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28th February 2023


  • Cousins in Ceylon by Victor Gray & Ismeth Raheem
  • Digitising the Darrawella Club Memorabilia Collection
  • My Second Heart - Book Review by Monte Holsinger
  • Photo Album of the Month - Glen Alpin Estate, Badulla
  • Contributor Photo Album of the Month - Manel Jayesingha
  • Down Memory Lane - The first cricket match played at Darrawella between Dimbula and Dickoya in 1870.
  • Historical Events in 1932
  • Tea Radio by Dilmah

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By Victor Gray & Ismeth Raheem

(Sent to HOCT by the Rothschild Archives in London)

The letters of Charlotte de Rothschild are among the gems of The Rothschild Archive. As the wife of Baron Lionel, head of N.M. Rothschild & Sons and a leading figure on the London financial and social scene, she was well placed to cast a knowing eye over the circle of prominent friends and acquaintances in which she moved. She used the opportunity with a style and wit verging often on the mischievous and occasionally on the acerbic.

On  24 October 1865, she wrote to her son Leopold at Cambridge: “Dear Papa and your brothers were much startled yesterday by the arrival of Messrs. Gabriel and
Maurice Worms. The elder brother has been quarter of a century in Ceylon, and is scarcely civilized in his appearance. Both brothers are very proud of having slaved from 4 o’clock in the morning and incessantly, during a quarter of a century to make money – but the elder of the tea-slaves is sixty-six years of age, and he really might have commenced somewhat earlier to enjoy life.”

With these two ‘scarcely civilized’ characters (she omits to acknowledge them in this letter as her cousins), Charlotte was brought into touch with a world far removed from her own and with a story which explains one of the more puzzling uses of the name Rothschild in the 21st century. In 1841 the 36-year old nephew of Nathan Mayer Rothschild, Maurice (born Moritz) Worms, set sail from London for the Far East. He was the youngest of three sons of Nathan’s eldest sister, Schönge or Jeannette, who had married in Frankfurt in 1795 Benedict Moses Worms (like Jeannette’s father a merchant from
the Judengasse). In his twenties, Maurice had come to London and become a successful member of the Stock Exchange. He must have been in regular contact with his uncle Nathan and his family.

What made Maurice take off for the East is unclear but a letter to his Rothschild cousins in London dated 31 May 1841 finds him in Colombo where he has already been for a month after a stay in Bombay. He was deeply  impressed: “Since  my  arrival  I  have  made  more  journeys  into  the  interior  where  I  found  it  very beautiful  and  romantic,  although  rough  and  uncultivated.  Nothing  but  impenetrable forest. You can only make your way on a horse and I needed 14 days to go 125 miles. You cannot imagine how fertile the country is, and how it is always surrounded with the most beautiful fruits, plants and leafy flowers, especially in the interior of the jungle.”

Click HERE to read the full article



This collection is amongst the most prized features of HOCT and we look back at the process that was painstakingly undertaken fifteen years back.

The Darrawella Club has the finest collection of memorabilia of all planters’ clubs in the country, dating back to 1868, which features the participants in the first cricket encounter between Darrawella Club and Radella Club. These two clubs have not only had a long history of sporting rivalry, but they were also the most prominent sporting planters’ clubs at national competition level in Sri Lanka.

Tragically, the original Radella clubhouse was burnt to the ground in the 1960s and along with it, its entire collection of memorabilia. To ensure that no such ill-fortune can similarly impact on the fabulous collection at Darrawella, History of Ceylon Tea took along photographer Sarath Perera and his team to the grand old Club. There, over a period of three days, Sarath and his crew painstakingly removed each and every photograph from their frames, digitally photographed them and then replaced them in their original framework.

History of Ceylon Tea is truly proud to present this collection to you and our sincere thanks to the Club office bearers, who recognised the importance of this exercise and who accordingly, extended their fullest cooperation to ensure its success.

Click HERE to read the full article




I had for some time known that Vicki Vanden Driesen was writing a book about her early life in Sri Lanka, and I looked forward to reading the book with a great deal of interest, because I could relate to some of the content of the book. I have known the author since her father, Vivian, was the Manager of Mahadowa Estate, Madulsima, where I began my planting career, as one of his assistants.

The author has portrayed remarkably well the life and the upscale lifestyle in the plantations, in those days and it was not with a little nostalgia that I considered myself fortunate to have caught the tail end of the Golden Era of Planting.

I was quite amazed by the wealth of detail that flowed through the book, right down to the dresses she and her family wore decades ago, the dates, times and places of events and the meticulously presented recipes of exotic dishes that were a true cultural heritage, a legacy of genteel living in a forgotten era.

Although she did not keep an almanac, she obviously had remarkable retentive powers which enabled her to thread the storyline with consummate ease. The chapters on her forebears were fascinating and her admiration of them quite transparent. Many of them were illustrious citizens, whose contributions to society are still in evidence.
The book held my interest till the last page and is written in simple yet elegant prose and was a page turner for me. A great deal of love and affection has been poured into the story and a skein of wistfulness for her earlier lifestyle weaves its poignant way through the pages, which are liberally interspersed with interesting photographs and prints.

However, the chapter on Politics is brilliant and her expertise as a teacher of history is amply demonstrated in those pages. I found it to be a precise, condensed record of our early post independence era, succinct and crisp in articulation, and gleaned much about this period which had eluded me in the past.

Although the book has a degree of relevance to me, I don’t doubt that any reader who picks it up will quickly settle down to read this tale of joy and heartbreak, of excitement and thrill, and empathize with the author in the happiness, the satisfaction, that she has experienced in piecing together the most exhilarating and vivid memories in her early life.

Editor’s Note – Only a handful of 'My Second Heart' were printed for the author’s family and close friends. The book is however readable online on the History of Ceylon Tea website and can be accessed HERE



Glen Alpin Estate, Badulla - Manager's Bungalow

Click HERE to view the album.


Manel Jayesingha

Click HERE to view the album


The first cricket match played at Darrawella between Dimbula and Dickoya in 1870. Source - Darrawella Club.
In Ceylon
  • Formation of The Ceylon Tea Propaganda Board.
  • Prohibition of poor quality tea for export.
  • The British authorities in India arrest and intern Mahatma Gandhi.
  • George Eastman, founder of Kodak, commits suicide in Rochester, New York.
  • The Sydney Harbour Bridge opens in Australia.
  • German presidential election: Paul von Hindenburg is re-elected as Reichspräsident, defeating Hitler.
  • Amelia Earhart became the first woman to complete a transatlantic solo flight, having flown for 17 hours from Newfoundland, Canada to Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
  • India plays its first Test cricket match with England at Lord's.
  • In Germany, the world's first Autobahn is opened by Konrad Adenauer.
  • Soviet famine of 1932–33 begins; millions starve to death as a result of forced collectivization and as part of the government's effort to break rural resistance to its policies.
  • German president Hindenburg begins negotiations with Adolf Hitler about the formation of a new government.
  • Forrest Mars produces the first Mars bar in his Slough factory in the UK.
  • Hattie Wyatt Caraway, representing Arkansas is elected as the first female senator in the US.
  • American Gangster Al Capone entered an Atlanta prison convicted of income tax evasion.
  • Saudi Arabia was founded by King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud as he merged four distinct regions into a single state.


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