One of the grandest of the “old world charm” is the splendid Victorian styled red brick building of the Cargill’s Department store building which has not changed too much from the days the British ruled and when the hill country tea plantation superintendents and colonial administrators would travel by foot or carriage into the capital city of Colombo every six months or so to collect their supplies and luxuries. One of the best photos within the Fort that you could take is capturing the Cargills department store with the twin towers of the Sri Lankan World Trade Centre in the background. It portrays a mixture of the old world charm against the backdrop of the rising modern skyscrapers.
The hype of the once busy department store has diminished and it is now more of a shell, which is a shame. There is a small shopping museum. You will find it on the corner of York Street. In its heyday it was on par with London’s grand Fortnum and Mason department store, out fitters of the Empire. Sadly commerce has moved on. Cargill’s is now a modern supermarket company with stores all over Sri Lanka trading under the name of Food City.
Notice how the original Cargill’s building has archways over the pavement. They serve two purposes. They kept their customers dry in the monsoon and out of the glare of the hot sun by offering shade when needed.