Book Chapter

The Trouser Under the Cloth: Personal space in colonial-modern Ceylon


Colonial Modernities: Building, dwelling and architecture in British India and Ceylon | Routledge | Published : 2007


In 1870, when Queen Victoria’s son Alfred visited Colombo, Ceylon, Charles Henry de Soysa, a philanthropist and entrepreneur, hosted the royal banquet. It was held at his mansion, Bagatelle House, in the elite suburb of Colombo – Cinnamon Gardens. The name of the house was later changed to “Alfred House” in honor of the royal visitor, while the gold plate, cup and jeweled cutlery used by the prince were handed down in that family for generations. The event was controversial because the British had picked a social upstart from the insignificant Karave (fisher caste), and offered him the greatest honor possible under their administration. It was most disturbing to the Govigama (farmer caste), ..

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