1st May, 1876, a day to be remembered in the history of Education in Sri Lanka. Richmond College was inaugurated on that day, as the Galle High School.
Rev. Samuel Langdon was our first principal. He undertook to lead the school through numerous hardships in those early years, towards victory and glory.
Rev. Langdon first arrived in Ceylon as a Methodist missionary in 1870. He began his teaching career at Wesley College, Colombo, the leading Methodist educational institute in the country. He was then entrusted with the responsibility of steering Richmond through the crucial period of initial development. He was principal from 1876 to 1879, and the experience he gathered at Wesley would have stood him in good stead.
He was one of the pioneers in science education who introduced to Ceylon new techniques in science teaching. In a message issued to the College science magazine “Vidya Thilina” in 1976, Rev. Small described him as the pioneer of science education of Sri Lanka. Methodist mission records show the outstanding services Rev. Langdon had rendered in establishing science education in various Methodist educational institutes spread all over the country. Some of these documents are as follows:-
(i) “Sathyalankaraya” newspaper of 26th March, 1879
(ii) “Sathyalankaraya” of 13th March, 1878;
(iii) An article headed “Note of science teaching” published in the newspaper “Ceylon Friend”.
Rev. Langdon also stressed the importance of religion in education. He was responsible for the award of the Park Scholarship for religious knowledge. Due to his tremendous zest for work, he was able to increase the number of students considerably during his 3 years as principal.
Rev. Langdon was a popular figure among the locals. He was always concerned about the religious activities in the area. He left Richmond in 1879 and occupied himself with the work of God in the central province, with the assistance of his capable wife. The Langdons were chiefly instrumental to the establishment of the Girls High School as well as a technical school for girls in Kandy.
“Langdon House”, situated in Badulla, was built in his honour for the services he had rendered in the Uva region. Rev. Langdon also did a noticeble service as the editor of the “Ceylon Friend”.
The following articles and books written by him
“Notes of Science teaching . Appeal to the serpent . My Misson garden . The Unworldly Kingdom” amply demonstrate his vast knowledge, scholarship and wisdom