Vernon Corea’s BBC Radio London studio and building sold to developers for £75 million.

Vernon Corea presents 'London Sounds Eastern' at BBC Radio London 206

Vernon Corea presents ‘London Sounds Eastern’ at BBC Radio London 206

'London Sounds Eastern' the popular radio program presented by Vernon Corea was broadcast over BBC Radio London 206

‘London Sounds Eastern’ the popular radio program presented by Vernon Corea was broadcast over BBC Radio London 206

According to news reports Vernon Corea’s old studio at BBC Radio London and the BBC building in Marylebone High Street in London has been sold to developers for £75 million. BBC Radio London has relocated to Broadcasting House in Central London. The BBC Radio London 206 studio and office complex has been bought by Royalton a specialist developer of multi million pound homes in Surrey and Berkshire.

Vernon Corea presented the iconic BBC Radio London 206 radio programme ‘London Sounds Eastern’ from these studios in Marylebone High Street. He worked closely with the legendary BBC producer Keith Yeomans who also worked from these buildings – the home of BBC Radio London.

Listen to the BBC Radio London 206 jingle from 1976 – the year Vernon Corea recorded programmes for the BBC.

http://www.jinglemad.com/index.php?p=/discussion/9857/two-jingles-from-bbc-radio-london-1976/p1

200 World Class Sri Lankans on Facebook features Vernon Corea

Radio Ceylon/SLBC/BBC Broadcaster Vernon Corea is on the World Class Sri Lankans Page on Facebook.

Radio Ceylon/SLBC/BBC Broadcaster Vernon Corea is on the World Class Sri Lankans Page on Facebook.

There is a revised entry for the legendary Sri Lankan broadcaster on the 200 World Class Sri Lankans on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/WorldClassSriLankans

Veteran Musician Joe B Perera passes away in Sri Lanka

The veteran Sri Lankan musician Joe Bee Perera has died. Photo courtesy of Sinhala Jukebox.

The veteran Sri Lankan musician Joe Bee Perera has died. Photo courtesy of Sinhala Jukebox.

The veteran Sri Lankan musician Joe B Perera has passed away. He launched his musical career in 1964 when the island was known as Ceylon. Vernon Corea has featured Joe B Perera’s music over the airwaves of Radio Ceylon in the 1960s as well as writing about him in his EMCEE column in the Ceylon Daily News.

Read about Joe Bee Perera’s music career:

http://www.sinhalajukebox.org/feature/JoeBPerera.php

The music of Joe Bee Perera:

Kollupitiya Colombo-3 in the early 1900s

Sri Lankan broadcaster Vernon Corea and the Corea Family lived in the oldest house in Colpetty, Kollupitiya, Colombo-3 – 5 Maha Nuge Gardens. The house has now been demolished. This is what Colpetty would have looked like in the early 1900s.

Colpetty, Kollupitiya, Colombo-3 probarbly in the early 1900s.

Colpetty, Kollupitiya, Colombo-3 probarbly in the early 1900s.

The Jewish Synagogue in Colpetty Colombo-3 in Sri Lanka

This Chabad Sri Lanka Photograph shows the Jewish Synagogue in Colpetty, Colombo-3 Sri Lanka.

This Chabad Sri Lanka Photograph shows the Jewish Synagogue in Colpetty, Colombo-3 Sri Lanka.

Vernon Corea lived in Maha Nuge Gardens in Colpetty which was on the opposite side of the Jewish Synagogue in Steuart Place Colombo-3. Maha Nuge Gardens was adjoining Rotunda Gardens on Galle Road.

Vernon Corea lived in Maha Nuge Gardens in Colpetty which was on the opposite side of the Jewish Synagogue in Steuart Place Colombo-3. Maha Nuge Gardens was adjoining Rotunda Gardens on Galle Road.

Vernon Corea lived in Maha Nuge Gardens in Kollupitiya, Colombo-3 in Sri Lanka from the 1960s to the 1970s. At the time very few people realized that there was a Jewish presence in Colpetty in Colombo, although Vernon was very much aware of the presence of the Synagogue it is known whether he personally knew Jewish Sri Lankans.

Vernon who used to walk down to Colpetty from Maha Nuge Gardens has passed down The Synagogue (which was on the seaside and known as The Rotunda) time and time again. Vernon’s children remember the Synagogue in Colombo very well. It was in their neighborhood, in Steuart Place – there used to be a petrol garage, a tailor’s shop, a small lane on the seaside and then there was the Synagogue – they recollect that it was in a dilapidated condition – the building looked very much like an old house set within some land with coconut trees. A pathway ran from the gates at the front entrance to half way down the property – possibly leading to the back of the Synagogue. The property was very close to the sea. Just near the Tailor’s Shop down a small lane was a shanty area of a few wooden houses.

Jewish people coming to worship at the Synagogue used to drive in and park their cars on the grass on the left hand side. There were two short walls that led to the entrance to the property. The sign ‘The Synagogue’ was on one of the walls at the entrance to the property. The people who walked into the building were of Sri Lankan appearance. It looked as if the property was in decay and some time in the early 1970s it may have been demolished. Vernon left Sri Lanka in 1975.

If you walk by Steuart Place you will not find any trace of The Synagogue – Sassekawa Hall is now on that property. People should erect a plaque on that property because it was a historic building in Colombo.

In his article ‘The Jews of Old Ceylon,’ published in The Island Newspaper, Cecil Wickramanayake refers to The Synagogue in Colpetty:

The Jews of old Ceylon

by Cecil V. Wikramanayake

I read in some newspaper recently the startling announcement that Father Abraham, from whom the Jews and the followers of Islam claim descent, was not a Jew: that his name was Abram and not Abraham; and that the Jews came to be so called from the tribe from which they originated — Judah.

The news really shook me. Why? I’ll tell you why.

A maternal ancestor bore the maiden name Schneider, which is Jewish.

My eldest daughter is married to an Englishman whose father was a Jewish pawnbroker settled in London, within the sound of the Bow Bells. He bore the name Scarfe, which is also Jewish. That’s why.

Adrian Scarfe, when he was courting my daughter in Kandy, where we had taken up residence, positively refused to buy any souvenir in this country made of brass. Because, as he told me, he had, as a child, to polish all the brass in his father’s pawnshop!

The Jews were a thriving community in this country till the beginning of World War II. We had a Justice of the Supreme Court in the colonial days who was a Jew, name of Schneider.

The story goes that once, when on the bench, a lawyer of Dutch-Burgher origin made a rather uncalled for remark, referring to His Lordship as a “Wandering Jew”. Pat came the retort from the Jewish Judge “Or like the Flying Dutchman!”

I remember, as a child, seeing many Jews in this country, always dressed in the customary long white robe, head covered and kept in place with a phylactery tied round the head.

Also, till recent times, there was a Jewish Synagogue at Steuart Place, Kollupitiya (as that part of the Galle Road was called ). The low parapet wall of the synagogue, almost opposite where the Hotel Oberoi now stands, had a stone built into the wall with the words “THE SYNAGOGUE” carved on it.

The Jews who lived in Ceylon observed the Sabbath as all Jews do around the world, from Friday evening till Saturday evening, while the Christians called Sunday the Sabbath day.

I learnt that the Jews observed the Sabbath from Friday evening because the book of Genesis — the first book in the Bible as well as in the Torah, the Jewish Bible — states, whether in English or in Hebrew, that when God created the Earth in six days, each day was “the evening and the morning” It did not say “Morning and the evening”.

I also learnt that on the seventh day God rested.

And then He made man (Adam) and gave him a companion (Eve). And ever since neither God nor man has rested. In parenthesis I must apologise to my female readers for this joke, in poor taste doubtless.

But to get back to the Jews of Ceylon. They were, as I said before, a familiar sight in Colombo, in Kandy, in Galle and perhaps elsewhere.

But they were a rather close society, rarely fraternising with the Gentiles of this country, nevertheless contributing to the common weal.

Then came World War II and I lost sight and trace of the Jews. Perhaps they returned to Israel with the formation of that country in 1948.

But more recently, in 1973 I was able to renew contact with the Jews. Or rather with a Jewish couple, settled in Australia, who were budget-travelling to England.

Danny Kidron, born in Telaviv and Jeannette his pretty wife were our guests in Kandy for a couple of months before they moved on to get to England eventually. The last I heard from them was a few years later, when they sent us the good news that “Unto us a son is born. Unto us a child is given” for they had been married for several years without children.

http://www.island.lk/2002/02/10/featur04.html

There are some interesting articles about the Jewish presence in Colpetty:

Jews in Sri Lanka

http://chabadsrilanka.com/page.asp?pageID=%7B81486FA5-3D70-4B08-9D29-049EB574C21D%7D

Sri Lanka – Travelling Rabbi

http://travelingrabbi.com/countries/asia/sri-lanka

The Jewish Presence in Sri Lanka by Dr. Sanjiva Wijeysinha

https://suite.io/sanjiva-wijesinha/62xs2de

The Synagogue by Fiona Kumari Campbell

http://jews-in-sri-lanka.blogspot.co.uk/2006/06/synagogue-house-of-worship-just-house.html

Greg Roszkowski of Radio Ceylon

A photograph of Radio Ceylon broadcaster Greg Roszkowski hangs in the Otter Aquatic Club in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

A photograph of Radio Ceylon broadcaster Greg Roszkowski hangs in the Otter Aquatic Club in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Greg Roszkowski of Radio Ceylon.

Greg Roszkowski of Radio Ceylon.

Greg Roszkowski was a very popular announcer over the airwaves of Radio Ceylon in the 1950s and 1960s. He was a friend of broadcaster Vernon Corea. Greg always started his morning radio programme with the words ‘wakey, wakey.’ There is a photo of Greg which hangs on the wall of the Otters Club in Baudhaloka Mawatha in Colombo – Greg was a Founder member of the Otter Aquatic Club. Greg’s family also owned Hotel Nippon in Colombo. It is still in existence to this day. Greg’s father was Polish and his mother Japanese. He was hugely popular – in fact he presented the Binaca Hit Parade on the All Asia Service of Radio Ceylon – from that programme came the Hindi hit parade programme – Binaca Geet Mala which enjoyed iconic status in India, it was presented by Ameen Sayani. He was a larger than life character. Greg used to plug his family hotel – Hotel Nippon on his radio programmes saying it was a ‘home away from home!’

In the 1950s and 1960s, Hotel Nippon situated at 123 Kumaran Rathnam Road in Colombo-2, Sri  Lanka was owned by Greg Roszkowski and his family. It had a red brick frontage in the 50s and 60s and served the best chinese rolls in Colombo.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Hotel Nippon situated at 123 Kumaran Rathnam Road in Colombo-2, Sri Lanka was owned by Greg Roszkowski and his family. It had a red brick frontage in the 50s and 60s and served the best chinese rolls in Colombo.

Greg Roszkowski is pictured here second from left with Radio Ceylon announcers in the 1960s.

Greg Roszkowski is pictured here second from left with Radio Ceylon announcers in the 1960s.

Hotel Nippon in Colombo, Sri Lanka:

http://www.agoda.com/en-gb/hotel-nippon/hotel/colombo-lk.html

Celebrated Sri Lankan Pianist Carmen Mottau remembers Vernon Corea

The celebrated Sri Lankan pianist, Carmen Mottau said Vernon Corea was a 'true legend.'

The celebrated Sri Lankan pianist, Carmen Mottau said Vernon Corea was a ‘true legend.’

Vernon Corea - Broadcasting Legend from Sri Lanka

Vernon Corea was a perfect host on the airwaves of Radio Ceylon said Carmen Mottau.

Carmen Mottau known as Carmen Fernando in the 1960s has played the piano on several shows over the airwaves of Radio Ceylon, now the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation.

Carmen Mottau known as Carmen Fernando in the 1960s has played the piano on several shows over the airwaves of Radio Ceylon, now the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation.

The celebrated Sri Lankan pianist, Carmen Mottau recently recalled her memories of the legendary Sri Lankan Broadcaster Vernon Corea when he presented some of the most popular talent shows in Sri Lanka – in the 1960s.

Carmen said: ‘Well my memories of Radio Ceylon (now known as the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation) were very fond ones. I used to play the piano every Tuesday on the airwaves of Radio Ceylon for some time.I recall Vernon Corea being very witty and a great host and a true legend. I remember going to Nuwara Eliya for a Radio Ceylon talent contest when he hosted it and there was one Adrian Ferdinands who was a great drummer. Vernon Corea also introduced me to Livy Wijemane who was Director of the Commercial Service of Radio Ceylon. I also played the piano when popular Radio Ceylon Announcer Greg Roszkowski hosted a show where I was very young and had to be lifted to sit on the piano stool! I was Carmen Fernando then. I remember Vernon Corea as a perfect host on the shows over the airwaves of Radio Ceylon….’