The publication "Forgotten History of Richmond College - A documentary Survey" will is scheduled to be held on Friday, 25th July, 2014 at the National Archives Auditorium. Due to logistical reasons we are sending a blanket invitation to all. Please click here for a larger version. Please participate in this historic event when Richmond College will be 200 yeras on this day.
The Sri Lanka Government undertook to renovate the Galle Fort Wesleyan Methodist Church. It was renovated by the Sri Lanka Navy and was rededicated by HE Mahinda Rajapaksa the President. During his speech he recalled the good old days and the association of the Rajapaksa family with Richmond, Southlands and Wesley all Methodist Schools. Tracing the history he said that Richmond started during the Rev Clough's era and that means 1814 for the Rev Clough was in Galle from June 1814 to March 1815. Thus we will be 200 years on 25th July, 2014! Please listen carefully. We are aware that people with vested interest did approach him to say Richmond started in 1876 which was the Rev Baugh's era.
Richmond College is fast approaching her 200th year which may surprise many as everyone believes that the school started in 1876 which is incorrect. Long before the web site was launched few people began to research the history of the school, which showed the school to have started in 1814. Now that we have a clear picture of the history from the book "The Forgotten History of Richmond College - A documentary Survey", we can give an accurate chronicle of the school.
The Wesleyan Methodist Missionaries landed in Galle on 29th June 1814. On 3rd July, 1814 the Rev. Lynch preached in the old Dutch Church in Galle Fort. The Governor Brownrigg sent his brother-in-law the Rev. Bissett to Galle to meet the Missionaries. Rev Bissett after discussions with the Missionaries informed the Governor of their intentions. The Governor suggested that the Missionaries start schools in several places to teach English to the natives. Having accepted the governor's suggestion the Missionaries had their first District Meeting in Galle, called by its members a ‘Conference’. They by ballot, agreed that Mr. Lynch and Mr. Squance should go to Jaffna; Mr. Ault, to Batticaloa; Mr. Erskine, to Matura; and that Mr. Clough should remain at Galle.
gathered known for the excellence of its academic and extra curricular activities. More than 3,700 students—and an excellent academic staff—pursue their classroom studies, and co-curricular interests in ways that are demanding and intensely rewarding. Here, on a beautiful hill among the lush greenery with blooming flowers, students learn to do productive and innovative work that makes a positive difference in the country—that’s what Richmond is about. The gift of a Richmond education is the freedom to discover what you love to do and then to get better at it and I got it five decades ago. Established as an elementary school in 1814, then made an Anglo-vernacular school, by the Wesleyan Methodist Missionaries it is today known as Richmond College.
Why do people say Richmond started in 1876? Is that year correct or was it otherwise? Curiosity got the better of me and meticulous research spread over almost ten years, resulted in astounding findings. It appears we have mixed up three important events in our history, date of birth, date of upgrading and date of renaming. To put it briefly, the pioneer Missionaries started an elementary school to teach English and scripture in 1814 at Dickson Road, Galle. To the credit and untiring efforts of two missionaries the Mission headquarters in England sanctioned the establishment of a superior school in 1874. The school was to be upgraded in 1874 but due to the pressure from Colombo the Dam Street School was upgraded to a superior school and named Wesley College. In 1876, having merged the former Anglo-vernacular school on the hill and the Magalla English school which were part of the Galle School to make a student population of 104 students, it became the Galle High School in 1876. Since the upgraded school was on Richmond Hill a decision was made to rename the school to Richmond College in 1882. Thus what was the birth date of Richmond - 1814, 1876 or 1882? This website is the result of extensive research in an effort to traverse history in time to the beginnings of Richmond. In other words unearthing the "The forgotten history of Richmond".
Have we lost an important part of our identity by not representing the years from 1814 to 1876? Did we choose to ignore that part of the history? Or was it ignorance? We have punched a big hole in our history due to ignorance and apathy, knowingly or unknowingly. In the process we have forgotten those founding fathers and those who nurtured the school until it was upgraded to a superior school. Whatever the explanation is, the period 1814 to 1876 is important as it too is part of our heritage. It is sad that for generations we did not know the birth of the school was in 1814 and who our founding fathers were. If not for them there would not have been a school to become Richmond of today.
We have lived with this notion not knowing that the College had its beginnings in 1814. Sadly that part of the history from our inception by our founding fathers has been ignored and it is a terrible oversight that must be rectified even at this stage. It is not late to maintain our true beginnings and heritage. Unless we correct this mistake in time to come that part of the history will be lost for ever. We ourselves wondered why this was not corrected before but could not find any reasons. Perhaps no one thought it was that important. One may ask, then why now? The simple answer is "it is also a part of our history and heritage" that we are proud about.
It took several years of research and it was indeed an uphill task in finding irrefutable evidence to be convinced that the precursor to Richmond was born in 1814. With convincing information found, now running into more than 100 publications and records of the Mission, this website was conceived. Constructing the website took more two years with more than half a dozen revisions as more and more documentation were unearthed. In end of June 2011 it went live.
Since the site went live in June, more evidence was found about the history and it became necessary to add new information to the site. Also many enthusiastic old and present boys made the request to make it easy to read. A new version replaced the first version re-written incorporating the new found material. We found some more interesting material.
We believe that what is presented here is enough proof to conclude that the school was founded in 1814. There is no intention of overhauling the site anymore unless we find more definitive proof and exact dates. Nevertheless these pages will be revised from time to time to correct any mistakes. Most other information and the history after 1876 is from Richmond College Magazines, Mission publications and private collections. The historical information came from several sources. Richmond is the 'Big Brother' of all Methodist Mission schools in Sri Lanka. Some of the siblings are no more today, whilst others have gone from strength to strength.
Although all sites dedicated to Richmond have common objectives this website is not an official site of Richmond College Galle or any of its Old Boy's Unions and other umbrella groups. It is rather an attempt by several old boys, to correct a serious historical error. Great care has been taken to guard against inaccuracy or omission; but in a work in which there is so many figures and so much detail it is nearly impossible to discover each and every error. If you discover any errors please let the webmaster know. You are welcome to send your comments, bouquets and even brick-bats to the Webmaster and all mail will be answered.