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'Sensation Rock' on the incline between Colombo and Kandy, Ceylon

'Sensation Rock' on the incline between Colombo and Kandy, Ceylon

Photographer: Unknown

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1880

Shelfmark: Photo 44/(9)

Item number: 449

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the railway line on a steep mountain side, from Colombo to Kandy in Sri Lanka, taken by an unknown photographer in c.1880, from a collection of nine prints which belonged to Stanley Leighton MP. Sri Lanka came under British rule in 1815, when the last bastion of the Sinhalese kings, the central hill region of Kandy, caved in after resisting colonial rule for 300 years after the fall of the coastal regions. In 1842 English coffee planters clamoured for a railway from Kandy to Colombo, to transport their estate produce for shipment quickly and regularly, as they had by then opened up virgin lands in the hill country to grow coffee, a viable commercial crop. The construction of the Ceylon Railways between the 1860s and 1890s was a feat of engineering accomplished over difficult terrain with steep inclines, involving tunnelling, cutting through solid rock formations, building steep embankments over valleys and ravines and constructing bridges and culverts.

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