Thursday, October 1, 2009

Birch Memorial Clock Tower

Birch Memorial Clock Tower was unveiled in 1909 as a dedication to J.W.W. Birch, the first British resident of Perak.

The Memorial site is just standing in front of the Ipoh State Mosque. It is within walking distance within the Ipoh Old Town (once you able to find your bearing around the city) and it took me merely 20 minutes walk from my hotel (Regency Tower Hotel).

A little history on J.W.W. Birch. For those who forgot their history lesson from secondary school. Birch was the first British Resident in Perak. He was appointed on November 1874 as an advisor to the Sultan of Perak following the signing of the famous Pangkor Treaty which established Perak as a British Protectorate State. With the treaty, the British Resident will have a higher authority than the Sultan.

Birch was killed on November 1875 by a local Malay Chief, Dato Maharajalela who speared him to death while he was taking is bath nearby a river in Pasir Salak (now Teluk Intan). Birch was assasinated because of his disrespect to the local custom and tradition and conflict with local Malay chiefs. He was known to be arrogant and disrespectful even the Sultan of Perak

The Birch Memorial is a square decorated tower with 4 panels illustrative of the growth of civilization. On the civilization panel, 44 famous figures in the world history are depicted.

The image of the last Prophet facing the mosque was painted over in the 1990s due to the objection from the Muslims to the depiction of the Prophet.

The clock tower comprises of one mother bell and four smaller bells which used to strike the chimes of Big Ben. I am impressed that the clock still works after 100 years. However, the displayed time is not that accurate. I notice it is about 4 minutes lagging compare to the actual time on my watch.

All the corners of the belfry, mounted on pedestals, are terracotta figures representing the four "Virtues of British Administration".

The figure with sword and shield represent Loyalty

The one which is blind and carrying sword and a pair of scales represent Justice

The unarmed figure means Patience

The figure with a calm face and bearing a spears represent Fortitude.

There is a small food court just next to the memorial site, which is perfect spot for a little break after walking around Ipoh old town trying to look for this clock tower.


Willie a.k.a Reptoz said...

Geee...I miss Perak. I was in Ipoh, with my friend. We managed to visit many interesting places over there. Too bad, at that time, I didn't have a digital camera. Ahaks!

soulesscloudy said...

wah wah... geng... I never stand beside this clock tower... and I also dunno its so memorable.. :P

thanks for the sharing...

wenn said...

wow..u really analyse the tower..i never do that even though i m in ipoh..

Anonymous said...

I didn't really check all these out despite born there ..hahaha...