Recently the Dr. C. W. W. Kannangara commemoration ceremony was held in Galle. We gave you the opportunity to view many stages of the various functions held on that day. We are sure that it would have brought back many memories by seeing some of your school mates from the yesteryears.
Rev. J. H. Darrell of Richmond Rev. Henri Highfield of Wesley Rev. J. H. Darrell (Hostel Dinning Hall)
We noted with horror that a photograph of the Rev. Henri Highfield of Wesley (see above) displayed instead of our own Rev. James Horne Darrell who helped Dr. Kannangara throughout his career at Richmond. To add insult to the injury the Rev. Highfield was named as Rev. J. H. Darrell. We refrained from highlighting this since this website is in the public domain to prevent our school from becoming a laughing stock in the eyes of the many readers. However between then and now we have received more than 100 enquiries about this photograph mainly from present day students having seen a different picture of Rev. Darrell in the Richmond College website www.richmondcollege.lk and also hanging in the Main Hall for more than 100 years. One of the boys provided us with a scanned copy of the last years Commemoration Magazine where the same is appearing. Take a close look! The building in the background is the main building of Wesley College.
We cannot be replying to each and every person who made enquiries and having discussed this with our web team it was decided to reply everyone through this website. It gave us the opportunity to add a new feature that we have named as the “Talk Page” which will henceforth feature any such instances not with a view to slander anyone in particular but to prevent people from believing false information.
The damage has already been done and cannot be reversed in anyway other than educating those who care to read this website and we let you make your own judgment. Below is a photograph from the ceremony and several more can be seen in the Gallery.
Here below is the scanned copy that we received with thanks from an alert and an intelligent present young Richmondite.
From Left to right seated Rev. P. T. Cash, the Rev. Henry Highfield and Dr. C. W. W. Kannangara. Click on the picture to see a larger image.
Dr. C. W. W. Kannangara was to leave Richmond in 1904 not being able to secure the University Scholarship. At this point Rev. Darrell suggested that he teach at Richmond to give back something that Dr. Kannangara got from Richmond. He taught at Richmond and immediately after Rev. Darrell’s death in 1906, being an ambitious man he left Richmond to pursue a legal education in Colombo. He did his legal studies at the Law College part-time, whilst teaching part-time at Prince of Wales, Moratuwa, Methodist Girls’ School, Colombo and Wesley College Colombo. He passed out in 1910 and returned to Galle and started his legal practice. That is a brief history of Dr. Kannangara between 1904 and 1910.
Dr. Kannangara revered Rev. Darrell and it is impossible that during that short stint when both of them were in the same staff he would have sat at equal level and posed for a photograph. We are certain that Dr. Kannangara would have never acceded to such a request. The Rev. Cash who was the Vice-Principal at Wesley during the Rev. Highfield’s time and acted for the Principal at Richmond on two occasions; first during 1914-1915 and subsequently during 1921-1922. Looking at the building in the background we realised that it was the main building at Wesley College. No such building is to be found on Richmond Hill. From Dr. Kannangara’s attire we believe this was taken sometime in the 1920’s at Wesley when he was a lawyer by which time the Rev. Darrell was dead and gone.
We’ve been told that plans are afoot to start a Museum by the very same people who made this horrendous blunder. A Museum would be great and it could preserve the history for posterity. But what alarms those who informed of this move and us is will it be an authentic and a true portrayal of the history of Richmond or populated with artifacts and other documents that have no relation to Richmond like the Darrell-Highfield saga. We understand that statues of Past Principals are in the making. Will they be of their own statues or of the stooges around or of others who are currently making blunder after blunder and distorting the history whilst publishing slanderous statements and despicable allegations against old boys in the official website.
It is amusing when the very people (teenagers?) claims that only they have researched and know the history of Richmond can not distinguish Rev. Darrell from Rev. Highfield but trying to educate the community about Richmond history. However we feel there are vested interests underpinning the propagation of false historical facts.
Is Richmond History going “Topsy Turvy”?
We saw a recent news item in the Richmond College, Galle website about the bicentennial of Richmond. It is heartening to see that some interest being taken about this website which was dormant for much of the time, even this late.
A Question Paper?
There were few pages scanned and reproduced from Richmond College Magazines namely the 1951 Jubilee Souvenir (not the Magazine), the College Magazine of 1976 and the College Magazine of 1926. In connection with the Kannangara Day a Quiz competition was held and a current Staff member sent us a copy of the question paper that was distributed among the competitors. It has been stated that the competition was to test the knowledge of the participants about the history of Richmond. There were several questions mostly relating to the history and to us it appeared that it was pushing for a wrong answer. Hence we will skip them. However there were three items that caught our eye and we thought we will give our opinion on them.
College Magazines that were published from time to time carried various articles without any sources to where the information came from. They were mostly the efforts of school boys with some guidance from teachers and the Principals. Most of the information were hearsay which we will explain. Magazine’s appeared after 1876 and what we are researching was the period before 1876. Unfortunately magazines do not say from where they found the information except it is passed on to a previous one and so on and finally no source could be found. In instances it was attributed to the log book we found the same in Mission records.
Mission Records and the Jubilee Memorials of South Ceylon both assert that the first School was started in the premises given by Maha Mudliyár Don Abraham Dias Abeysinha Amarasekara of Galle. Nowhere in those documents the place name is given leave alone a name for the building. Any names that appear in School Magazines have been added much later. Going by the 1951 Magazine which really induced us to trace the history even we were misled to believe that the first school started in the Library of Atapattu Mudliyár E. R. Gunaratne’s Atapattu Walauwwa which is standing even today. One of our alert readers said that he had misgivings about the place and we decided to do a search again rather than depend on the information in the 1951 Jubilee Souvenir. With much research we found that we were incorrect indeed and so was the College publication. The present owners tell us that the Library came up sometime in early 1900’s. They said that they have no knowledge of what is being claimed in the school magazine. Much of what has been written of this Waluwwa was researched by Prof. Seneka Bandaranaika and he would have found something to substantiate this claim.
We had more work to do as there has been as much as nineteen waluwwa’s in Walauwwatta hence the name. There was no Dickson Roads when the Missionaries landed in 1814. We looked at the National Archives records and found that Maha Mudliyár Don Abraham Dias Abeysinha Amarasekara’s Waluwwa was in the present Upper Dickson Road and is now a Boutique Hotel. We also found the description given by Rev. William Harvard about what he saw of the Galle Harbour and the Bay was not possible from Mr. Gunaratne’s Walauwwa. However it fits the view from the Waluwwa of Maha Mudliyár Don Abraham Dias Abeysinha Amarasekara on present Upper Dickson Road which was called the Pokunawatta Waluwwa and have been referred to as Atapattu and Gardiye Walauwwa depending on the rank of the occupant at different times. Thus we had to mark that ‘the Library of Mr. E. R. Gunaratne’ as a misnomer. Both Mudliyárs’ were however interconnected by marriage. This was the first wrong information we found. No sooner we realised about this misnomer we removed all reference to the ‘the Library of Mr. E. R. Gunaratne’ .
The College Magazine of 1976 says that the school started in 1814 was discontinued in late 1840’s when the number of Missionaries dwindled. However there is no such record in any Mission Document. To the contrary Galle always had Missionaries stationed as it was of importance to the Mission. The first and second Conferences both were held in Galle. They ensured that there were Missionaries in Galle at all times and The Galle School as it was called was never discontinued. Throughout the period from 1831 to 1850 there were at least five Schools attached to ‘The Galle School’ functioning in Galle; all the other schools referred to The Galle School as their parent school. At least the magazine admits that there was a school in Galle. The Richmond Website by producing that magazine even belatedly admits that a school existed.
The Magazine of 1926 says that there was an Anglo-vernacular School on Richmond Hill. This is what we too claim but we went beyond that to trace that school’s history which ended up with the first School started in 1814. In fact it was known as Richmond Hill Anglo-vernacular school which was upgraded in 1876 to Galle High School. The claim by the website that the school was absorbed in September 1876 contradicts what the Rev. Langdon said; that he took 45 boys from the school standing on the same spot and eight teachers and another fifty from outside when the school was upgraded. The article in the 1926 magazine is after having interviewed Mr. C. E. Wikramanayake who served the school for 40 years before retiring. The incident attributed to Mr. C. E. Wikramanayake was that he was made the Headmaster after the school inspection in 1876 the same as his former position. If anything of the sort happened then Rev. Langdon would have mentioned that in his letter.
This brings us back to an important point about the photograph that was published in the year 2011 to commemorate the late Dr. C. W. W. Kannangara. We discussed about this at the beginning of this page. The title of the picture says it is of Mr. C. W. W. Kannangara, the Rev. Darrell and the Staff of Richmond is a figment and is blatantly incorrect. Mr. C. W. W. Kannangara appears in the picture and there is no dispute about that but it is not the Richmond College staff and not Rev. Darrell who is seated in the middle. If the claim in the publication is correct then why is Mr. C. E. Wikramanayake missing from the picture? He was very much in the staff and retired only in 1914 eight years after Rev. Darrell’s demise. If the claims are correct then this must have been taken between 1904 and 1906.
Finally let us have a look at the paper Advertisement published in the Ceylon Observer.
No where in this advertisement it is to be found anything to suggest that a new school was opened or was to be opened could be found. It speaks only of “In the new School-rooms” and not of a new school. Obviously when the school was upgraded there would be more students that necessitated more class rooms or School-rooms.
It has been observed that the above advertisement is taken as the basis to think that a new school started. We had another look at the 1994 Magazine where the same advertisement appears in two places. Both the instances were scanned and is reproduced below. It is clear that these two are not scans from the Observer paper as claimed but composed having seen them. Having compared both we have marked the questionable places. We made an attempt to get a copy from the National Archives of the original Ceylon Observer newspaper but was dissapointed as the micro-fiched image is damaged and cannot be veiwed.
The above is from page 14. The one below is from page 17.
Several of us old boys had a discussion recently. It was pointed by us that the advertisement only speak of “New School-rooms”. It is not possible to separate New School-rooms and claim it is a new school because it will make no sense at all as the word “rooms” will be orphaned.
The lecture given by the Rev. Baugh was about “Dissolving Views” a phrase frequently seen in old publications and biblical writings. Looking up Dictionaries for the meaning to make certain the correct meaning is portrayed the following definition was given in the Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 + 1828 and the phrase meant a “picture which grows dim and is gradually replaced by another on the same field”.
We found an interesting explanation in the publication “Dissolving Views in The History of Judaism – 1888 by Rabbi Solomon Schindler”. Rabbi Schindler gave a series of lectures to explain the evolution of the history of Judaism which was the basis of the book. He says in explaining the what a ‘Magic Lantern’ is all about to explain “Dissolving Views” and wrote:
The apparatus by which “dissolving views” are produced is so constructed that one picture seems to dissolve into mist, to melt into air, while the forms of another picture appear underneath it and increase in strength in the same proportion as the outlines of the former vanish from sight. In nature and history we may observe a similar process, one creation fades away while the other rises into view.
This is exactly what happened in Galle and the Rev. George Baugh has explained the transformation. The First Methodist Mission School that came into being in 1814 evolved through sixty two years and became the Galle High School in 1876 and finally in 1882 was renamed Richmond College. The Galle High School was not a brand new school started from scratch or ground-up but the culmination of the evolution of the First Methodist Mission School started in 1814 in Asia and Sri Lanka.
The Rev. Baugh too aptly described the dimming or the fading away of the Richmond Hill Anglo-vernacular school and the upgrading or the gradual appearance of the Galle High School in the same place. If the Galle High School was a ‘NEW SCHOOL’ then there was no reason for the Rev. Baugh to select the theme “Dissolving Views” for his Lecture which topic cannot be applied to a New School. We are in possession of the lecture given by the Rev. Baugh and the theme in full was “Dissolving Views and Magic Lantern”. It cements the fact that the Richmond Hill Anglo-vernacular school gave way for the Galle High School. In modern usage it is akin to fading from one scene to another in movies or cinema or in a slide show.
We like to draw the attention of the readers about The First School and its successors. We are not speaking about new class rooms, but about the school. In other words the Richmond Hill Anglo-vernacular School dissolved into the Galle High School or put in another way the Galle High School became the successor to the old Richmond Hill Anglo-vernacular school.
It is on record that the Galle High School held its ‘First Prize Giving’ in December 1876, less than six months after the school got upgraded. Ever heard of prize givings’ six months after a school was started? Was six months adequate to teach and evaluate students of a new school? The prize giving was a regular feature of the Anglo-vernacular School and the one on record was the continuation. This is another proof that the Galle High School was simply upgrading the former Anglo-vernacular to a High School.
We were asked as to why Rev. Small who was at Richmond Hill in 1976 did not correct this. For that matter until about the late 1960’s Methodists believed that the Missionaries landed in Weligama instead of Galle and there were elaborate celebrations in Weligama. Rev. Small was instrumental in correcting this by installing a plaque in the Old Dutch Church, Galle giving the correct position. That too after someone seeing the Mission record and alerting the Rev. Small to the fact. It took almost 150 years to get it corrected.
Coming back to the question as to why the Missionary Principals did not correct this mistake, we like to offer some food for thought. In the first place why did the Missionary Principals come to Galle and Richmond? The Missionary Principals came to Richmond and Galle to look after the school and not to go chasing History. Had they attempted to do that then they would have had to spend a considerable time in England researching and the school would have been totally neglected. During their time unlike today communication was at snail space, no emails, no Internet but only the ‘snail mail’. If this was a new school then Rev. Baugh, Rev. Scott or Rev. Langdon would have mentioned it from the outset. No such thing was done because they knew this was only an up grading of the first school in 1814 which was then known as the Richmond Hill Anglo-vernacular school by 1876.
Thus it can be seen that what appears in School Magazines and what has been published at various times for various functions are not always correct. They are nothing official but what whoever authored them thought was correct. In simple these are hearsay and are no facts supported by any authentic sources or documents but pure fiction or misrepresentations or misinterpretations.