Ceylon coffee plantation notebook

Scope and Content

Notebook with 70 numbered pages, with entries on 39 of these, and further unnumbered blank pages at the end. There are also some loosely inserted notes. Titled on the end-paper, General Memoranda relating principally to Ceylon Plantations, estimates of value, crop, annual expenditure &c. Followed by a two page index of the various plantations, and a further double page general overview recording details from 19 plantations (Kondesalle &c.), for the 1846/7 season. Individual records are then provided for each plantation, together with other notes; 'charges on buying coffee in Kandy for R.B. Tytler, 1851'; accounts provided by Thos. Kilby & Co for cinammon; consumption of coffee in Gt. Britain 1801-1853; carriage of crops season 1846/7 from A.B. & Co annual statement.

Access Information

Open for research although at least 24 hours notice should be given.

Acquisition Information

Bought from Ken Spelman, bookseller, York.


Coffee production in Ceylon reached a peak in 1870. That year over 111,400 hectares (275,000 acres) were cultivated. The Dutch had experimented with coffee cultivation in the 18th century, but this was not successful until the British began large-scale commercial production following the Colebrooke–Cameron Commission reforms of 1833. By 1860, the country was amongst the major coffee producing nations in the world. Robert Tytler, regarded as the "Father of Ceylon Planters", was the first to cultivate cocoa in Ceylon. Tytler had worked extensively on coffee plantation processes in Jamaica in the mid-1830s. He subsequently introduced the West Indian system of cultivation to Ceylon's coffee plantations, with great success.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Special Collections Reading Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Geographical Names