Birch Memorial Clock Tower is Over a Century Old

Although Ipoh is developing rapidly, its historical buildings which are icons of the city remain preserved. 

One such example is the Birch Memorial Clock Tower that’s over a century old.

It is located in front of the Perak State Mosque within the Ipoh Heritage Trail.

The building hailing from the British colonial era has been maintained by the Ipoh City Council (MBI) and is often the location of choice for tourists visiting the state.

According to history, the clock tower was built in 1909 in memory of the first British Resident of Perak named JWW Birch, who was assassinated by Lela Pandak Lam or better known as Datuk Maharaja Lela in Pasir Salak in 1875.

Built at a cost of 25,000 pound sterling, the clock was officiated by the son of JWW Birch, Sir Ernest Woodford Birch who was the eighth British Resident of Perak at the time. 

The four corners of the clock feature four terracotta figures representing the four principles of the British administration: loyalty, justice, patience and fortitude. 

Besides that, there are also paintings depicting the development of famous civilisations around the world on the four sides of the clock. 

To maintain the clock tower,  MBI has appointed experienced contractors to carry out maintenance works. 

Chief Assistant Director of Engineering (Works and Buildings) of MBI, Arif Mohd Zainudin explained that the clock was maintained by the local government ever since it was built. 

According to him, the clock is maintained periodically every month as it uses a mechanical system and has to be locked once every five days to ensure its continuous function.  

“MBI allocated a maintenance cost (via yearly contract) of RM49,900 a year.

“However, the cost of repair depends on the needs, such as repainting the tower at a cost of RM15,000 and replacing the mechanical tools. 

“Therefore, MBI will continue to carry out maintenance and repair works from time to time to preserve the historical value of the building for the generations to come,” he told Ipoh Echo. 


Rosli Mansor


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