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Introducing Brigadier General
Arthur Benison Hubback
FMS Government Architect
Arthur Benison Hubback came to K.L as a young architect and surveyor in 1895 and remained for 19 years during which time he designed many sumptuous buildings. He met his wife Daisy Voules whose brothers were both in Malaya, and had two children during this time. He had always had a military interest and had voluntarily helped train the Federated Malay States Volunteer Rifles, so when World War One broke out in Europe, he returned to join the British Army. He was quickly promoted to Major, spent four years on the Somme, notorious for long and bloody battles, where he sustained serious injuries, which nearly killed him, but after recovery returned to fight again and was rewarded with a Distinguished Service Order Companion (D.S.O) for bravery.
At the end of the war he had planned to return to Malaya and continue his Architectural work, but the army had other ideas, promoted him to General and persuaded him to stay. He retired from the Army and some years later, at the outbreak of the Second World War, he tried to join up again, but was turned down because of his age. Instead he ran an organisation, looking after the families of soldiers, sailors and airmen.
My grandfather was a tall, pipe smoking man and to us children somewhat intimidating. Having spent four years in the trenches he was understandably rather distant and reserved. He had always had a great love of cricket, so enjoyed bowling cricket balls at me. I was allowed home from school a few days before he died, the first time I had seen anyone so close to death. It was 1948 and he was 77.
Dr. Peter Barbor,
Grandson of AB Hubback
1) Portrait, by Lafayette (Lafayette Ltd); half-plate film negative, 16 May 1927; NPG x41834 (c) National Portrait Gallery, London;
2) Architectural Impression of Jamek Mosque (c1908), with permission from Dr. Peter Barbor
3) 20th Century Impressions of British Malaya (1908)
Dr. Peter Barbor
Ar. Rosli Mohd Ali
Ar. Ahmad Najib Ariffin
Abdul Razak Abdul Aziz
Zaa' Eleena Hanif Julian
Ida Laila Ishak
Arkib Negara Malaysia
Heritage Output Lab
MIKL: Made in Kuala Lumpur
Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia HCC
Badan Warisan Malaysia
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The AB Hubback Project
The project aims to share certified research findings on architect Arthur Benison Hubback and his buildings, with hope to raise awareness about his designs and their present state.
We encourage readers and heritage enthusiasts to come forward with their research findings to complete The Trilby Touch Building List and affirm Hubback’s prominent role as an architect in the country during his era. Resource materials on Hubback and his work are difficult to obtain. A collective effort is very much needed in order to connect the missing pieces and this would greatly benefit our future generation when it comes to understanding our heritage buildings that have been the face of British Malaya for decades.
All displayed information are based on reliable sources. Kindly credit 'The AB Hubback Project' and include our web link when citing source of information. We appreciate your efforts in respecting the intellectual property rights of this site. Copyright for images are as stated.
The project is non-profitable, carried out by heritage building enthusiasts voluntarily since 2014, led by Mariana Isa. This project has a long way to go and will take some time to complete. The mobile version isn't quite there yet either. The team will only be able to update the website during free time. We welcome additional assistance in completing the project.
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