Memories of childhood spent at the Birch Memorial Clock Tower: 1953-1959
I remember the Birch Memorial Clock Tower. We lived in the Old Town in a shop house beside Concubine Lane. The Clock would strike every quarter of an hour and then the full hour, and listening to that, we knew the time.
In the evenings, we played at the Clock Tower. The slope on one side was perfect for sliding down on cardboard.
Ipoh Tourism Board Official Website
The Ipoh railway station was initially meant to be a hospital and used before the 20th century as such before being turned into a station. The original completion year of 1917 was delayed for three years due to lack of construction materials as well as high costs during World War I. Designed by Arthur Benison Hubback, it was first constructed and opened in 1935, making it the second concrete station to be constructed in the town.
The Ipoh station was used as a shooting location for the film Anna and the King, starring Jodie Foster. The building also houses the hotel called the Majestic Hotel.
HISTORICAL PLACES NEAR THE IPOH RAILWAY STATION
1. THE IPOH WAR MEMORIAL
War Memorial Ipoh
This memorial commemorates the fallen of the Perak-region in the First and the Second World War. Those who fell in other conflicts are also commemorated.
- Text: Fedor de Vries
- Photos: Flickr
2. THE BIRCH MEMORIAL CLOCK TOWER
The clock tower was constructed to commemorate James W. W. Birch and unveiled in 1909 at a cost of $25,000.
The clock tower is located in a square with a portrait bust and four panels illustrative of the growth of civilization. It has a mother bell and four smaller bells which used to strike the chimes.
The clock tower, with its 6ft 6in bell, was erected in 1909 in memory of James WW Birch, Perak’s first British Resident. Birch was murdered in 1875 at Pasir Salak by local Malay chiefs. The friezes on the clock tower are meant to illustrate the growth of civilisation, featuring figures such as Moses, Buddha, Shakespeare and Charles Darwin. A figure representing Mohammed has since been erased.
The road on which this memorial stands has been renamed for one of Birch’s killers. Today they are considered nationalists while Birch is remembered for his disregard of local custom.
The Birch Clock Tower, A Memorial To J W W Birch, The First British Resident Of Perak
Source: Ian Anderson, Ipoh / Kinta Properties Group
Unveiled in 1909, the Birch Memorial, can be described as a square decorated tower with a portrait bust and four panels illustrative of the growth of civilisation. The tower was erected on the table-land of Ipoh Old Town at the cost of about $25,000. A dedication to J W W Birch, the first British Resident of Perak, who was assasinated by the Malays at Pasir Salak in 1875, could be found beneath the site of a bronze bust of Birch in the north-facing niche, but the bust has since disappeared.
At the corners of the belfry, mounted on pedestals, are terracotta figures, representing the four, so-called, Virtues of British Administration – Loyalty, with sword and shield, Justice, blind and carrying a sword and a pair of scales, Patience, unarmed, and Fortitude, with a calm face and bearing a spear.
On the four civilisation panels around the tower, 44 famous figures in the world history are portrayed, although the image of the last Prophet of Islam was painted over in the 1990s due to objections from Muslims to the depiction of the Prophet. Above adapted from 1999 Janus Print & Resources – Published by the Perak State Government.
Interestingly enough the son of J W W Birch, E W Birch, also became the Resident of Perak in 1905 and it was he who personally put into motion the project to build a memorial to his father. This soon found approval from the government…