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Sri Lanka High Commission

13 Hyde Park Gardens

London

W2 2LU

United Kingdom

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Professor Miles Young of Oxford University talks to us about the History of Ceylon Cinnamon

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Some 20 years ago Miles Young, already a frequent business visitor to Sri Lanka, fell in love with a derelict cinnamon plantation inland from Weligama. Commissioning C Anjalendran to design an architecturally distinguished set of buildings ranging from a contemporary interpretation of a planter’s bungalow to accommodation for the itinerant cinnamon peelers, he set about restoring the site to productive farming. Visitors soon started coming to view the cinnamon and today the world’s first cinnamon museum is near completion.

Cinnamon has a very long history. It found its way into the Mediterranean basin through Egypt and ancient Greece in the first millennium BC and became much in demand in Rome. As modern Europe emerged from the Roman Empire, so there was a surge in demand in medieval towns which produced the impetus for the Portuguese voyages of discovery. Portuguese, Dutch and British then all, in turn, found the cinnamon trade an irresistible lure, though not without its costs and penalties.

In this talk Miles will describe the role of cinnamon in history: a romantic story, and one where the supply side and the demand side have rarely met with a full understanding of each other. The average consumer of cinnamon has no sense of its provenance, and the peeler who peels it has no sense of where it will end up. Miles will explore the religious, medical, gastronomic, literary and romantic aspects of this most enigmatic of spices, and he will explain why Sri Lankan cinnamon is “true” cinnamon.

Miles Young was an undergraduate historian at New College, Oxford from 1973 to 1976 and he returned to New College as Warden in 2016. His business career has been spent in advertising and marketing, most recently as Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy and Mather, a leading global communications network. More than half of his working life was spent outside the UK; in China and then in North America, based in New York. He is Chair of the English Speaking Union, of the Voltaire Foundation and of the Oxford Bach Soloists. He retains a strong interest in the issues facing developing countries, especially in Asia, and Sri Lanka is his second home.

Please be advised the High Commission is not dealing with ticket enquiries or attendance.

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Location

Sri Lanka High Commission

13 Hyde Park Gardens

London

W2 2LU

United Kingdom

View Map

Refund policy

No Refunds

The Friends of Sri Lanka Association is a non-political and non-profit association that promotes trade, investment and tourism between Sri Lanka and the UK and seeks to foster friendships among those who are passionate about Sri Lanka.

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