Photo focus: Colombo’s derelict Lighthouse Clock Tower
The Lighthouse Clock Tower at Chatham Street in Colombo Fort, designed by Lady Steinberg Ward, was declared open on March 25, 1857 by the then Governor of Ceylon, Sir Henry George Ward.
The monument has been a major tourist attraction, but today is in a bad state of neglect and decay. The plaque affixed to the monument declares it is the only lighthouse clock tower in the world.
The clock was manufactured in 1814 and functioned as a lighthouse up to 1952
It is also an important landmark as it is the centre from which the distance of the road network throughout Sri Lanka is measured.
The lighthouse is supposedly being ‘conserved’ and ‘maintained’ by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
But, today access to the top of the tower is no longer possible to locals or foreign tourists who are are told that it is too dangerous to climb the winding staircase as it is falling to pieces.
Three-wheel driver, Nihal Arunasiri in Fort said there are many tourist who come to visit this landmark as many of the tourist guide books make reference to the tower.
Unfortunately when they see the dilapidated condition of the building they turn away in disbelief and dismay.