We know some of you out there love mysteries! Well, here’s one for you (see picture below).
Familiar? At first I thought it was the Shaik Adam Mosque (along Clayton Road, next to St Michael’s Institution)…..but then, could there be another building around the country with a similar design?
By the way, this picture was taken by the late Percival Moss. We thank his grandson Bernard for lending it to us!
Most of us are familiar with the Birch Clock Tower (along Post Office Road). In one of our previous posts, we were wondering what building seemed hidden in the background, far left of the picture (see below).
Well, the mystery has been solved – the building is none other than the old Court House!
Yes, this was what the court house looked like in the late 1800s. This court house was built in 1888 and remained a court house till 1909. The court moved to another location, but later settled at its present place – Club Road. This structure, however, remained there till the 1960s; it later paved way to the construction of the Perak State Mosque.
Perak has plenty of heritage buildings, many of which seem to be ignored by their owners or the government. But here is a wonderful heritage building for although not more than 100 years old it has just been restored by the National Heritage Department. Many will not believe that this building is a mosque for it is square, double-storey and without minarets. It may be the only one of its kind in Malaysia.
Kuala Dal mosque was built in 1936 by the village craftsman to an age old tradition and the upper storey was used for prayers while downstairs was a general purpose meeting room where apart from meetings, religous lessons were given to both adults and children and in the fasting month, the village would break fast there. The construction was funded by the 30th Sultan of Perak, Sultan Iskandar Shah who had seen the villagers praying in a dilapidated madrasah. It is very similar to the old palace, Istana Kenangan at Kuala Kangsar, woven bamboo in a diamond pattern as the photograph below shows. Sultan Iskandar Shah also built the new palace, Istana Iskandariah, in Kuala Kangsar.
It is painted in the colours of Perak, black, yellow and white. Local suggestions include the idea that it is going to be turned into a museum or gallery to add to the attractions of the area, but that may just be hearsay for today there is a notice advertising an Umrah meeting which indicates it may still be used for religous purposes, in addition to the second village mosque built in 1976. Today it is locked tightly shut. However it is a fact that back in the 1950’s and 60’s many Westerners travelling on the old road to/from Penang would stop here for a photo session. Let us hope that after such a splendid restoration, good use will be made of the building and encourage tourists to once again stop for that memorable picture to take home.
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!
I am sure that all Kinta Valley readers will recognise this bit of heritage that has become a potential horror so close to the Ipoh – Gopeng Trunk Road. Yes, it is Kampong Kepayang and the road is indeed the Gopeng Road up and down which traffic thunders daily. What is more these buildings and several others in the row are in danger of falling into the road and killing some passing motorist (shades of Fair Park’s recent tragedy).
Now this is not a new situation and the photograph was taken some two years ago, but passing the site yesterday and with the Fair Park incident in mind, I noticed that the situation was much the same as it was when the photograph was taken, although of course inevitable further deterioration has taken place.
This little Kampung, two rows of houses close to the road (and in which some families still live), with an old traditional mosque at one end, could have been a nice little heritage enclave . Making it such has been talked about many times by those in authority, but as usual nothing happened. Of course it would have needed to be pedestrianised with a by-pass and that would have been costly, but looking at how much gets spent on trivia, it would not have been wasted.
But what about today, clearly there are only two options – Save it or Destroy it. What do you think should be the way ahead? Whatever is decided it must be done quickly to prevent another disaster.