Iconic Ipoh Birch Memorial Clock Tower still going strong after 112 years

IPOH : The Birch Memorial Clock Tower, located in front of Ipoh State Mosque, is one of the iconic landmarks in Ipoh, Perak.

The tower was built in 1909 in memory of the first British Resident of Perak JWW Birch, who was assassinated in Pasir Salak in 1875 by followers of a local Malay chieftain, Datuk Maharajalela.

It is interesting to note that this memorial project was put into motion by the British Resident of Perak in 1905, EW Birch, the son of JWW Birch.

The memorial, built at a cost of $25,000, is described as a square decorated tower where each corner is a figure representing the four virtues of British administration, namely Loyalty, Justice, Patience and Fortitude.

The Birch Memorial Clock Tower was built in 1909 in memory of the first British Resident of Perak JWW Birch. — Picture by Farhan Najib
The Birch Memorial Clock Tower was built in 1909 in memory of the first British Resident of Perak JWW Birch. — Picture by Farhan Najib

However, little do people know that this historical century-old clock tower requires manual winding service every five days to keep it running. 

Time Recorder Sdn Bhd sales manager Choo Kok Leong, 55, who has been assigned by the Ipoh City Council to maintain the clock tower, said that the clock runs on the driving mechanics which is a weight that wraps around and is connected to the clock.

The century-old clock tower runs on driving mechanics. — Picture by Farhan Najib
The century-old clock tower runs on driving mechanics. — Picture by Farhan Najib

“The clock will operate until the weight reaches the bottom of the clock. Once it reaches down, it has to be wound up again after five days,” he told Malay Mail.

Choo said that his company has been doing the manual winding service for the past 15 years.

“We got the contract from the City Council in 2006 and since then we have been doing the maintenance and winding service for the clock tower.

“It is not a challenging job, but it requires certain skills to do the winding service. We have our staff who are capable of doing it. Usually it will only require a person to do the manual winding service,” he said. 

Choo also said the clock tower did not require major maintenance unless there was a defect or damage in the spare parts. 

Time Recorder Sdn Bhd sales manager, Ui Foo Ming maintaining the clock tower, which has to be manually wound every five days. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Time Recorder Sdn Bhd sales manager, Ui Foo Ming maintaining the clock tower, which has to be manually wound every five days. — Picture by Farhan Najib

He also said that his workers were committed to the manual winding service and never got bored of it.

“This clock tower is an icon to the city. It is good that we can preserve and take care of it. It’s a pleasure to do this job,” he added.

Time Recorder Sdn Bhd sales managers, Ui Foo Ming 53 (left) and Choo Kok Leong at the Birch Memorial Clock Tower, in Ipoh. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Time Recorder Sdn Bhd sales managers, Ui Foo Ming 53 (left) and Choo Kok Leong at the Birch Memorial Clock Tower, in Ipoh. — Picture by Farhan Najib

By : FARHAN NAJIB – MALAY MAIL

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