For quite some time already I have been playing with the idea of creating a blog post about Taiping heritage, comparing old photographs with recent pictures .
Problem was to find suitable old photographs. Searching the Internet did not give many results. Then I discovered the book Perak Postcards 1890s-1940s , compiled by Abdur Razzaq Lubis et al. and published by Areca Books . The book starts with a chapter about Taiping and contains numerous postcard pictures, suitable for my project. I have scanned several of these postcards and downloaded them to my iPad.
Recently I visited Taiping. Armed with my iPad, and in the company of a few friends, we went looking for the locations from where the postcard pictures were originally taken.
That was fun, but not always easy. We had to judge the camera position, the focal length used, etc. Landscape and townscape had changed, often dramatically
Here are the results. A scan of the book page is followed by an old postcard and a new picture.
Often the exact date of the originals can not be determined. When the postcard has been sent, sometimes the postage stamp can be read.
The Taiping chapter starts with a description of the town and a picture of the Central Market.
The Central Market was built in 1884/1885
The market is still in use, but there are plans to relocate it and renovate the old structure.
Hopefully the result will not become like Central Market in KL…:-(
This postcard was sent in 1927
The present situation. Note that a few houses to the left are still there.
The original Taiping Railway Station was built in 1885 on the site of the present King Edward VII School. Relocated to its present location at the end of the 19th century.
The postcard is undated
The old railway station.And the “new” one. No longer in use as a station, now a heritage site. The modern station is situated to the right._______________________________________________________________________
The prestigious King Edwards School, founded in 1883 and relocated to its present location in 1905
An undated postcard. The Angsana trees in front of the school, were planted in 1910 and are already fully grown here.This postcard has a caption on the reverse side with a date: 1929And here is the present situation. Note that two of the original Angsana trees are still standing, now more than 100 years old._______________________________________________________________________
St George’s Institution, another famous Taiping school, opened in 1915 by the Lasallian Brothers.
The postcard is undated, but the building was extended with two wings in 1928, so the picture must have been taken before that time.The present building. Now a government school, but still with a cross on top of the roof.
Opposite the original railway station a Rest House was built in 1894
The postcard is undated.The sad present situation. Until 2008 it has been a hotel, Lagenda, I have been staying there a few times. Since 2008 it is closed and slowly going down the drain. I have called it the “Shame of Taiping”. ________________________________________________________________________
The government offices, started in 1895 and opened in 1898
The postcard is undated. Present situation. It now houses the Larut-Matang District offcice. During daytime the space in front of the building is used as a parking lot. This picture was taken during the weekend. Note that in the center an extra (fake) gable has been added with the year 1897_______________________________________________________________________
The Perak museum, the first museum in the country, was started in 1883 in former government offices. It was expanded with the growing collection and completed in 1902
The postcard has been artificially colored and was used in 1912Present situation. Basically unchanged after more than a century!_______________________________________________________________________
The Standard Chartered Bank, opened in 1888.
The postcard is undated.Now the building is in use as the Public Library. The “messy” foreground makes a comparison complicated, but it is clear that the the building has been substantially enlarged.________________________________________________________________________
One of my favourite buildings in Taiping. Built as the State Engineer’s Residence in the early 1900s. Later used as the British Officer’s Mess
The postcard was used in 1911. In this picture it is still the residence of the State EngineerPresent situation. Note that center gable has been removed
In this postcard the building has already been transformed in the officer’s mess.
The central part has now been modified.There is hardly any difference between old and new!________________________________________________________________________
The iconic clock tower of Taiping, built in 1881 in wood, later rebuilt in brick (1900). Longtime in use as a police post
This is a real photo of the police clock tower on Kota Road. Taken late 1930sNote how the clock tower has “dwindled” in this recent picture, surrounded by large modern structures. There is at least still one original building left, try to find it.________________________________________________________________________
It is not easy to compare old and new in the Lake Gardens, landscape and trees have changed often beyond recognition.
Here are two postcards of one of the nice bridges.
A wooden footbridge in the Lake Gardens, with the Secretary to the Resident’s bungalow in the background. The card has been used in 1912 The present situation. The bungalow is no longer visible through the trees. Note the ugly metal railing of the bridgeAnother, later view of the same bridge And the present view________________________________________________________________________
The Perak Postcards book contains many more pictures of Taiping. In this post just a selection I have made to find out if it was possible to take new pictures and compare the two. I am pleased with the result.
One scanned postcard I was unable to identify. Here it is. It is supposed to be Main Road (Jalan Taming Sari) in the direction of the government offices. But where on Main Road? We showed the picture to several locals, but without success.
With Google I have found two pictures that are not in the Postcard Book. Both show the Clock Tower, which makes it a lot easier to identify the location of the photographer…:-)
Although it took us time to find the location from where the image below was taken. The images comes from the book Malaysia:A Pictorial History 1400 – 2004 and has as caption View of the church (sic!) and street scene, Taiping, c. 1890
The picture must have been taken from the 5th Cross Street (Jalan Lim Tee Hooi). Left and right you still can see two gabled houses, probably the same as in the old picture!!The last picture is more recent, dating from the 70s of the last century. For sale on Ebay (US $ 17.99)The present situation. The left side of Kota Road is hardly recognisable, the right side has not changed so much.
A friendly request for the readers of this post. If you have old pictures/postcards of Taiping and are willing to share, please contact me.