Planters Registry of the Ceylon Tea Industry Discover the Great Individuals behind the Success Story of Ceylon Tea
George Henry Kendrick Thwaites was an English botanist whose contribution to the early plantation industry of Ceylon was second to none. Thwaites was appointed Superintendent of the Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya in 1849, a position he held for 30 years until his resignation in 1879. He was the first to detect the coffee rust disease that went on to destroy the industry in Ceylon. It was also Thwaites who, after initial use of China jat seed, settled on the Assam-hybrid tea seed variety which was to become the industry standard.
James Taylor, the supervisor of Loolecondera Estate plants the tea seedlings at his estate. The seedlings were provided by the nursery of the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens and were planted in just 19 acres.
As prospects of coffee began to look dull local planter Charles De Soysa started converting his plantations to tea. With the Ceylon Coffee Crash Soysa expanded his tea estates to include Guru Oya, Marigold, Hapugasmulle among others
Englishman Henry Randolph Trafford purchased the Poyston Estate and started the growth of coffee and Cinchona, later switching to tea in 1887