My memories working at the Ceylon Tea Centre in London during the sixties-by Irangani Gunatillake

I was fortunate to be sent to London by the Ceylon Tea Board in Colombo, accompanying my husband, going to UK on a scholarship for higher studies.

I was extremely nervous, as it was the first time, I was going for

 a job after leaving school, but I felt good as it was at the Ceylon

 Tea Centre in Piccadilly circus, London.

On my first day, I was interviewed by Miss Ward, Secretary to the Tea Commissioner Mr Chambers.

Her first question after a pleasant conversation was, “When can you start work as the chief receptionist at the Tea Centre”?

That was the beginning of my incredibly happy journey and experience.

I found it very pleasant whilst at the job, that I had the opportunity to meet many people who visited the Centre, and most of them curious to know about Sri Lanka, the costume saree I wore, and about the manufacturing of tea.

lords, and famous TV personalities, including Beetles and the Rolling Stones famous British rock bands of all time.

I recollect the time greeting the HRH the Duke of Edinburgh and having a chat with him. He did mention his experience visiting then Ceylon, many years back.

I was fortunate to meet the Queen mother attending the Centre, and I had the opportunity to present her with a gift of ‘Ceylon Tea’ in the presence of the Tea Commissioner, Mr Chambers, as seen in the photo

In my vivid memories, I remember the time I was selected to be sent to Glasgow as ‘Tea Queen’, to represent and promote Ceylon Tea at the opening of the Centenary celebrations of the co-operative wholesale department, Scotland in 1976.

I was fortunate to be presented to Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth 11 of England who declared opened the celebrations.

The queen inquired from me all about Ceylon Tea and had the opportunity to chat with her for about 20 minutes, just the two of us.

I worked at the Tea Centre for about three years till we left London, after my husband completed his studies.

I loved meeting people, for that was the best job for me and ‘my cup of tea’

Those were my recollections, and happy memories of my London days.

Please share this memory with me.

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