Connect with us

Life style

The first ever social club in ceylon and the life of H.A Marshall-its builder



Whist bungalow 

by Hugh Karunanayake

When the Portuguese and Dutch occupied the maritime provinces of Ceylon from the 16 th Century to the end of the 18th century, it was more or less a military occupation with the ever present danger of the coastal government being overrun by the monarch who ruled the Kandyan Kingdom. That imminent possibility was mitigated to some degree with the annexation of the maritime provinces by the British East India Co; which occurred during the wars of the French revolution. When the Netherlands came under French control the British made its move to oust the Dutch from Ceylon. The Dutch surrendered the island(or more precisely its maritime areas) to the British in 1796 after some half hearted resistance. In 1802 Ceylon was made a crown colony and it was clear that the British were here to stay. In 1815 the Kandyan Kingdom capitulated to the British through a combination of intrigue, and disaffection in the King’s court rather than military engagement. The doors of the country were now open for British settlement and to exploit the nation’s resources to the advantage of the Metropolitan power.

With Ceylon functioning as a British colony, the stage was set for its administration through a Governor appointed by the monarch in Britain. The administration was done through a Civil Service established by the government and by a legal system largely based on Roman Dutch Law supplemented by laws and customs of the local population. Governor Frederick North arrived in the island on 12 October 1798 accompanied by 9 officials who were to administer the island. Among them were three “officers” Sylvester Gordon, Robert Barry, and George Lusignan, each of them just thirteen years of age!! ( Gives some indication of the confidence of the Brits who thought that even teenagers could keep the”natives” in check) There was also in the group,Henry Augustus Marshall who was appointed First Clerk of the Civil Department which was the precursor to the Treasury. Marshall educated at Charterhouse and Oxford was reputed to be the best classics scholar in the island during his stay. He married the daughter of Colonel Robert Brooke Governor of the Island of St Helena. Mrs Marshall was apparently a wealthy woman as suggested by Governor North commenting on Marshall as “married comfortably”.Mr and Mrs Marshall are said to have been very popular socially and JP Lewis the colonial recorder and historian believed that she was the guardian of the tree referred to on the inscription on the stone tablet seen to this day next to the Wellawatte Bridge on Galle Road. Others have suugested that the Sophia referred to in the inscription is none other than Lady Brownrigg.

At the time of British rule of the maritime provinces of Ceylon during late 18 th Century, it was the Galle Harbour that was the main point of entry to the island. The Colombo harbour was a tranquil bay used by fishing craft. The areas overlooking the bay of Colombo in the Mutwal area soon became elite residential areas, replacing the Fort and Pettah areas populated by the Dutch. The early British administrators were quick to acquire choice sites for their homes, the best of them overlooking the bay of Colombo. Many stately homes were constructed in the Mutwal, Modera areas. They included the Whist Bungalow, Modera House, Uplands, Elie House, Rock House, all of them located on vantage points overlooking the bay of Colombo. Three of the stately homes, Rock House, Whist Bungalow, and Modera House were built by Henry Augustus Marshall, the Civil Servant, in his private capacity.

Rev James Cordiner was appointed Chaplain to the 51 st Foot Regiment in Ceylon at the request of Governor Norh. A man of learning and of perceptive observation Rev Cordiner did a tour round the Island in 1800, which led him to publishing in 1807 one of the earliest English descriptions of the island in a two volume publication titled “A description of Ceylon, with narratives of aTour round the Island in 1800, the expedition to Kandy in 1803, and a visit to Ramessaram in 1804”.

Cordiner observed that “The English society at Colombo is uncommonly pleasant; and an assemblage of so many excellent characters is, certainly rarely to be found. The men at the head of the civil and military departments are particularly amiable: and all ranks live together in a mutual exchange of the most friendly and familiar intercourse….” And “Two weekly clubs which have been established at Colombo for several years past, contribute eminently to the promotion of social pleasures in the settlement. The elder is the Cocoa-nut, or Whist Club, at which the principal amusement is cards. The bungaloe where it is held, is beautifully situated, about four miles north east of the mouth of the Calany-ganga, which there receives the name of Mootwal. The club consists of twelve members, chosen from among the most respectable inhabitants of the place. They give dinners in rotation, and generally invite twelve strangers. Some of the members whose characters are celebrated for extensive hospitality, assemble a still greater number of guests. The entertainment is always liberal, and the assembly never fails to be animated with the highest share of convivial delight.The company repair to the villa about one o’clock in the afternoon, and play cards, read or otherwise enjoy the country, until four when dinner is announced. At half past five, or six o’clock, they rise from the table, make a circuit in their carriages or on horseback, and reach their respective homes before dark.”

What a glorious life the British pioneers would have lived. Little wonder that the aspiring”natives” modelled themselves on the social features of the life of the Brits. The creation of the Whist Club underscored the need for expatriate personnel to engage in social interaction. There were many other venerable institutions to follow in later years like the Colombo Club, Kandy Club, Hill Club all of which offered residential facilities. They were however not open to the local population, who not to be outdone formed their own Orient Club (a natives only residential club). Ethno specific sports clubs followed, and are there to this day eschewing some of the rigid ethno specific admission rules insisted upon at the beginning. Clubs were the order of the day during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the more exclusive the membership the higher the social status that exclusivity conferred! The rise of the new breed of hostelry “the Five Star Hotel” seems to have put paid to all those status symbols and hallmarks of privilege.!

While it is on record that Marshall constructed Whist Bungalow, Modera House, and Rock House there is no evidence to suggest that he ever lived in any of them. The history of occupancy of Whist Bungalow is on the public record. On the closure of the Coca- nut Club, Whist Bungalow was acquired by Sir Richard Morgan, Supreme Court Judge. It was inherited by his son who died suddenly and it was then under the ownership of Mr Louis Peiris and his wife Selina who lived there for many years. The house was featured in the encylopaedic “Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon” published in 1907, when it was occupied by the Pieris family. The Famed German Naturalist Ernet Haeckel who visited Ceylon in the 1880s resided in Whist Bungalow and wrote wistfully about his life there in his book “A visit to Ceylon”. The ownership of the house appeared to have changed several times, once even used as a tea store!. The house is presently managed by the National Housing Development authority as a community hall.

The first ever socia…

Members of CSA would be interested to know that the forbears of two senior membesr of the Society once owned Whist Bungalow. Maureen Henricus nee Morgan is a direct descendant of Sir Richard Morgan, while Chandra Senaratne’s maternal grandmother was Mrs Selina Peiris!

Modera House the other creation of Marshall was occupied by the Armitage family, the leading coffee exporters from Ceylon in the nineteenth century. The coffee crash seriously affected the fortunes of the Armitages who sold Modera House to the De La Salle Brothers in the 1880s and moved to Alexandra House, Alexandra Place. The house was later the premises of Alexandra College. Modera House was the location of the film “Elephant Walk” a classic movie of the 1950s. It is now a school run by the De La Salle brothers. “Rock House” built by Marshall was acquired by the government and is Army property for the past over fifty years.

Mr and Mrs Marshall were a popular couple socially. Lieut -Col Campbell in his two volume book “Excursions, adventures, and Field sports in Ceylon” published in 1843 had this to say of the Marshalls ” A gentleman and his lady upon whose hospitality and friendship I had little or no claim, most kindly received me into their charming abode, situated on the sea shore about three miles from Colombo, and it is to the care and attention of Mr and Mrs Marshall that I attribute my temporary recovery.” Famed colonial recorder and writer J Penry Lewis believed that the Marshalls lived near the old toll gate which was in existence at Wellawatte near the bridge over the canal. There was a large banian tree under which a stone tablet was installed praising the virtues of a lady named Sophia. While Mrs Marshall carried her first name as Sophia, it has been suggested that there was another Sophia- viz Lady Sophia Brownrigg the Governor’s wife.

While that riddle remains to be solved, we have to this day the stone tablet with the inscription. It was lying near the entrance to the bicycle shed of the Savoy Cinema, but since has been erected upright near the bridge. Our former President of the Colombo Chapter Somasiri Devendra published a well researched article in his usual scholarly style, which appeared under the title “Wellawatte Inscriptions” in The Ceylankan #9 of Feb 2000. The “younger” club that existed during Marshall’s time, the “Quoit Club” was according to Cordiner situated in an opposite direction to Whist Bungalow, about two miles south of Colombo on the road leading to Point De Galle. Is it possible that Marshall built the Quoit Club as well and also resided there? Could Cordiner have misjudged the distance from Colombo of the Quoit Club ? If such is the case there is more certainty to the speculation that the Wellawatte tablet refers to none other than Sophia Marshall. We are still however lingering in the realm of conjecture !

Henry Augustus Marshall died on 23 January 1841 in his 64 th year and was buried in the old Galle Face Cemetery. A tablet was erected in St Peter’s Church,Fort by his widow and two son “in memory of an elegant classical scholar and a sincere Christian.

Colombo of the eighteenth century was a tranquil place, rich in vegetation, and serene in outlook. It was James Cordiner who observed that: “Nothing about Colombo is more apt to excite admiration than the flourishing state of the vegetable world. So much beauty and variety are in few countries equalled, and nowhere excelled”. Is it a forlorn wish to hope for a revival of Colombo’s lost beauty ? Only time will tell !!


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment says Beyonce



Beyonce, shown attending the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards, is slated to release a new album in July 2022

Beyonce’s soaring vocals have their place on “Renaissance” but it’s the rhythmic, urgent call to the dance floor that stands out, with a tapestry of influences paying homage to pioneers of funk, soul, r Six years after she shook the culture with her powerful visual album “Lemonade,” Beyonce’s seventh solo studio work is a pulsating, sweaty collection of club tracks aimed at liberating a world consumed by ennui.

Beyonce, the paradigm-shifting music royal whose art has long established her as one of entertainment’s seminal stars, released her hotly anticipated album “Renaissance,” a house-tinged dance record primed for its summer needle drop

Eminently danceable and rife with nods to disco and EDM history — Queen Bey interpolates Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder along with James Brown and the archetypal synth line from “Show Me Love,” the 1990s house smash by Robin S — the 16-song album is poised to reign over the season.

Prior to releasing her opus Beyonce had dropped “Break My Soul” to acclaim, setting the tone for her house revival that highlighted the Black, queer and working-class artists and communities who molded the electronic dance genre, which first developed in Chicago in the 1980s.The megastar has indicated that “Renaissance” is but the first act of three, in a project she said she recorded over the course of three years during the pandemic.

“Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world,” Beyonce on her website.

“It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving,” she continued. “My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking.”

“A place to scream, release, feel freedom. It was a beautiful journey of exploration.”

– ‘Expansive listening journey’ –

In the weeks preceding the release of “Renaissance” Beyonce teased the album with the steady stream of glossy, curated portraits of herself that over the past decade have become her signature.But though she’s received wide praise for keeping the world of music videos on the cutting edge, Beyonce put out her latest record sans visuals (they’re promised at a later date.)

In a statement her label Parkwood Entertainment and Columbia Records lent insight into the decision, saying the artist “decided to lead without visuals giving fans the opportunity to be limitless in their expansive listening journey.”

Beyonce’s soaring vocals have their place on “Renaissance” but it’s the rhythmic, urgent call to the dance floor that stands out, with a tapestry of influences paying homage to pioneers of funk, soul, rap, house and disco.

“Unique / That’s what you are /Stilettos kicking vintage crystal off the bar,” she sings on “Alien Superstar,” which samples Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” in a sonic ode to voguing, the stylized house dance that emerged from the Black LGBTQ ballroom culture of the 1960s.

That song closes by sampling a speech from Barbara Ann Teer, who founded Harlem’s National Black Theatre.

On “Virgo’s Groove” Beyonce gets raunchy with an unabashed sex anthem, adding a titular nod to her star sign — the Virgo turns 41 on September 4.Along with a smattering of deep house cuts as well as tributes to gospel, funk and soul, Beyonce’s collaborators on “Renaissance” include Nile Rodgers, Skrillex, Nigerian singer Tems, Grace Jones, Pharrell and, of course, her rap mogul husband Jay-Z.

– Album leaks, Beyhive stings –

Beyonce has long bucked music’s conventional wisdom, and is credited with popularizing the surprise album drop.She later made waves by releasing “Lemonade” — the groundbreaking work that chronicled her own emotional catharsis following infidelity within a generational and racial context — first on cable television, and limiting its streaming availability.

Since “Lemonade” she’s released “Homecoming,” a live album and film featuring footage from her mythic 2018 Coachella performance, as well as the critically acclaimed song “Black Parade” — which dropped amid mass protests ignited by the police murder of George Floyd.

That song saw the megastar, who first gained fame as a member of Destiny’s Child, become the winningest woman ever at the Grammys with 28, and the gala’s most decorated singer.But for all her cultural clout and an indisputable throne in music’s pantheon, Beyonce’s songs have not seen the same commercial dominance as other contemporary global stars — her last number one solo hit was 2008’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).”

That’s poised to change with “Renaissance.”

The album’s release saw Queen Bey return to music business as usual, deploying pre-sales, a lead single drop, a tracklist and polished social media fodder.But it wasn’t without a hitch — in the days prior to the official release, the album leaked online.

Bey thanked her hive for waiting, and added that “I appreciate you for calling out anyone that was trying to sneak into the club early.”

“We are going to take our time and Enjoy the music,” the megastar told her fandom. “I love you deep.”–AFP

Continue Reading


Choosing high fashion brands is your best bet



Women all over the world love branded clothing. Undoubtedly, one of the biggest reasons why women still prefer high fashion brands is because they are generally so much better quality than off-the-peg pieces of clothing. The best designer fashion brands always use top quality materials. And that means the clothes are more durable too. So, quality material doesn’t only feel good against your skin; it’s also a sign that the clothing will last for much longer without visible depreciation like stretching and colour-fading.

Wearing clothes from just one high fashion brand allows women to develop their own styles. There are various high-end brands to choose from, so you can effortlessly select one that suits your style and taste. High fashion brands like Chanel or Ralph Lauren highly recommended, as they are committed to helping clients develop their individual style via professional selection and a personalized-service. By sticking with just one brand that you adore, you can become identified with a particular style or design, and keep your fashion consistent.

Many women prefer high fashion brands because wearing designer clothing makes them feel prestigious. If you want to boost your social status, all you have to do is wear high-end brands. You can then brag about how you have the same designer as specific celebrities and gain attention from those around you. By wearing clothing designed by famous names, you can taste a little fame yourself.

Many women still prefer high fashion brands because they can be collectible. Who doesn’t want to own limited editions that will be the talk of the town? If you enjoy collecting, gaining a collection of high-end designer clothing could be a great hobby. By buying limited editions and collectibles, you will also find the items increase in value over time. So, collectible branded clothing could be a good investment.

The greatest reason of all for why women still like high fashion brands is simple: they’re fashionable. By wearing high-end designer clothes, you can feel like you’re somebody. You will stick out of the crowd by not wearing what everybody else is wearing. And you will show that you are up-to-date with all the latest trends. If you want to stay abreast of the current fashion trends, choosing high fashion brands is your best bet.

Celebrities and their favourite fashion designers

Ever noticed that certain celebrities seem to stick to their favourite labels like glue? Whether it’s because they’re BFFs with the fashion designers, are spokesmodels for the brands or are simply smitten with a certain

maison’s aesthetic, it seems that once an A-lister finds their fashion comfort zone there is no going back. With awards season in full swing and red carpet speculation heading into overdrive, we examine who is costuming whom.

Anne Hathaway and Valentino

It’s been said that Italian couturier Valentino Garavani’s popularity rivals that of the Pope in Rome and he has found his ultimate red carpet disciple in Anne Hathaway. Unabashedly one of “Val’s Gals,” the newly-engaged actress wears his molto elegante designs almost exclusively and, it’s been whispered, will walk down the aisle in a bespoke Va-va bridal gown.

Renee Zellwegger and Carolina Herrera

Quick, can you remember the last time Zellweger hit the red carpet in anything but Carolina Herrera? The Texan beauty is a true devotee of the New York-based designer saying that her clothes “make me feel as though I’m not trying too hard and that I’m telling the truth.”

Kate Middleton and Alexander McQueen

Between her now-iconic royal bridal gown and the breathtaking black velvet dress worn at a charity dinner over the holidays, the Duchess of Cambridge has quickly made the house of Alexander McQueen a household name. Sarah Burton, the creative director and successor to the designer, has emerged as a brilliant and inspired choice for a modern royal and together the two have managed to impress the entire fashion cognoscenti with every outing.

Pippa Middleton and Temperley London

When your big sister is marrying the future King of England, you can bet you’re getting your A-game on. Enter Alice Temperley, whose Temperley London line has long been the go-to

party-wear of choice for London’s glitterati. Pippa, was spotted in a glam emerald chiffon gown at the Royal Wedding reception and only a few months later took a front row seat at Temperley London’s Spring 2012 catwalk show.

She may be American’s quintessential golden girl but Blake Lively flies the flag for all things French, particularly when they form two interlocking Cs. As the newest face of Chanel’s Mademoiselle handbag line – hand-picked by the Kaiser himself – Blake makes the red carpet rounds clad in her favourite label and, in fact, is so crazy for Coco that she turned down other lucrative contracts to hold out for.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Stella McCartney

With two young kids and a rock star husband, Gwyneth’s look is decidedly more low-key than it once was but when the style maven does get kitted out, she selects

Stella McCartney’s form-fitting frocks to show off her intensely yoga-sculpted body. And why not? Over the past few seasons, sexy yet intellectual body-con have quickly become McCartney’s oeuvre.

Ashley Greene and Donna Karan

When Ashley signed on as the face of DKNY )last fall, the gig came with some serious perks namely in getting the First Lady of American fashion Donna Karan to custom design several of her red carpet confections. Apart from fronting the label’s campaigns and acting as a brand ambassador, theTwilight Saga star has already turned out in a spectacular array of jewel tone dresses.

Sienna Miller and Matthew Williamson

Despite having a fashion brand of her own in Twenty8Twelve, boho queen Sienna Miller has long been a muse to British designer Matthew Williamson. His effervescent bohemian-inspired designs are, quite literally, made for her.

Natalie Portman and Rodarte

Natalie isn’t just a friend or muse to Kate and Laura Mulleavy — the design duo behind the California-based label, Rodarte — she’s their golden ticket. When the

Black Swan actress stood up to collect her Oscar statuette last year, she did so not in a couture Dior design (for which she serves as a spokesperson) but clad in a frothy off-the-shoulder Rodarte confection. She also managed to hook the sisters up with a costume credit for the film and, based on their performance as well as Natalie’s avid support, we suspect it won’t be the last.

Lady Gaga and Mugler

Mother monster’s penchant for outré outfits and looks makes her hard to please. And while she’s often turned to Italian labels like Armani and Versace for her tour and stage costumes, Gaga’s fashion needs are fulfilled by one Nicola Formichetti, her stylist, BFF and newly installed creative director of the storied French fashion house of Thierry Mugler. The singer vamped it up for her modelling debut at Mugler and managed to get her paws on the entire collection in every colour.

Tilda Swinton and Haider Ackermann

In today’s cookie-cutter, keeping-up-with-the-Kardashians world, making an impression on the red carpet means making bold choices. Enter Scottish lass Tilda Swinton who transcends trends and embraces out-of-the-box designers like Jil Sander, Dries van Noten and, most notably, Belgian designer Haider Ackermann. His drapey silk dresses and jewel-toned pantsuits may not be everyone’s cup of tea but Tilda, ever the trailblazer, remains transfixed.

WOW, I was interested in brand names thought that brands made me a better and more respected person. When I was in college I got a part time job at a well known big name retail establishment. It was then when I realized how stupid I was. I stopped on my shoes and have never bought into the brand name fettish again said a top fashion designer.

I do own some luxury items like handbags because I love them, but if I can get same luxury goods I buy clothes now that look good on me, that flatter me and make me look younger. Who wants Ralph Lauren shirts that make you look like great granny? No, I would rather buy a blouse tht is low cut, no collar and sexy in nature that flatters me than a brand and a rider on the breast. I have strayed from big names brands and I intend to keep it so. Most of my matured friends are into this crap and we argue all the time. they think I can tell and otherc can tell that the jeans they wear are high dollar, really I cant tell unless they raise their blouse and show me the label. So stupidi so believe in you that labels aren’t everything. you can’t buy style, right? i grew and live in a place that only the richest can buy those designer pieces and where the there are so many malls but finding a really good place to shop is like a fortune. as my taste for clothes evolved, i realized that the best place to shop here without having to save so much are actually thrift shops said one of the models.

Continue Reading


The Boss Up Story



Boss Up isn’t merely a brand name. It’s a manifestation of resilience and inner power in the form of a branding and social media marketing agency. Hafsa Killru, the Founder of Boss Up has a personal story and determination to ‘boss up’ that propelled her to launch her own venture to empower entrepreneurship, especially among small businesses.


The environment one grows up in has a remarkable effect on a young child’s mind. Watching two strong women in the family redefine the role of feminine power, a young Hafsa grew up ambitious too. Although brimming with the desire to create a change, her childhood was fraught with challenges that plague many children today – bullying. She was subject to severe bullying since the tender age of 10 at her places of education, which affected both her mental and physical health.

“I never fit in anywhere. I was never welcome among the cliques. But I didn’t let it affect my confidence. Keeping my circle small helped me stay focused on my studies. I’d spend this time alone in school libraries, often reading encyclopedias,” says Hafsa. “The bullying worsened in my teenage years. I was lonely but it worked out in my favour because I was never, and still not, someone who worries about ‘what will others say’ — a key obstacle in many people’s lives. Not having many friends meant I was not under peer pressure. This allowed me to be my authentic self.”

Hafsa’s writing career began quite unexpectedly when she was 17. Not only is she a content writer but also a poet who writes evocatively about mental health, healing and empowerment. But this didn’t come by easily either.

During her higher studies, those she considered to be her friends tried to crush her growth mindset, which eventually took a toll on her. It was only when she managed to remove herself from such environments did she become more self-aware and regain her confidence, thanks to the solitude it brought into her life.Yet again, a new set of obstacles awaited her in her early 20s. In 2019, she was turned down by over 20 companies within three months alone, which led to deep frustration and self-doubt. Although she had freelancing opportunities, the lockdown only added to her troubles.

But that’s when something clicked into place – an idea so obvious, so big and so right for her that Hafsa knew it was what all these adversities were pushing her towards. She realised the lockdown was putting undue pressure on businesses and it needed a solution. Especially small businesses were struggling to go online and create a sustainable brand, and that too at an affordable rate. How could they compete with incumbent brands with massive budgets and breakthrough technologies? She sought to give them the edge they needed and thus, Boss Up was born in October 2020.

“Inviting change, taking charge of the situation and choosing to do something on my own has to be, although scary, the most liberating decision I have ever made,” admits Hafsa. “The lockdown wasn’t the time for businesses to go silent. They needed business and marketing solutions that would help them overcome the situation.”

In today’s contemporary business world, a business of any size will only be running a losing race if it hasn’t developed a strong social media presence or a clear brand strategy. Hence, Boss Up ensures equal opportunities are given to entrepreneurs from all walks of life.

One and a half years into the business, Boss up is now global with its wings spread across countries like the UK, Canada, Dubai, Qatar, the Maldives and Australia, and is backed by a strong team of young and passionate minds.

The Purpose

Boss Up’s primary goal is to uplift entrepreneurs. The brand is also a strong advocate for inner power, confidence and resilience — the three main driving forces of ambition. It intends to help people who hail from struggling backgrounds; the ones who are inundated with a lack of support, seek self-sufficiency and are hungry to design a unique identity for themselves.The brand also strives to treat everyone at work with compassion and empathy whilst leading with kindness as it is crucial to reform work cultures that are hazardous to oneself.

Reach out to HAfsa via Instagram @hafsa_killru @bossup_srilanka or email

Continue Reading