Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow


These two postcards show a Then and Now view of the famous Hugh Low Bridge, which connects New Town and Old Town in Ipoh.

We know such pictures often lead to a debate between preserving the ‘old’ and embracing the ‘new’. However, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this 🙂


  1. Ngai C O says:

    I believe all the four bridges linking new and old town had been replaced. I think there is a new one as well in between, sorry for my old ways in some respects, Brewster Road and Anderson Road

    Were they necessary to be renewed in the first place?

    I don’t want to be too presumptious or jump to conclusions.

    Say, the Hugh Low Bridge had reached its expected life span or the bridge structure had weakened or the bridge was subsiding or a combination of all the factors, I am sure something could have been done to keep it.

    Alas Malaysians do not generally have the passion for heritage. These voices are far and few in between. We cancscream and shout for now and might receive lip service at the most.

    Most initiatives for preservation have come from committed individuals to date.

    We need voices with clout in the governing machinery that will act as champions for heritage. Only legislation will ensure we do not lose any more to modernism.

  2. NCK says:

    I don’t remember the reason given for the demolition of the old bridge. I’d love to see it preserved, if possible, but the poor little old bridge would have needed some beautification. To me, there wasn’t much artistic value in it. The new bridge with the four towers and all is the epitome of disneyfication as it has already been widely regarded.

    • NCK says:

      It’s not only the towers in the new bridge that cry out disneyfication. The bulky arches look pretentious, faux and bland. They might as well have just made good the structures of the old bridge (if this was possible) and replaced the humble, bland railings with some cast iron railings of classical vines are tendrils design.

  3. Ipoh Remembered says:

    I saw that when the new bridge was being built, there was a lot of fuss about, e. g., the towers, including in these pages. Some will say it’s more than just a matter of personal taste; I’m not sure how I’d respond to that.

    I also noticed the designers made some small effort to incorporate elements of the old bridge into the new one. Insufficient, some will have concluded; but how to be objective about this assessment I’m not sure, either.

    I know the old bridge was in bad shape, partly through neglect but mostly because bridges don’t last forever no matter how well you try to take care of them. What I’d like to know is how well the new bridge is being maintained at the moment.

  4. Ngai C O says:


    Further to my posting, I would like to add the following notes to the old bridge versus the new one.

    I believe the old bridge foundation and arches to support the road above were constructed with engineering bricks. The construction methods were very common in the U.K. Possibly Brunel. Thousands of similar bridges in the U.K. are still in use. One good example is an old railway viaduct, which was featured in Harry Porter.

    The London sewer and many of the London Underground train tunnels, have stood the test of time. Of course new construction work now uses spray on concrete into reinforced steel bars.

    I saw a 1960 picture of the bridge with its classic cast iron railing.

    I also remember clearly that rocks were laid around the brick foundations to prevent erosion.

    As for the new bridge, it lacks the character of the old one. Basically, it is a lump of reinforced concrete. The towers are just another lump of concrete. There is nothing to marvel about the structures. I hope I am wrong but I have not heard or come across anyone ever mention’the fantastic new bridge’. I have passed by many times without taking notice of its existence.

    If it were the old one, I would think to myself that the brickwork had stood its time and the cast iron would last forever. I would wonder how they were made with more or less manual labor of love.

    I know it reminded us of our colonial past and how our wealth was siphoned away.

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