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Plantation Experience

History of Ceylon Tea

The 'Stafford' tea estate was developed during the pioneering times of the Ceylon tea industry. Tea was first grown commercially in Ceylon (which became Sri Lanka in 1972) by Scotsman James Taylor in 1867, on a coffee estate named 'Loolecondera', in the central hill capital of Kandy.

A while later, a deadly blight ravaged the coffee plantations of which Ceylon 's economy was dependent on. The enterprising planters, immediately turned to expanding their crop to Tea, as the best alternative. Within a decade of planting there were over 5000 acres of tea growing in the hills of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle , in one of his works ,pays the following tribute to the Ceylon Planters who successfully overcame the disaster that followed in the wake of the baleful fungus.

"Not often is it that men have the heart, when their one great industry is withered, to rear up in a few years another as rich to take its place, and the tea fields of Ceylon are as true a monument to courage as is the Lion of Waterloo."

The history of Stafford Estate is closely linked to the history of Tea in Sri Lanka.

In 1867, James Taylor marked the birth of the tea industry in Ceylon by starting a tea plantation in Loolecondera estate in Kandy in 1867. He began the tea plantation on an estate of just 19 acres (76,890 m2).

He started a fully equipped tea factory in the same Loolecondera estate In 1872 and that year the first sale of Loolecondra tea was made in Kandy.

In 1873, the first shipment of Ceylon tea, a consignment of some 23 lb (10 kg), arrived in London.

In 1880 , Stafford Tea Estate was initiated by Sir G.H.D. Elphinstone & J. Paterson Snr.

In 1889, The Golf Club of Nuwara Eliya was created.

  • Tea Plantation History