George Steuart commences restoration of centuries old artifacts | Sunday Observer

George Steuart commences restoration of centuries old artifacts

24 January, 2021
Some of the old documents
Some of the old documents

George Steuart & Co has launched a project to restore a repository of artifacts that trace back to its founding in 1835 and its early operations.

The recently uncovered artifacts include diaries and journals belonging to the founders, ledgers, profit and loss accounts, company seals, employment records and many more documents from the early 1800s. The restoration is being conducted under the guidance of the National Library and Documentation Services Board to preserve and archive the collection.

Of particular interest is a collection of documents that belonged to the three founding brothers of George Steuart & Co., Captain James Steuart, Joseph Steuart and George Steuart, who first sailed to Ceylon in 1806.The records pertaining to the company itself offer a rare glimpse into the day to day workings of mercantile Ceylon during the Empire. There is evidence of George Steuarts preeminence within the economy of the time, including its enrolment as the first member of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

Included in the restoration are items of historic interest such as monetary notes and coins the company had used in the 17th century, correspondence with officials in Britain, furniture, books and journals with handwritten notes.

The Chairman of the National Library and Documentation Services Board, Sonali Gunawardhana under whose guidance the project has been initiated, said, “There is a great necessity to find, restore and archive artifacts of this nature in order to have a more thorough understanding of the building blocks of our socioeconomic history.”

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