iSurprise Clan House

The bustling general office of all shipping companies

The arrival board would be updated hourly, with steamers anchoring from all over the world
— Mark Thompson

A busy street

During British times, Church Street was alive with shipping companies, Lloyd, Asiatic Steam Navigation Company and Royal Dutch Mail Lines all had their offices here. Clan House acted as the general office managing the loading and unloading of ships. The ship arrival board is a memory of those days.

What’s in a name?

Clan House was home to John Black and Company, a British mercantile firm, who established themselves in Galle Fort in 1847. They were the agency for the Clan Line shipping company, hence the name. The huge glass panelled doors and windows suggest that the original structure may have been a house dating back to Dutch days, but to make it more ‘office like’ the trading company added the arched front veranda.

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