A call has gone out to Her Majesty’s Government to acknowledge the huge contribution to world broadcasting by a GREAT BRITON, Edward Harper who is known as the ‘Father of Broadcasting of Sri Lanka,’ when His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague arrive in Colombo to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting – CHOGM 2013 – from 10th-17th November 2013.
Edward Harper was Chief Engineer of the Ceylon Telegraph Office in Colombo from 1921 – 1931. During that time he lived in Colombo. He was the first person to carry out broadcasting experiments in Ceylon which lead to broadcasting services being inaugurated on the island – only 3 years after the inauguration of broadcasting services in Europe. Edward Harper also founded the Ceylon Wireless Club in 1921. He was an icon of broadcasting in South Asia – as a result of his early experiments – Radio Ceylon now the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation became a reality. There is a picture of Edward Harper hanging in the corridors of the SLBC in Colombo.
Here are some scenes from Colombo, Ceylon during the time of Edward Harper from 1921. It is interesting that in 1921 Vernon’s paternal grand uncle, Charles Edgar Corea who was the brother of Vernon’s Grandfather Dr. James Alfred Ernest Corea, was elected to the Legislative Council of Ceylon. We don’t know if Edward Harper met C.E.Corea who was a freedom fighter of Ceylon. C.E.Corea is regarded as a National Hero of Sri Lanka along with his brother Victor Corea. Charles Edgar Corea was President of the Ceylon National Congress in 1924 when Edward Harper was working at the Ceylon Telegraph Office.
Here are some travel films of Ceylon taken by Edward J.Gallagher from 1927 – 1931. Edward Harper would still have been living and working in Colombo during this time. He returned to England in 1931.