B.M. Iverson Created Memories of Ipoh

B.M. Iverson was tempted with an offer to explore the Far East by his elder brother Werner, who had been a planter in Malaya since 1918. Ten years later, Iversen did come to Malaya and began his career in two architectural firms before starting his own firm in Ipoh – Iversen, van Smitteren & Partners – in 1936. Among the many famous landmark buildings which Iversen was responsible for (in Ipoh) were: the Grandstand at the Ipoh Race Course, five of the numerous cinema halls (Majestic, Rex, Ruby, Cathay and Lido) established by the Shaw Brothers, Jubilee Park, the Mercantile Bank, an art deco row of Fair Park Shophouses (now demolished), and the Lam Looking Bazaar. After setting up his own firm, he went on to design the Ipoh Swimming Club, the MCA Building and the Geological Survey Building in Ipoh. His daughter Ruth Iversen Rollitt recalls that before leaving Ipoh, her father “hired a car and drove through the country” to say “goodbye to every nook and cranny”. Both Iversen and his family had many fond memories of Ipoh. The Iversen family house (built by Iversen himself) was at No. 110, Tambun Road (now demolished). Ruth remembers the sitting room in the house, which had a large desk. It was at this desk that her father would work on his masterpieces while listening to classical music and opera.

Cathay Cinema, Ipoh. Built in 1956

Lido Cinema, Ipoh 1957, showing the inaugural movie, Trapeza

Rex Cinema, Ipoh 1948

Interior of Rex Cinema

Odeon Cinema on Brewster Road, originally designed by Iverson for Foo Yin Foong

Pre-war cinemas in Ipoh (above and below)

Jubilee Park

The old entrance to Jubilee Park

Source: www.ipohworld.org

Photos are taken from “Iversen: Architect of Ipoh and Modern Malaya” by Ruth Iversen Rollitt

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