I have chosen to feature this photo today to honout the owner, Mr. Lim of the Lim Kopi kopitiam in Hugh Low Street, who has done an outstanding restoration job on this building, inside and out. For those of you who are not aware this is the de Silva building in Belfield Street, Old Town, Ipoh which was derelict less than a year ago.
If only there were more owners like him.
In a previous blog, we mentioned the Ipoh Tutorial Institute. When Ruth Rollitt sent us this picture (below), we couldn’t help but wonder: Were these institutes one and the same? If so, when did they move to the bigger building?
In case some of you are wondering, this building is STILL THERE today…but it’s not the Tutorial Institute anymore.
Today’s feature is none other then the Star Barbershop, at Belfield Street.
Star Air-Conditioned Hair Dressing Salon,
97 Belfield Street (now Jalan Sultan Yussuf) IPOH 30000
The Star Hair Dressing Salon came into being in 1927, it was started by Megarai Karuppiah with just 2 barbers – Katchiappan and Manickam – and the premises were shared with a Japanese tailor before it was fully owned by the barbers.
It is a very old and well- preserved hair salon, with two 4th generation barbers still working. One of them started working at the salon in the 1953. The exterior of the shop is quite old and the building is old though there were few changes made to the structure of the shop over time. The shop has a unique style of tilted mirrors which run across the right side of the wall when entrance is made
through the front door, according to Thirunavu Karasu a/l Krishnan, the 4th generation barber, the mirrors were tilted for a better view for the customers. Right opposite that wall, there are 2 gorgeous ceramic basins without any damage of cracks over all these years.
There are electric hair trimmer and hair dryers ( Italian made) in the shop though rusty and old but still in working condition. There are few remaining chairs in the shop which look absolutely fine and strong, these chairs were imported from Japan, with the grey embossed letters “TOKYO – TAKEHANA CO – KURAMAE” on the metal frame of the foot rest, where Kuramae meaning “as strong as a sumo wrestler”.
Leaning against the back wall of the shop is a wooden cabinet with slots cut on the drawer fronts. These slots were used by each of the barbers to put in the daily takings from the customers.
Initially there was no electricity supply in the shop, so the cooling used to be provided with a Punkah Wallah to fan the customers before the ceiling fans were installed. Then in 1954, a ducted air-conditioning system was installed which was then replaced by 3 window air-conditioning units after 10 years.
The shop once employed 14 barbers and they used to live above the shop where they were provided with food as well. Their records were adequately kept and at the end of the month, each barber would be entitled to a salary depending on number of haircuts achieved, minus food and laundry allowance.
There is a framed group photograph (above) of all the barbers and the valued customers, hung from the top edge of the mirror and dated 1965. In the centre is Dr. Moreira who would normally ask for a barber to visit him in his office.
The salon has been given a notice from the property owner which means that there has to be end to its service after 84 memorable golden years.
This is a summary of the full story and a great selection of photos submitted by Peter Shaoming Wang. The full story and photographs may be found here.
On the left, we have Mr Thiru’s grandchildren. A traditional family they are seen saying their prayers. On the right, is Thiru (today) with his wife and granddaughter, Saathana.
Remember this shop? Here’s a clue: it’s at Market Street…..
If I’m not mistaken, I think the shop is still there – going strong after all these years! They specialized in Kain Pulikat, (the locals might know it as sarong) which was said to be made in India. They also sold Kain Batek (Batik).
Here’s another landmark – our local Indian barber, which still does business at Belfield Street. My late grandfather used to visit him every month or so; I don’t think grandpa went to any other hairdresser in his lifetime!
These two sketches are part of Amiruddin Mohd Daud’s collection – titled ‘Ipoh Old Town’. Amiruddin is a self-taught artist from Ipoh, and also a former student of ACS. Together with his wife, they are quite involved with charity and fund raising activities; 10% of the sale of his drawings will go to MAKNA (Malaysian Cancer Council).
For more information on Amiruddin and his works, you can contact him via email: email@example.com
Here we have the Chew Family, who used to live at No.5, Dulcieville Lane, Ipoh. This picture was probably taken between 1958-1960.
Back then, Dulcieville Lane used to be a housing area. In the 90s, the area was cleared and is now occupied by Parkson Ipoh Parade.
From what we were told, this family ran the famous Boon Pharmacy – we think Boon Pharmacy was at the Chung Thye Phin building at Belfield Street, but we may be wrong.
Anyone out there who could tell us more, do send us your comments.
We have here a postcard, from roughly the 1930s. At the top, right, it says “Belfield Street”.
The mystery here is this: on the far left of the picture, is a building that says ‘E.W. FMS Hotel’. Was this the location of the 1st FMS Bar and Restaurant?
Notice too that almost across the street from the said FMS building is Mikasa Photo Shop (which seems to be promoting a ‘cheap sale’). Along the same row of this FMS building is also Abdullah Cigarettes, Hock Hin & Co, and a shop lot owned by Labrooy (which probably was Caxton Press).
We hope our fans out there can shed some light on our mystery……..
We were once told by a senior resident of Ipoh, that during the Japanese Occupation the four corners of the fountain were ‘decorated’ with severed heads!
Also, later in 1957, the Town Council had a sign put up at the base – to prevent people from drying their laundry/chillies/and other such food stuff by the fountain!
Anybody out there have ‘other’ such memories of this fountain? I also wonder what’s become of the original marble fountain…….
This postcard shows an aerial view of Ipoh Old Town. We think the road meeting at the cross-junction are Jalan Panglima and Belfield Street. Among some of the famous landmarks which can be seen are the Birch Clock Tower, the Perak State Mosque, the Chung Thye Phin building, the Straits Trading Building and the Dramatist’s Hostel.
Think you can identify more? Do let us know!
This lovely lass is said to be seated at the balcony of an old shop house in Ipoh. We’re not sure where about this place is, so some help would be nice. According to the kind soul who gave us the picture, one of the buildings in the background is the HSBC bank – which is along Belfield Street, in Old Town.
Anyone out there with more ideas / thoughts ?
This little group of buildings in Belfield Street, Old Town, Ipoh is very reminiscent of the days when budding entrepreneurs bought a single plot of land and had their own ideas created into a shop-house. Individuality was the hallmark in those days not like the vast housing developments today with their rows and rows of identical little boxes.
Pity about the nasty, white, square and tasteless building to the left.