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Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow
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Left picture: Tinted photograph from 1950 Right picture: Same bridge and street from 1989 (courtesy of Ngai)

Yes, we’ve featured this famous bridge and street numerous times. But what I’m curious about is the building next to the Lam Looking building. In the tinted photo, it looks like just another shophouse.  In the 1989 photo however, this same building seems to have undergone a massive makeover. Can anyone tell us more about this building?

  1. NCK says:

    The white building in the photo on the right is obviously a new building. The original building has been demolished. The Chinese words on the facade and columns of the original building are all mashed up as dots in the photo on the left, or I might be able to tell the name and function of the shop.

      • Ngai C O says:

        Hi,

        Referring to the shop on the right that was rebuilt, I remember that it was once a textile retailer, where most older Ipoh folk would have visited at one time or another to choose their materials for dressmaking.

        I was sure I had been into it with my mother and my late wife.

        Small time hawkers would occupy the side five foot way.

        I had a strong feeling the shophouse was burnt down in the early 80s.

      • NCK says:

        Hi, Ngai C O. You went silent for a month or two. What was the subject that prompted you to think about me? I hope I could give my two-sen worth.

        Hi, Felicia. Thank you.

        • Ngai C O says:

          Hi NCK,

          I was preoccupied with a project for a good few months.

          Just like you inquiring that I went silent was what was crossing my mind.

          It is great to hear from you again.

  2. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear felicia … The caption for the photograph on the left suggests that it was taken in 1950. Am I reading this correctly? Have you been able to confirm the date? Thanks.

    • felicia says:

      Ipoh Remembered, this particular tinted photograph in our collection states the year as 1950. This came off a table mat which once belonged to an old lady, thus we estimate it was 1950.
      I’m not sure of the EXACT year…perhaps you guys could confirm it.

  3. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear Ngai C O

    Referring to the shop on the right that was rebuilt, I remember that it was once a textile retailer, where most older Ipoh folk would have visited at one time or another to choose their materials for dressmaking.

    Yes, that’s my recollection also — except I know that the building spanned two shop-lots and I’m not sure the textile retailer occupied both of them.

    I had a strong feeling the shophouse was burnt down in the early 80s.

    My memory of the building seems not to extend beyond the ’60s. Your memory is better!

    • Ngai C O says:

      Hi Ipoh Remembered,

      I think it occupied two shop lots because I thought it looked rather big and very busy too.

      Hugh Low Street after the crossroad with Anderson Road was where most of the textile shops piled their business. So were haberdasheries, goldsmiths, watch repairs/sales, shoe shops, toy shops, crockery shops. There was even a shop selling orchids, plant pots and fertilisers/pesticides.

  4. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear felicia

    But what I’m curious about is the building next to the Lam Looking building. In the tinted photo, it looks like just another shophouse. In the 1989 photo however, this same building seems to have undergone a massive makeover. Can anyone tell us more about this building?

    The Lam Looking building opened for business in early 1934. At that time, its neighbour on Hugh Low Street (shown in your photograph on the left) was already there.

    About the neighbour: if you have a higher-resolution image, a closer look may confirm for you that the building comprised two shop-lots.

    Before the war, in the mid-’30s, both lots were a photo studio owned by a Mr. Lee. He came from a Singapore family famous for its photographers; his brothers and cousins owned many studios up and down the peninsula, including another one in Ipoh. I don’t remember when Mr. Lee’s studio closed; I don’t think it survived the war but I could be mistaken.

    After the war, in the late ’50s and early ’60s (and perhaps earlier or later as well), I think only one of the two lots — not the one immediately at the corner but its neighbor on Hugh Low Street — used to be a cloth shop where women went to buy fabric of various kinds. This is the textile retailer that Ngai C O also remembers, and if he says it occupied the corner shop-lot as well as the neighbouring one, then I’d assume he’s right.

    ——

    As for the more modern building shown in the photograph on the right, Ngai C O suggests it was built after a fire that occurred in the early ’80s. I have no recollection of the fire, but I can say for sure that any such re-building must have occurred after the early ’60s.

    What is the new building today? Is it a reputable hotel?

  5. Ngai C O says:

    Hi Ipoh Remembered,

    You are right, it is Hotel Abby occupying 55 and 57, two shop lots.

    No 53 was also demolished but I am not sure whether any building has been built since.

    A point of correction. When I said textile shop, I was referring to the period between 1957 to about 1980.

    I believe the textile shop like many of the shops, was still in business when I left the country in 1980

    The spiral came around 1985 with the collapse of the tin mining industry.

  6. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear Ngai C O

    No 53 was also demolished but I am not sure whether any building has been built since.

    Now that you mention number 53, I remember that Teik Chin had a branch at that location — but this was long before the Lam Looking building was constructed and was no longer there when the above photograph was taken.

    Anyway, Teik Chin was one of Chung Thye Phin’s business partnerships. Established in the mid-1890s, around the same time the railway came to Ipoh and our old friend Oldfield was setting up his shop, the firm dealt in mining supplies, insurance, and other “B-to-B” activities, and played a big part in the construction of New Town for Yau Tet Shin. It also sought to compete with Pritchard by importing and retailing wine, spirits, and assorted delicacies and comforts — but despite Chung Thye Phin’s business acumen, Pritchard out-lasted Teik Chin by a number of decades!

    A point of correction. When I said textile shop, I was referring to the period between 1957 to about 1980.

    Yes, the textile shop that I remember was definitely there in the late ’50s and early ’60s. If you recall it being there longer than that, I assume you’re right.

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      I wrote:

      Now that you mention number 53, I remember that Teik Chin had a branch at that location

      I should perhaps clarify that, at the time, Teik Chin had a big shop and a little shop. Both were on Hugh Low Street, both were in Old Town. The little shop at 53 Hugh Low was not near the Lam Looking building and the big shop (three lots) was even further away.

  7. Ipoh Remembered says:

    felicia:

    Can anyone tell us more about this building?

    Given the comments above, do you now have enough information about it? Any remaining questions?

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