Remembering the pioneer of Ceylon Tea – James Taylor | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Remembering the pioneer of Ceylon Tea – James Taylor

8 May, 2022

It is well known that the tea industry was the foundation of which the modern economy of Sri Lanka was developed. Even today one and a half centuries since the beginning of this industry in Sri Lanka, tea exports generate foreign exchange earnings.

‘In pious memory of James Taylor of Loolecondera Estate, the pioneer of the Cinchona Enterprises in this island who died on May 2, 1892 aged 57 years. According to the record of burials available at Mahaiyawa Cemetery, Kandy, a stone was erected by his sister and many friends in Ceylon.

The vision of James Taylor regarding the enormous potential of tea as a plantation crop, the difficult conditions under which he worked, the manner in which he perfected the art of manufacture and the dedication of his entire life to the plantation tea industry to the extent of staying a bachelor all his life are legendary among tea planters of Sri Lanka.

According to an appreciation appearing in the Ceylon Observer on May 4, 1892, it stated that James Taylor rallied even on a Sunday, waking up early and giving orders about the work as usual and made every enquiry as to how the work went on, how much tea of each grade was packed and ready and all things that were connected which had become second nature to him.

From this obituary one could observe that his only interest was seeing to the progress and well being of the workers and the tea bushes until his demise. He went about with his task on the estate till he breathed his last. That is why he often boasted “My work lasts forever.”

I hope this message will give those associated with the tea industry an insight of James Taylor’s dedication to his assignment and will remind us that it is up to all of us to improve and consolidate the tea industry established over 150 years ago, as an industrial beacon to be reckoned with among, tea producing countries.

It is therefore, not only a duty but an obligation on our part, as the beneficiaries of Taylor to remember this great pioneer at least with his 130th death anniversary.

We pray that he may be rewarded suitably, in his place of rest.