Presidential Archives

President Jayewardene was a man who believed in preserving everything he possessed for posterity. He had jealously preserved the diaries and most of the exercise books he used as a schoolboy, text books and various volumes of poetry and other subjects which he inherited from his father and grandfather and all possible memorabilia he could gather. Yet there was one exception, a moving gesture of a man who cherished his heirlooms. When he decided to give up his law practice at the age of 38 to embark upon a career in politics in 1938 he handed to his younger brother Harry (H.W) the invaluable collection of law books which he inherited from his father together with the additions he had made. In his book - Golden Threads a chronicle depicting the history of Srt Lanka under 295 Kings and foreign rules, the dedication reads " For the youth of Sri Lanka ...To whom the torch must pass.‘

The Archives today housed at the J. R. Jaycwardene Centre contains public papers as well as private papers of the President which are available for reference by members of the public. The most significant among the collection are:

  • Photograph albums with photographs of family. Important occasions and functions public and private. foreign and local
  • Photographs showing the old architectural buildings of Colombo City and roadways
  • Photographs and portraits of World Leaders. Statesmen and leading personalities of Sri Lanka
  • Photographs showing the offering of Manelwatta to Sangha
  • Portraits and Paintings on paper and canvas
  • Maps of Ceylon from Ptolomy days
  • Government Gazettes from 1931:
  • New Law Reports
  • Hansards since Independence
  • Title Deeds

The documents mentioned above are a few falling within the categories of public and private records of the President under the National Archives Law No 48 of 1973 now held and preserved in the J. R. Jaycwardene Centre. Apart from these documents the Centre is a treasure trove of articles, gifts and mementos received by President Jayewardene from Kings, Queens and Heads of States around the world which President Jayewardene considered as belonging of the public and not to him or his heirs. Added to this collection are a vast number of hooks on various subjects, portraits and paintings, artifacts and rare books kept on display at the centre for public use.

1.0 Services

1.1  Reader services

1.2 Photocopy services

1.3  Scanning (photos/Documents) Services

1.4  Queries

1.5  Selling books

0.2 Library hours

Monday to Friday

 From: 08.30 am – To: 04.30 pm

The library is closed all public & mercantile holidays

3.0  Library policy

As a research library for borrowing facilities are not available. Those who need photocopies can be obtained.

3.1 Sales

Photo coping charges

A4 single side – Rs. 07.00

A4 both side -- Rs. 10.00

A3 single side – Rs. 15.00

A3 both side – Rs.  20.00

B4 single side – Rs. 10.00

B4 both side – Rs.15.00


 4.0 Printing

A4 single page Rs. 07.00

4.1 Pictures/plates

  • Rs. 10.00 for each year as search fee ( current calendar year free)
  • Rs. 50.00 for a photograph using by own camera
  • Rs. 150.00 for a  photograph scanned and copy to CD

4.2 Audio / video materials

* Audio CD Rs. 200.00

* VCD          Rs.200.00

* DVD         Rs.400.00

  4.3   For reference

              * Issuing a archival file Rs.10.00 per day

              * Issuing book from rare collection Rs. 25.00 per day

              * Issuing Government publication before 1983 Rs. 10.00 per year

Main Facilities


    Auditorium is a fully equipped reception hall hired out for wedding receptions and similar functions. It is also hired out at very subsidized rates for book

Japanese museum

    Japanese museum is a separate entity housed in a separate hall which contains mainly mementos depicting exclusively Japanese art and culture.

The Museum

    One of the most illustrious collections of personal memorabilia, the museum contains about 600 items gifted to President Jayewardene.

Presidential Archives

    President Jayewardene was a man who believed in preserving everything he possessed for posterity. He had jealously preserved the diaries and most of the exercise books he used as a schoolboy

The Library

    The library contains over 16000 books and publications mainly in English and Sinhala and a few in other languages such as Tamil, Hindi, Chinese and Japanese.

The Ryugen Garden

    A replica of the gorgeous courtyards of the Japanese elite is a gift from Rev. Ryugen Tanaka as a token of gratitude to President Jayewardene


    September 2020
    3031 1 2 3 4 5
    6 7 8 9 10 11 12
    13 14 15 16 17 18 19
    20 21 22 23 24 25 26
    27 28 29 30 123
    Schedule dates are highlights. You can click and find more info


    The J. R. Jayewardene Centre provides support services for classes conducted in various fields such as