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View from the Galle Road, of the un-built portion of the property (2002).
James Place’ was the property of James Fretz de Fonseka and was named after him. A part of this property was subsequently gifted to his eldest son Francis Simon. Francis Simon in turn gifted this to his four sons, who settled in the suburbs of Colombo, and gave the property on rent. After a legal battle to evict the tenant, the property was finally sold in the 1970’s. Today, the daughter of the former family jeweler owns part of this property. Her son has now built a house and a machine workshop on the premises. Of the old house, only the well remains. The Road Development Authority demolished part of the boundary wall in 1999.
The well from the old house is the only thing left of ‘James Place’
Although James Place is
no more, part of the timber work still lives on in the house of Dr Gerinus
Jayasekere. This bit of information was provided by Dr Srilal Fernando.
'Last week we had a visitor from Sri lanka Dr Gerinus Jayasekera, Professor of Surgery at the Medical faculty in Colombo. Some years ago while traveling down south he saw a house with nice doors at Kalutara. He stopped his car and asked the surprised occupants whether they would sell him the doors and windows and he would pay a good price for them . The occupant was a tenant but forwarded Geri's details to the owners in Colombo. Some months later Geri received a call from the owners (Ian de Fonseka) to say that the house was being demolished. Geri went with his architect Ismeth Raheem and bought all the material from the house. His house in Colombo now has the doorways and windows and 90 % of the timber is from the De Fonseka house in Kalutara.
Part of the original James place property also lies across the Galle Road. When the bridge at Kalutara was built by the British, the road to the ferry was discontinued, and land belonging to James Place was acquired to build the new access road, effectively dividing the property into two. James Fretz gifted the land to the west of the new Road to Lily Louisa (daughter), while the land to the east including James Place was gifted to Francis Simon (eldest son). As they had no children, both the families of Vincent Fernando and Francis Simon De Fonseka lay claim to the land. The picture on the left shows this property.
This document refers to the settlement of the land belonging to Lily Louisa and Joseph Vincent Fernando and the ensuing case and shows the relationship between the parties.