Independence Square ~ Places to Visit
in Kuala Lumpur
Dataran Merdeka (Merdeka Or Independence Square) was the place where on midnight of August 31, 1957 where the Union Jack was lowered for the last time and Malayan flag (Jalur Gemilang) was hoisted for the first time in the country's history upon gaining independence from the British rule.
Now, the Square is a popular venue
for various other events such as open air concerts, carnivals, starting/finishing
point for marathons etc.
Before there was a club everybody met everybody at Maynards, which was the only European shop in Kuala Lumpur Maynards, a pharmaceutical chemist but it also sold liquor and a wide range of other things. Ladies went shopping in the confidence of meeting friends and lingering to chat.
Initially in1892 it had 140 members and was but a small wooden building with an attap roof at near the north eastern corner of the padang and serve as a cricket as well as a social club.
It was then replaced
by a two-storey structure in 1890 on the west side of the padang, the
present site of the club.
The club was nicknamed "The Spotted Dog" as two Dalmatians belonging to the wife of one of the club founders were left to guard the entrance of the club whenever they visited the club. The club is also simply referred to as "The Dog".
The building was later redesigned by architect Arthur Benison Hubback (who was notably credited for the design of the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station) and rebuilt in 1910, with two additional wings on either side of the main building and a Mock Tudor styling.
Over the years, the club's membership increased and had also begun to include high-ranking Malaysian civil servants: judges, lawyers and important people in society. The club's proximity to the High Courts at the other side of Dataran Merdeka has also made the club a suitable meeting place for the legal fraternity.
The field or padang affront the Royal
Selangor Club, now known as Dataran Merdeka, had long belonged to the club
before the was taken back by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall in 1987 to be used
specifically for events organised by City Hall.
he gleaming copper domes of the Abdul Samad Building are topped by a 43 meter clock tower. The central tower holds a clock that was first heard during Queen Victoria's birthday parade in 1897.
This is surmounted by a copper dome that is in turn
topped by a copper chatri. Two circular towers, housing stairways leading to
the upper floor, flank the central tower.
However, it is recognised that although AC Norman drew the ground plan, it was RAJ Bidwell (chief draughtsman) who did the elevation based on a Mohammedans' (sic) style as instructed by CE Spooner. This 'Mohammedan' architecture, also known as 'Neo-Saracen', came from India where several major buildings had been built in this style.
It was to be the largest building of its day, constructed
entirely of brick and what appears to be cream stone is actually plaster
covered brick. The construction began in 1894 and was completed in 1897 at a
cost of 152,000 Straits Dollars.
100 Metre Flag Pole
The fountain was originally to be erected in Market Square, however, the police objected on grounds that it would obstruct the flow of traffic and suggested the present site at the corner of the then Parade Ground.
There's also the ARCH gift shop selling a collection of
locally made gifts and soon visitors will be able to view a 40ft x 60ft
scaled model of greater KL supported with video footage on the past, present
and future developments of the city.
St. Mary's Cathedral
This wooden church which cost $1,363 to build, could accommodate up to 95 people at full capacity, was the centre of worship and spiritual life of the small group of Anglicans in and around Kuala Lumpur at that time.
Among these early parishioners were Frank Swettenham, the Resident General of the Federated Malay States or FMS, and William Treacher, the British Resident of Selango
The congregation grew steadily, and in 1893 it was decided to build a new and larger church. A church building fund appeal was launched. It raised $5,168 and the governor of the straits settlement, Sir Cecil C. Smith, agreed that the government of Selangor would provide the remaining $5000 needed for the construction of the new church.
Interestingly, there were a number of non Christian who responded to the appeal. Prominent among them were Yap Kwan Seng, The Captain China, Who donated a significant sum of $1000. In 1895 the Church was consecrated by Bishop Hose. Pipe organ built by the famous 19th century organ maker, Henry Willis, was installed. Henry Willis also made organs for St. Paul's Cathedral and the Royal Albert Hall. The Church was upgraded to St Marys Cathedral with the appointment of a bishop for West Malaysia.
PLACES & SIGHTSEEING ~ KL CITY CENTRE
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