Wesley College to restore its past | Sunday Observer

Wesley College to restore its past

30 July, 2023

The Wesley College Old Boys Union, under the leadership of its president Navin De Silva has embarked upon an ambitious project to restore the Wesley College Pavilion to its former glory.

The initiative is part of the school’s sesquicentennial commemoration, scheduled for March 2, 2024 and the restoration aims to transform the existing pavilion into a monumental sports facility while preserving its splendid architectural heritage at Campbell Park.

The Pavilion’s significance dates back to its acquisition by Wesley from the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club at Campbell Park in 1940. Said to have been built in 1900, one year after the club’s formation, Wesley will soon celebrate its 124th anniversary in 2024 with the archeological value and a history resembling an English country clubhouse and the pavilion was inaugurated on January 19, 1940 by old boy GGS Corea, Minister of Labor, Industries and Commerce at the time.

The current Pavilion holds nostalgic and personal memories for countless scholars of Wesley College but it is now in an advanced state of decay, necessitating immediate restoration.

All previous restoration attempts have proven either exorbitantly expensive or only temporary solutions according to the Wesley College authorities.

Taking charge of the restoration project is the vice parton Ivor Maharoof, along with a select committee of dedicated and distinguished Wesleyites that includes banker S. Renganathan as the project treasurer.

The Committee said it is dedicated to renovating the Pavilion while ensuring that it retains its classic colonial architecture on the same hallowed ground and a comprehensive refurbishment will offer enhanced facilities to both players and visitors, enabling them to create lasting memories.

Over the years, Wesley’s Pavilion hosted some of Sri Lanka’s finest cricketers, including the legendary Mahadevan Sathasivam, CE Perera, Abu Fuard, LR Goonetilleke, MN Samsudeen, Brian Classen, S. Jeganathan, Russell Hamer and in the recent years Farveez Maharoof and Jeffery Vandersay among numerous Wesley cricketers.

Wesley sportsmen in rugby, athletics, football and hockey, including the legendary A. Mylvaganam, have graced the site during their sporting endeavors.

The architect of the restoration is Murad Ismail, a highly respected exponent and a disciple of the famous architect Geoffrey Bawa. He is the son of old boy Dr. Ifthi Ismail and nephew of another distinguished old boy Prof. Mahroof Ismail.

According to a Wesley official, Ismail has volunteered his expertise for this project without charge and his commitment exemplifies the collective rallying call for the Wesley fraternity to restore the school’s sporting pride, transforming it into an iconic masterpiece treasured by Wesleyites for generations to come.

To kick start the whole project, Wesley launched its fund raising campaign on Friday at Campbell Park.