One of Fort’s most prestigious buildings, also known as Queen’s House
A governor’s residence
One of the most prestigious buildings in Galle Fort, originally built in 1683 as a residence for the chief VOC commander Thomas van Rhee. It is a huge complex covering the whole block between Queens’ Street, Church Street, and Leynbaan Cross Street. All the Dutch governors who administrated the Galle commandment lived here.
When the British took over, they liked the expansive property so much, they kept it as a residence for their own administrators. Sir Frederick Noth was the first British governor who moved in in 1802. For the occasion the British architects added a small portico, a second storey and renamed it Queen’s House. Also, Front Street was renamed Queens Street, even though Queen Victoria never came... It remained a governor’s residence until it was sold at auction in 1870 when it became too costly to maintain the property. It is still in private hands.
Nice to know! In the 19th century, the back side of this building, located by the Leynbaan Cross Street was turned into the first bank in Galle: the Oriental Bank.