views.
    I understand the building is in a bad state of disrepair. I remember cutting through the building every morning during my clinical days. I agree with Dalpe, they should renovate the structure, clean up the bill boards in front and preserve it as a Health Sciences Museum.
    Thanks for playing Photo Quiz!


  6. Seelan, My apologies for not adding you to the winners list. You and I were posting at the same time.
    Thanks for sharing your painful ( perhaps not too much in your case ) memories!


  7. Hello Good Morning Everyone in the Class of 64 !

    This is soooo lovely –

    Thank you Sam, for all the good info and is great to learn about this old building, that was a part of our lives back in the day .
    Like I said, my Thatha had surgery for something or other and I was taken there along with my siblings to see him, and I got real scared seeing my father with both his eyes bandaged .

    Also to know that Kathy is a ‘student of colonial architecture ‘- how wonderful .
    it is amazing what hobbies we take up- once the stress of working /earning a living to pay bills is over and done with .

    Seelan– glad you ‘ woke up ‘ to tell us all about your adventures ! what a story .
    I was wondering why you are quiet !
    ” the guy does not need an anesthetic ‘ !!- this is hilarious , but true, as I did the same thing i at Ragama when we had a shortage of ‘ locals ‘ for suturing. I saved the locals for women and kids and the friday/ sat night drunken brawls with lac scalps were sutured with no anesthetics !

    So , Seelan- you went round and round the mulberry bush around Lipton Circle – was it not called DeSoyza Watarauma ?.
    did you not get a ‘police ticket ‘ for making noise near a hospital at night ?
    The traffic there is now is nothing my maddening – never mind the pollution .
    Sadly, this is what makes me stay away from Asia as a whole .

    The folks in SL were galvanized into action- I was just waiting for that ‘wake up call ‘ and the good old Es Wattuwa did it !
    Agree with Dalpe- to have this cleaned up as a Health Museum .
    The New Improved look is very nice to see if you keep your eyes off the mess below .

    I did go on Google this morning- and saw a this pic, along with Lady Ridgeway Hosp in the early 1900’s .
    What would we do without Google !

    Thanks every one – for playing the Photo Quiz game, which I must say a bit addictive to say the least !

    it is a lovely spring morning here, very quiet, not a leaf is moving , clear blue skies, lake flat calm , birds singing away and I must get out into the garden now, as the garden is screaming at me- ” get me all cleaned up – hurry up’ !

    Bye – till the next quiz comes along the on Spider Web !1
    eagledeepthie .


    • Hi Deeppthie,

      1)Yes it was called De soyza circle.

      2) Police ticket??? Never heard of in Ceylon. You will be lucky to see a police in De soyza circle at midnight !!! For the same reason, we pinch pot plants from Ward place houses only after midnight. Please don’t talk about this to any policeman.



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