Nuwara Eliya owes much of its distinctly British flavor to the British explorer Samuel Baker, famous for discovering the source of the Nile.
Baker spent some time here in the 1840s and was determined “to make it a regular settlement … a little English village round my residence”. Without further ado he imported Hereford cows from home and planted strawberries, carrots and leeks, all of which thrived in the eternal spring climate.
He also had great plans to build a brewery and sent for all he would need, plus some farmhands, artisans, a bailiff, a blacksmith with forge, farming machinery, a horse-driven carriage and an arsenal of sporting firearms. One wonders why he didn’t ask for foxes to hunt.
The only means of transport then was through ever so narrow Ramboda Pass
using bullock wagons and elephant carts. Yet it all arrived safely, except the carriage.
Baker’s coachman explained it to his master the best way he knew how – by letter: “Honord Zur, I’m sorry to hinform you that the carriage and osses has met with a haccidint and is tumbled down a preccipice and it’s a mussy as I didn’t go too.”