View this email in your browser
History of Ceylon Tea is an industry-service project by Dilmah. Click HERE to read more.
31st August 2022


  • A brief history of Henfold Estate by Lorna Jackson
  • Plantation Wisdom from the Past by Anura Gunasekera
  • Memoirs of the Month -  Qtrade Founder by Dan Bolton
  • Photo Album of the Month - Spring Valley Estate, Badulla
  • Contributor Photo Album of the Month - Terrence Mills
  • Planter Profiles of the Month - John & Cecil Leard
  • Down Memory Lane - Farewell gift to Mr Reginald Huyshe-Elliot from the Norwood staff in 1919.
  • Historical Events in 1841
  • Tea Radio by Dilmah


By Lorna Jackson (wife of Thomas Jackson)
Towards the end of the 19th century, George Beck, an engineer, was in Ceylon building the up-country railways. He was very taken with the country around Dimbula district and bought 500 acres of land which he called Henfold. He tried growing cinchona but that was not successful, then coffee, but the coffee blight put an end to that. He then planted tea which proved very successful. He married a Miss Caroline Jackson, and she went to live with him at Henfold. She was only one of three European women in the district. Her nephew, Thomas Jackson, was in the Royal Navy and was stationed at Trincomalee at one time and often visited the Becks. The Becks never had any children, and they eventually left the estate to him. He later became Admiral Sir Thomas Jackson.

The Becks returned to England around 1900 and left a Mr J.E.B. Baillie-Hamilton (nicknamed “Old Bailey”) to manage the estate as PD, as the Manager was called. He did not marry until quite late in life to a lady who was some years younger than him. They had three boys and, as the bungalow was a bit small for a growing family, they built a nursery wing (note - this is the kitchen area in the present bungalow).

The kitchens were on the left behind the passage. They were very antiquated and blackened by smoke from the stove but, somehow, the Appu (cook) produced excellent food. In the expanded bungalow, you entered into a wide passageway with the new nursery on the right and a spare bedroom and bathroom on the left. There were store rooms along the walls and benches on which a few orchids were growing. At the end of the passageway was a large lobby with a door at the far end onto the front lawn, the drawing room on the right and dining room on the left. Before the lobby, there was a passage to the right to the master bedroom, dressing room and bathroom on the left, another spare room and bathroom on the right and then down some steps to a large billiard room – a great place for the children to play.

The old kitchen gardens were in the valley between the bungalow and the hill opposite. We kept two cows; the cow sheds were on the left of the path up to the new factory. The cows were let out to graze in what had been the old kitchen garden. There was also a full-size squash court on the hill across from the old kitchen gardens, but it was later pulled down.

Click HERE to read the full article.



By Anura Gunasekera
Recently, my friend, Kavi Seneviratne,  formerly  Managing Director of Kelani Valley Plantations and, subsequently,  Managing Director of Hayleys Global Beverages, very generously gifted to  Dilmah, a set of old books on a wide range of aspects of the Plantation Industry. Amongst them was a tattered foolscap book with the spine exposed, the pages barely held together with disintegrating string and flaking glue, brown with age.

The printed publications dealt with a variety of subjects, authored by specialists in respective disciplines; technical, authoritative and as such treatises tend to be, at times both highly theoretical and pontifical. The foolscap book was, despite addressing similar issues related to Tea planting,    a complete contrast in content.  It contained the personal observations of a working plantation manager, converting the theories behind a multitude of everyday work practices on an estate, into actions of implementable dimensions.

This book had been maintained, in his own neat  handwriting on every single page,  by Mr. David Perkins, from  the early 19 fifties , when he was manager of Gampaha estate, Udapussellawa, till his retirement in 1964, from Brunswick estate, Maskeliya, when he had handed over the diary to his successor, Duncan Hermon. The latter, who retired in 1971, had presented the book to Kavi, then Assistant Manager on Brunswick. Incidentally, Kavi had been trained by Hermon on Brunswick itself.

Plantation management styles, and strategies, have undergone tremendous changes since Perkins’s day. His was an era when one developed one’s own strategy, method and style, and imposed it on the property in your custody.  Whilst the lessons of history and those passed on by predecessors played a part,  Individual prejudices, likes, dislikes and preferences also converged in determining the type of management one decided to implement. Clearly reflected in the management style were the manager’s personality traits.

Today’s plantation manager has, at his call, resources of technical and experimental knowledge, of a magnitude undreamt of by the plantation manager of Perkins’s time. His was an era when working planters unearthed much of the knowledge that they needed on a daily basis, at their own expense, on their own time, through a process of trial and error. It was also an era when a good plantation manager did not take anything for granted, even when information was handed down by a specialist when the working planter tested that theoretical knowledge for proof under actual working conditions and adapted it for use as he considered best. The good and conscientious plantation manager did not delegate these tasks to a subordinate; he did it personally and held himself responsible for the results he obtained.

Our is an era when every management action has a label, when every strategy is formalized and the science of management has a specialist for every facet. Accredited educational institutions award diplomas in plantation management, equivalent to a university degree,  at the culmination of exhaustive study programmes.  However, the practices that produce the tea that we market have not changed significantly in 150 years and, in all sincerity, it cannot be said that the new sophistication introduced to plantation management over time, have improved either the product or the plantation, proportionately. We are simply producing larger quantities of the same black tea.

Click HERE to read the full article.



By Dan Bolton
(Re-produced from World Tea News)

Manik Jayakumar was a storied rugby captain in his youth, a retired lieutenant colonel, regiment commander and a decorated combat veteran in his middle years; and he had managed several award-winning tea estates and helped pioneer organic tea farming in Sri Lanka by the time he was 50.

As it turns out, he was just getting started.

In 1994 in the sitting room of his brother’s house in Los Angeles he launched a small trading company that is now one of the largest suppliers of organic tea and herbs in North America.

QTrade Teas & Herbs is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. The company operates a modern 70,000 square-foot blending facility in Cerritos, Calif. Equipped with giant v-blenders and robotic packaging lines, the plant has the highest level of food safety certifications and supplies several of the world’s largest beverage brands and food service chains with both hot and iced teas.

Manickarajah “Manik” Jayakumar, 75, recipient of the 2019 John Harney Lifetime Achievement Award, began his 55-year career in tea as an assistant superintendent at Brunswick Estate, Maskeliya under the watchful eye of David Perkins, a second-generation British planter versed in colonial tradition.
An Unlikely Career in Tea

Jayakumar was not born into a tea family, but quickly advanced from his days as a “creeper” tailing and tending to Perkins’ work and personal needs 24/7. The experience was pivotal as his work with Whittall Boustead introduced him to the challenges of managing a work force of 2,000 on soil exhausted from the cultivation of tea. “I began to see how managers looked after people and the soil in which tea was grown,” recalled Jayakumar. “Perkins spoke the native language. He was firm, not mean. He demanded excellence.” Jayakumar was appointed assistant manager in 1964. Eventually he would earn the FIPM (Fellow of the Plantation Management) degree, the highest awarded by Sri Lanka’s Institute of Plantation Management. Perkins, now in his 90s, recalls Jayakumar as someone special in his life and they continue to correspond to this day.

Manik attended Royal College in Colombo, one of the more famous boy’s preparatory schools in Sri Lanka. The school was founded by the Rev. Joseph Marsh in 1835. Jayakumar, one of six sons of a well-respected physician, was a prefect there with a fine academic record but never attended college. He is best remembered as captain of the school’s very successful rugby team. He calls rugby “a rowdy game played by gentlemen,” an athletic pursuit that he continued through his 30s.

Click HERE to read the full article.


Spring Valley Estate, Badulla - Manager's Bungalow

Click HERE to view the album.


Terrence (Terry) Mills

Featuring photos from his time in Ceylon in the 1950s and 60s as a Resident Engineer for Sirocco

Click HERE to view the album


 (L-R) John Leard & Cecil Leard

Click on respective photo to view profile


Farewell gift to Reginald Huyshe-Elliot from the staff of Norwood Estate in 1919.
In Ceylon

"Major Thomas Skinner, the greatest road builder the country has known in recent history, was appointed Commissioner of Roads by Governor Barnes. He was responsible for all roads built from 1841 to 1867 including 43 bridges."

From around the Globe
  • Britain occupies Hong Kong. Later in the year, the first census of the island records a population of about 7,500.
  • New Zealand becomes a British colony.
  • The United Kingdom Census is held, the first to record names and approximate ages of every household member, and to be administered nationally.
  • Scottish missionary David Livingstone arrives at Kuruman in the Northern Cape, his first posting in Africa.
  • Thomas Cook arranges his first railway excursion, in England.
  • The settlement of Dallas, Texas, is founded by John Neely Bryan.


The world’s first tea inspired radio station

Tea Radio has developed a global audience reaching over 90 countries worldwide; with the promise of ‘music inspired by tea’, and features news and views on tea, tea gastronomy and more, amidst the music of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s.

Stay updated on the latest tips and trends in the world of tea right here. Download the Tea Radio app on the Google play store or the Apple app store, or stream music inspired by Tea on
If you have received this newsletter from a third-party and wish to receive future newsletters from Project HOCT direct to your mailbox, please sign-up here.
Copyright © 2022 Dilmah Tea, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp