Church Missionary Society Lambrick Hall in Kotte (කෝට්ටේ මිෂනාරි සමිති ලැම්බ්‍රික් ශාලාව)

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Kotte was the capital of Sri Lanka from 1411 to 1597 CE until the puppet king Dharmapala presented the Kingdom to the Portuguese by a deed on his death. Kotte went back to being a wild marshland until the Dutch gradually connected Kotte through a canal system built by them for the transportation of goods. However it was during the British time that Kotte became prominent as a suburb of Colombo for the expanding population.

The Church Missionary Society (CMS) was founded on 12 Friday of April 1799 for Africa and the East. In 1809 CMS started training their missionary teachers to send abroad. Rev. Samuel Lamabrick from the Church Missionary Society arrived in Sri Lanka at the age of 49 and was assigned to Kandy first. But later he was sent back to Colombo and on 13 July 1822, he acquired a land called Thotupola Kanatta from the government and some other closeby plots from locals to establish a Christian Mission in Kotte which came to known as Cotta Mission.

According to historical legends, it is said that this land was once a revered Buddhist Pirivena, serving as an educational institution for young Buddhist priests during the era of the Kotte Kingdom. It is also said that under the age-old Na tree at the site is where Ven. Thotagamuwe Sri Rahula Thera sat and composed the Salalihini Sandeshaya. Unfortunately, the Portuguese invasion led to the destruction of this Pirivena, and turning it into a cemetery.

Rev. Lambrick was nearly 50 years of age at the time when he began his work and as soon as the house was fit for living in, he moved in and began a school in the veranda for 20 English and Sinhalese students which later came to be known as Veranda School or Bangala School. This was not to be an ordinary school but a kind of a seminary to train locals for Christian religious work among our natives.

This Veranda School or Bangala School was named Church Missionary Society Boys School in 1847, Christian School in 1934. In 1960, the school was handed over the government and was renamed as Sri Jayawardhanapura Maha Vidyalaya.

The very first building where the Veranda School was held has been named Lambrick Hall and has been declared as a protected archaeological monument which lies inside the Sri Jayawardhanapura Maha Vidyalaya school.

The structure of Lambrick Hall embodies a fusion of Dutch architectural style and traditional Sri Lankan design. The edifice features a central hall, complemented by verandahs on all four sides. The anterior and posterior sections of the hall unveil a collection of rooms, each adorned with verandahs that open up to the surrounding environment. Architecturally, the verandah boasts two rows of columns. The first row showcases exquisite round brick and mortar pillars, showcasing the Dutch influence. Meanwhile, the inner column row showcases wooden pillars reflecting the distinct Kandyan style.

Lambrick Hall features three primary entrances facing east, west, and south. These entrances are adorned with rectangular wooden doors, complemented by wooden bars positioned above them to allow for adequate ventilation. The architectural style of the windows aligns with that of the doors. Notably, the roof of the building is composed of four sloping sections.

References

  1. Urugodawatte, B. (2022) ‘Church Missionary Society School of Kotte’, Archeo Sri Lanka – Newsletter of the Department of Archaeology, Sri Lanka, 2(2), pp. 3–4.
  2. Vanniarachchy, A.H. (2022) From veranda school to Maha Vidyalaya, Ceylon Today. Available at: https://ceylontoday.lk/2022/07/16/from-veranda-school-to-maha-vidyalaya/ (Accessed: 11 August 2023).

Also See

Map of Lambrick Hall in Kotte

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Driving Directions to Lambrick Hall in Kotte

Route from Colombo to Lambrick Hall in Kotte
Via : Rajagiriya
distance : 12 km
Travel time : 30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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