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The History of Jaffna Clock Tower

Updated on September 9, 2007
Fig.1 A Full Height View of Jaffna Clock Tower
Fig.1 A Full Height View of Jaffna Clock Tower
King Edward VII. Jaffna Clock Tower was built to commemorate his visit to Sri Lanka when he was Prince of Wales.
King Edward VII. Jaffna Clock Tower was built to commemorate his visit to Sri Lanka when he was Prince of Wales.

In many towns of the world Clock Towers can be seen as main features and landmarks. In those days watches were not worn by everyone and it was useful for the people of the town to know the correct time. In a period when almost all wear wristwatches and a centrally located clock lost its main purpose, still clock towers are being built.

The Jaffna Clock Tower is about 130 years old and situated near the old sector of Jaffna Town. This is part of Jaffna's colonial history under British. In 1875, the son of the then British Queen Victoria, His Highness The Prince of Wales who later became the King with the name Edward VII, visited Sri Lanka. Jaffna citizen collected money to celebrate this occasion and to give a present to him. After the occasion they were left with some balance and a decision was made to build a clock tower to commemorate the visit of The Prince.

The government architect Mr. Smither designed the tower. It seems that a further amount was collected among the citizen towards the extra expenses. The then British governor Sir. James Longdon donated the clocks. This is a well proportioned, good looking building and stood there for several decades peacefully. After 1983 the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka entered into more aggressive situation and Jaffna became the hot bed of related activities. Jaffna police head quarters and the Jaffna fort with a heavy military presence, situated in the vicinity of this clock tower. Several fights took place in this area. The clock tower also had been damaged.

During the ceasefire period of two years starting from 2002, the Jaffna Clock Tower had been renovated. The British High Commissioner in Colombo reopened it on June 19. The Prince of Wales donated one million Sri Lankan rupees for the reconstruction.

Fig.2 A view of the Tower over the trees.
Fig.2 A view of the Tower over the trees.


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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      The Prince of Wales donated 4 clocks also when he was participated in 50 th independence day celebration in 1998.

    • Rudra profile image


      11 years ago

      this is still standing. thought the SL army destroyed it.

    • Rmnathan profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Sharjah

      jstankevicz, Paraglider, I thank you both for your comments.

    • Paraglider profile image

      Dave McClure 

      11 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Good one! Nice concise history and good photographs.

    • jstankevicz profile image


      11 years ago from Cave Creek

      Great HubPage with insights into clock-towers. I don't wear a wristwatch anymore, so appreciate even more these fine architectural landmarks. Great pictures.


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