Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow

from: Ruth Iversen Rollitt

It’s not Universal Studios…rather Universal Cars Ltd. Yes, I’m sure some of you remember this building. Last I heard, it functioned as a nightclub for a while. Now, it seems to have been abandoned. Unless…there is something going on behind the scenes, which we don’t know about; in which case, we’d like to hear from anyone who could tell us more 🙂

  1. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear felicia

    I can tell you nothing about what’s happening today, but here are a few notes from the old days about the company, the location, and the building:

    As with the Chua brothers and their firm, Cycle & Carriage, the Wearne brothers, too, began as bicycle repairmen. Operating in Singapore, they started selling Ford cars in 1909. When they decided a couple of years later to begin operations on the peninsula, Ipoh is where they came first.

    In Ipoh they operated out of several locations simultaneously — including at this less crowded end of Hugh Low Street, where there was more space for their facilities (Riley, Hargreaves, too, had its workshops here).

    By the late 1910s, Wearne Brothers was the largest importer of cars in Malaya and sold numerous brands. Their best-selling make was Ford and, by the mid-’20s, a subsidiary, Universal Cars, was formed solely to handle Ford sales.

    The first Universal Cars building in Ipoh was constructed in the late ’20s. The building shown in the photograph came later.

    I have to stop here for now.

  2. Qian says:

    Is the building still there? I’m looking for abandoned vintage buildings to take pictures with for art! Hope someone have some ideas, thanks!

    • ika says:

      Yes we have many abandoned buildings. A drive around the outskirts of town will also probably bear fruit. Tige Lane would be a good start. But watch out for snakes and mosquitoes.

      Whatever you take we would be delighted to see them and publish them on our database as tir work if you would allow us to do that. High resolution photos are best and they may be semy to info@ipohworld.org.

  3. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear Qian

    What a wonderful idea! I’m sure you will identify many abandoned buildings to photograph. Here are some suggestions:

    • The Cheng Bok Building on Brewster Road (New Town)
    • The FMS Bar & Hotel on Brewster Road (Old Town)
    • The Whiteaway & Laidlaw Building on Station Road
    • The Station Hotel
    • The old Post Office

    If you don’t recognize the old street names, please ask for clarification. And not having been in Ipoh for decades, I cannot be sure that these buildings are (technically) “abandoned,” but perhaps at least one of them is accessible.

    I wish you the best of luck in your project. Please let us know how it progresses!

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