CHEVALIER Sir Chittampalam Abraham Gardiner, KSS
Sir Chittampalam Abraham Gardiner was born in 1896, the son of Samuel Vairamuttu Gardiner and Salomapillai Vairamuttu Gardiner, daughter of Gabrielpillai Bastiampillai. The Gardiner’s were from Achchuveli and Manipay in Jaffna, later they lived in Colombo. Chevalier Sir Chittampalam Abraham Gardiner was a Law student when he became interested in business ventures. Eventually he became an outstanding businessman of Colombo. He had a brother named Anton Gardiner, and three sisters, named Anne Gardiner, Amy Gardiner and Agnes Gardiner.
Dictionary of Biography of the Tamils of Ceylon asserts that he was in control of several prominent business establishments in the Island. Besides being the Pioneer Cinema Promoter in the country, he had interests in other undertakings including Cargill’s and Millers. His most successful venture was the Ceylon Theatres Ltd.,
Sir Chittampalam Abraham Gardiner married Angeline Casie Chetty, daughter of Aloysius Mount Casie Chetty. They adopted a son named Cyril Aloysius Gardiner who was the biological son of Anne Aloysius and Santhiapillai Aloysius.
Anne Aloysius was the sister of Sir Chittamplam Gardiner. Cyril Aloysius Gardiner married Mavis Henry, daughter of Henry and they had a son, Sanjeev E. C. Gardiner.
He chose entertainment as his field of business and founded Ceylon Theatres on 29 September 1928, for which he is remembered today. Dictionary of Biography of the Tamils of Ceylon asserts that the concern holds interests all over Ceylon. He was a keen Rotarian, helped many, and made generous endowments to charitable organizations.
In recognition of his valuable services to the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope made him a Knight of St. Sylvester in 1947. He was appointed to the Senate, the Upper House of the Parliament in 1947. He was also a keen racehorse owner and his horse won the much Coveted Governors Cup in 1947.
Sir Chittampalam A. Gardiner remained Chairman of Ceylon Theatres until his death in 1960. Tribute was paid to him and his service in the field of entertainment was recognized when Parson’s Road was named “Sir Chittampalam A. Gardiner Mawatha” in his honour.
Cyril Aloysius Gardiner passed away on 17 September 1996 and the current Chairman of the Galle Face Hotel is Thiru Sanjeev E. C. Gardiner.