Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow

Heard of the Grand Hotel? It opened on 16th December 1909 and was Ipoh’s first European style hotel. But who was the Founder of this hotel? None other than Mr Pierre Z Creet. Here he is pictured with his daughter, Mignon Betty, in the early 1940′s.

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  1. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Fron the linked database entry:

    The Story of Pierre Z (probably Zacharia) Creet

    Yes, it was Zacharia.

    Here again enters the involvement of the Sarkies brothers for in late 1907/early 1908 they entered negotiations with the government to build their third luxury Malayan hotel, this time in Ipoh.

    Those “negotiations with the government” were more like Ernest Birch pleading with the Sarkies to build in Ipoh — but, anyway, the discussions began in July of 1907 and were concluded shortly thereafter.

    they were offered a 99 year lease on a large, choice piece of land in a prime position, almost right opposite the railway station.

    Yes, and when they declined to use that “large, choice piece of land,” it remained empty until Ipoh’s Supreme Court building was constructed there in the 1920s.

    The architects were Messrs Drapers, Williams and Steadman, a well known local company at the time.

    Yes, but the firm was called Williams, Draper, and Steadman.

    And it was a Singapore firm, “local” only because, in that same July of 1907, Charles Williams and Basil Draper had just taken Vincent Steadman on as a partner and sent him up to Ipoh to open up a branch office — to oversee the construction of the Birch Memorial Clock Tower.

    ——

    Back to our subject:

    [Creet] then reduced the room rates [at the Grand] in 1914, but that did not help either and profits worsened. He branched out, buying the FMS hotel in Kuala Lumpur, previously managed by Sakooly Martin (another Armenian) and renamed it the Grand Oriental.

    No.

    Pierre did take over the F. M. S. Hotel in KL, but not from Martin and not after 1914.

    In fact, Martin was the manager Pierre himself installed after taking over the hotel from Gus Ketschker in 1910.

    And then Pierre fell head-over-heels in love:

    Leaving his hotels behind, [Pierre] had no qualms about catching a ship to Sydney, arriving there in November 1918. [He and Alma Crawley] were married [shortly]. However they were divorced in 1935, their only [child] Mignon Betty Creet being 13 at the time.

    Yes, Pierre was besotted for a long time, but then Alma’s infidelity got the better of him and he obtained a divorce.

    Incidentally, the daughter’s name was not “Mignon Betty.” It was Mignon Patricia. “Betty” was her nick-name, albeit the name she used most.

    Somewhere I have a copy of a children’s story she once wrote.

    During the war, she married an RAAF fighter pilot, in the same church where, a decade later, her father’s funeral service would be held. She herself died just about a decade ago now.

    ——

    I could say more about the life and times of Pierre Creet. I believe I did comment briefly before, and perhaps I will again. It is my view that Ipoh still owes him a debt that has not been re-paid.

    But for now, let me just give grateful thanks to Philippa, for sharing with us these striking photographs of her grandfather, and her mother.

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