One of the good
things about having visitors is that it inspires us to do more at the
weekend. Ipoh is home to some
interesting places to see and things to do.
The other day we decided to explore the famous ‘Kellie’s Castle’.
|Kellie, the Scot|
The ‘castle’ was
built by a Scot, William Kellie Smith as a home for his family. He had come to the British Colony of Malaya
in 1890, after some early successes he started a rubber plantation and a tin
mining industry. In 1903 he married a
young Scottish lady and brought her back to Malaya. They lived, initially, in a wooden bungalow
called Kellas House after his birthplace.
This was replaced with a new mansion in 1909.
|Kellie's Castle, the folly he built outside Ipoh|
|Kellas House, the second mansion, built in 1909|
|Traces of marble from the bathrooms are still visible|
William and his wife
Agnes were part of the colonial social scene and wanted very much to be
respected and seen as the leaders of local society. William loved cars and had 4, a huge and
expensive luxury at the time. In 1915
his son was born and William wanted to build him a house that would cement his
place in society.
|The 'castle' was built next to the old house (foundations for the original|
bungalow can still be seen).
The house was
something else, built next door to the Kellas House mansion it was to have
boasted a 6 story tower, a wine cellar with storage for 3,000 bottles, escape
tunnels, a family altar, an indoor tennis court
and the first ever lift in Malaya.
It was built in an eclectic fusion of styles combining Scottish and
Indian architecture. 70 men were brought
over from India to build the house, William allowed them to build a temple near
to the house where they erected a statue of William on the roof of their temple
as thanks. William died on a trip back
to Europe to buy the lift before the house could be completed and his wife and children left Malaya
never to return.
|The castle was never lived in but would have been furnished somewhat like this|
Kellas House started
to decay, these days the roof has fallen in and the walls have to be propped up
to prevent them from collapsing.
Vestiges of former comfort such as the tiles in the bathroom are still
visible. The ‘castle’ is in
much better condition but it was never completed. Many of the rooms are no more than bare
bricks while others have some plaster and finishing touches in place. The lift was never installed. The windows frame spectacular views over the
local countryside and it is possible to see the foundations of the original
wooden bungalow next to the remains of Kellas House.
|The rooms are unfinished, only bats, birds and plants live here|
The whole site is
incredibly melancholy and very sad. It
is said that William’s ghost walks the halls but of course he never lived in
the house and did not die there. If
there are ghosts they are more likely to be of the poor souls who are rumoured
to have been massacred in the tunnels under the property during the Japanese
occupation in the Second World War.
|The windows frame beautiful views across the countryside|
|The whole site is rather sombre |
All that aside the
‘castle’ is an interesting piece of local history and an enjoyable afternoon
out and about.
|Crowds of tourists enjoy the roof terrace designed to host elegant|
Click on the picture for more posts on life in Ipoh.
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