Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow

Just behind this wall which is across the road from Chung Thye Phin’s mansion (now the Kinta Medical Centre) is a wonderful old mansion which we hope is under massive restoration rather than renovation. It presently looks like this.

What a great house this must have been in its day. But by now you might be wondering why we think there is some mystery about it. Well here it is!

Who or what was Leeton? If you can help we shall be delighted to hear from you. This time we really need your help. Please.

By the way the photographs are courtesy of Kinta Heritage Sdn Bhd. Thank you for your help guys.

  1. ika says:

    It is amazing how things happen for after writing the above blog, this afternoon my wife reminded me that in one of our books in the bookcases we have the story of Leeton. Something I had forgotten all about.

    The house was built by Towkay Lee Chok Kai who came from Guandong in 1890 with only a pair of clogs on his feet and all his worldly possessions over his arm. He started working on a rubber estate in Kuala Kangsar and as his hard work paid off he expanded into a rubber smallholding and became a pawnbroker and moved to Ipoh. Here he lived above the pawnshop in Hugh Low Street while planning his grand new home.

    Before long he ordered his English educated eldest son to spare no expense in building their new home which was to be called “Leeton” after the family name. It was a grand home with Italian mosaic floors, French glass windows, wrought iron staircases from Germany and the best timber money could buy. There were ten bedrooms, six garages and a 2,900 square foot Chinese Kitchen.

    Now, at some stage it became the Primary wing of the Main Convent, but here again we need help. Is there anyone out there who can tell us more. We hope so!

  2. felicia says:

    I remember the time when the Primary block of Main Convent moved there – somewhere in 1994…….my friends and I were helping the teachers carry some furniture into the building.
    we girls had fun, thinking up all kinds of stories about the mansion we knew nothing about – things like secret corridors/tunnels..etc.
    but I have to admit, the mansion does have an eerie feeling after school hours….when everything is VERY quiet and the traffic at Chung Thye Phin road has decreased.

  3. Yeun Yin Fong says:

    Before Main Convent, this building was used by SRK Raja Perempuan, my alma mater.

    As far as I can remember, there was very little renovation to the original structure as our classrooms were what I believe formerly bedrooms as most of them had attached bathrooms/toilets.

    We enjoyed playing hide and seek the most in this building as they were so many corners to hide! At break times, we would place our food containers/water tumblers at various spots in the courtyard to ‘book’ the area for our classmates.

    As Felicia mentioned, SK Convent only moved there in the 90s and trust me, we felt the eeriness of the place earlier too!

  4. ika says:

    I am trying to build a timeline of this story. We believe the building was started in 1925, but in 1926 the supervising eldest son died from injuries received in a motorcycle accident and died at their house in Birch Street. Then within a year both his son and father passed away – before Leeton was finished. That left the a widow to complete the house which she and her daughter did in grand style. Of course they also had to manage the other family assets property on lease and rubber estates!

    In late 1941 with the Japanese moving towards Ipoh the girls of the family left Leeton for Singapore and eventually Bombay. They returned to Leeton in March 1946. Presumably the house was used by Japanese, but for what?

    Can someone tell us what happened next please and when did SRK Raja Perempuan take the building over?

    • Tai Poh yen says:

      How are you related to the Lee chok kai family?is your mother the daughter of Lee chok kai?
      I’m the grand-daughter of Lee Kam Choon?
      My grandfather was the 2nd. brother who came to Malaysia in1890 with your great grandfather.
      My husband & I are compiling the history of the Lee family.
      Do you have any old photos of your great grandfather& great

  5. Cat says:

    Im still studying in S.K Convent. Im 12. I think I can help by searching the books. I’ll start by tomorrow! Please reply if you need more help from me. I’ll try to solve it. But dont be too late because I’m going to turn 13! Well, I’m just saying that; I’ll try to help by searching the books.

  6. ika says:

    Hi Cat and welcome to our blog. It would be really great if you could find out any details at all for us. Thanks for offering, I am sure many of the convent “Old Girls” will be proud of you.

    See you again soon on ipohWorld’s World.

  7. felicia says:

    Hello Cat! yes, do search the books…..we shall be waiting for your reply. by the way, since this building is being restored: where are your fellow Convent friends studying? sharing a building nearby?

  8. COLW says:

    Yes, Leeton was built by Lee Chok Kai and he did pass away before it was completed. His youngest daughter (my grandmother) married Ong Ee Lim, the businessman who started Ruby theater. There was at least two Ruby theaters being one in Ipoh and another in KL. Lau Ek Ching was the owner of the property which he leased it to my grandfather. Although the business was his the building belonged to Lau Ek Ching. The theater by the way was named after his daughter, Ruby (my aunty).

    From what I was told, my great grandmother subdivided the Leeton land to the surviving family members. The land which the building sits on was given to her eldest daughter. Her daughter eventually sold it to the Govt and hence the school was born. I’m not 100% sure but that is how I understand it.

    • Ong Ghee Sai says:

      Hi COLW! I am doing the ‘Ong’ family tree and I need some help in filling up the gaps under Ong Ee Lim, your grandpa and my grand uncle. I guess that makes us cousins.

      If you don’t mind, it would be nice if we can get in contact.

      ika, any chance you can help here?

  9. Laavaniyaa says:

    well I am also a student of this wonderful school but now I am 14.I have heard about the mysteries of the school like haunted toilets ,haunted storerooms etc etc.I hope all of you know that before the school was renovated ,there are a few toilets by the small bookshop.My friends told me that those toilets were used by Japanese armies.There is also another story been told that the toilets are haunted because the person was shot when he was hiding or using the toilet.And this causes the spirit of the person to be there until now….Who knows

  10. Eyna Qis says:

    hye all! I am also from SK Convent .. I was 10. many of my friends was talking about sk convent.. they say that once the school is the church! hye felicia ,we all move to sk raja perempuan ipoh next to the convent! when I was 7,time my friend and I went to the toilet..when i n sabrina in the toilet , I heard someone was crying .. My friend and I check the toilet one by one but no one in the toilet.. I am not satisfied and I went to the back of the toilet there is no one! so my friend and I ran into the class! before the school holidays this year my friends say she saw the sight of Leeton front teachers office. But unfortunately I do not see the sight !

  11. Hazewin@chocolate says:

    Hai eyna qis’ssss…hahaha.yeah I’m d one who saw the “leeton”.my neck chilled.I felt haunted.I never believed about this leeton thing. I am from sk convent..I am I class with eyna qis.my father n I was at sk rajaperempuan school.my father wanted to take my report card.I asked my father that I can see the school not?he say sure why not…I looked around the school. I wanted to see d “bilik guru”.when i saw the word” leeton “I said 2 my father let’s go home!!!!my father said ummm…..WHY? And I say I’ii tell u everything at home…(it’s a true story)
    It happens on the 27th of may 2011…

  12. tris says:

    i really miss my skewl omg..i wanna have those days back wer my frens n i used 2 have great fun..haha
    <3 <3 this skul 4 eva

  13. Hazewin@chocolate says:

    Hazewin@chocolate: I hope all of u wil visit the sk convent building when it is still on renovation… So u guys will have a chance to look at this “leeton” thing……(if u don’t believe me…)And my real name is Nur Sabrina hazewin …

  14. felicia says:

    IpohBornKid…..i doubt there are ghosts there….since there is quite a bit of construction work going on – hence, no place for the ghosts to hide! 🙂

  15. UV@Valiant Knight says:

    They say if you remove the roof of a haunted building, that’s the end of the ghost or ghosts! Looks like we lost something already! LOL.

  16. hazewin@chocolate says:

    well.now im gonna turn12……….n im gonna study there again…yahooooo….today is sat…and 1 oct…so sihatthon day..the school is major n totally different.i love it there.well eyna said thet is the name of the tails brand…(leeton).but i dont think so.. there is no way a taills brand name is so big…on d floor…well im gonna figure n study more about this…Bye…c u next time!!!!(sorry if im kind of annoying or selfish)(i dont mean it)

  17. Ong K. S. says:

    My grandmother (I must admit I cant remember her name but will find out, God bless her), widow of Lee Chok Kai willed a portion of the estate to my mother, Lee Sau Khueen. My brother, Steve Ong leaves there now. I have very very little memory of my stay in Leeton during my younger days. The older one gets the less one remembers!

    • Ong Ghee Sai says:

      Hi Ong K.S.. If we are related, you are my Uncle/Aunty. I just replied to COLW, who should be my cousin and your niece/nephew. Would be good if we can all get in contact with each other. I am in the midst of completing the ‘Ong’ family tree.

  18. felicia says:

    hi Ashley. i think the upper chapel, which somehow connects to the room above the upper hall, was part of the student dorms MANY years ago……
    maybe some of the other Convent Alumni on our blog could help us out?

  19. Anon says:

    Hi, I go to smc and i’d like to know where is the leeton house placed? I’m 13 turning 14 next year. Being in form one I haven’t discovered every ‘kawasan larangan’ as the teachers called it. Also i tend to not pay attention to the structure of the building that much.

  20. Jas says:

    I once studied in this school. I started Standard 1 in SRK Raja Perempuan and that was in year 1991. This building was converted to school even before 1991 before I joined. There were rumors saying that it’s a palace and belongs to a King and Queen. When i was in standard 4 I moved to SRK Raja Perempuan which was located right opposite of this building. This school was given to Convent due to their school was burn in fire.

  21. nurul says:

    i am ex-student of this school in 1995-1997. i really love the mystery of this school. i heard that the this building was once a castle long time a go, and the classroom on the upstairs were the bedrooms. it connected with the toilets, but i think at that time we are no allowed to use it. if im not mistaken. i really love the design of the building . the stairs are made from wood. and it really looks classy. when entering the door, there are stairs and it then divided to to stairs left and right. and then there are balcony which the room is used for the muslim students for pendidikan islam class.. i cant recall the leeton on the floor. what i share is nothing related to the school mystry. hehe. i just share my old memories with this school. but from what i remember, the toilets is really scary. i can feel the eerie. there are rumours also saying that the place was once use by japanese armies to buried the corpses, and if you are lucky you will met a body without head wondering around….. at that time its really scary to go there because i am afternoon session, so when its gets so evening, the surroundings its really eerie.. one day i want to go and visit this school. calling my batch 95-97 mutiara class, i still remember my homeroom teacher puan mazlina, for the 3 years.

  22. Parveen Thanabalen says:

    Hi…me too. I started my standard 1 in tht school. Puan Yap was my class teacher at tht time. Im parveen…
    love the school n it’s architecture..

        • Ngai C O says:

          Hi thirishaa and Ipoh Remembered,

          Take heed thirishaa because that is a very good piece of inspirational advice.

          I wish Ipoh Remembered had done that to me when I was a kid. I might be a Mr. So and So like a well known famous figure. Instead I went about doing the things that I enjoyed at the time and neglected others.

          No point sulking now.

          At some point in life, health becomes a top priority. The risks are much higher like heart problems, degenerative conditions and the likes of creaky joints. We cannot wish these things to go away. I hope I may not end up as one of these candidates.

          Here is another piece for thirishaa, which my sister advised me when I was younger but I shooed it off as nonsense.

          Keeping healthy starts from birth to avoid raising the risks in future. It is proven to be true.

          Malaysian street food is yummy and people keep going back for it. Because of the ingredients used, the cumulative effects will show up thirty, forty years later. Heart attacks and diabetes are big killers in the country.

  23. Ngai C O says:


    I do know this mansion, another similar one across the road and the third one facing Kampar Road right back to the 1950’s. These three buildings stood out amongst the lallang around them.

    I know a little about each of these properties.

    I lived nearby along Kampar Road at the time as a kid.

    The mansion facing Kampar Road was once owned by someone, who established the Honda Motorcycle Dealership in Ipoh. This building also happened to border the MGS on one side. The building had since been demolished. A new building was built on its tennis court. It happens to house a Honda Car Showroom.

    The old Raja Perempuan occupied the mansion behind. People who attended it in the 50’s would know it also had an in house dental clinic beside two huge rambutan trees. The building also bordered the MGS new wing to the west.

    My main area of interest at the time was of course the rambutan trees, which had given me much joy over a number of years.

    Incidentally, the dental nurses were curious about my teeth when they saw me plucking the rambutans. They pulled me up to do some checking, cleaning and filling on a few occasions. Of course, this sort of generosity does not happen nowadays.

    As for the mansion in the picture, I vaguely remember it being occupied by the British at some point in time.

    My older siblings might know more about the history in the 50’s.

  24. shaj says:

    i was from that school last time was sekolah rendah perempuan before it become sekolah kebangsaan main convent, i studied there from year 1978 standard 1 till 6, what a great memories, those years there also a lot of stories behind, it was a mansion belong to raja perempuan, that is why the school name of.

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