Contractors

Ang Seng

Contractor

b.1855 - d.8 April 1918

Born in Amoy, China, Ang Seng/Ang Kim Seng arrived in Kuala Lumpur circa 1883. Thirty years in Kuala Lumpur saw him completing a number of government schemes developed by the Public Works Department and the Railways Department, making a name for himself as Kuala Lumpur’s biggest building contractor. He had an address at No. 129 High Street in 1904, but eventually settled down at Brickfields Road (Jalan Ang Seng in that neighbourhood today commemorates him).

 

The leader of the Hokkien community was described as a cheerful and charitable personality. He passed away on 8 April 1918 at his Brickfields residence. His funeral procession was largely attended, headed by 5 Taoist priests, followed by 50 men carrying his bier and 400 rickshaws. Ang Seng was buried at the Hokkien cemetery at Petaling Hill.

 

The following buildings are among those he constructed, some still standing as Kuala Lumpur’s most prominent landmarks:

 

"...I wish to hear Ang Seng with the utmost possible fairness. He is an enterprising and straightforward business man....."
Henry Conway Belfield, 1 April1909

 

Sources:

i. Mariana Isa & Maganjeet Kaur, Kuala Lumpur Street Names, Marshall Cavendish, 2015, p37.

ii. Malaya Tribune, 13 April 1918, p4, Local and General

iii. The Straits Times, 16 April 1918, p6, Untitled

iv. ANM 19570127829, Completion of New Post Office, on his tender for:

Dunstan Alfred Aeria.

Photograph courtesy of his descendant,

Brandon Anthony Scully.

Dunstan Alfred Aeria

Assistant Engineer, Selangor Railway Department (1893-1898); Contractor

b. 21 October 1870 - d.1925

 

Dunstan A. Aeria, son of Cecil Clement Aeria and Paulin Aeria, came from a well-known Eurasian family from Penang. Among his brothers were F.L Aeria, a Justice of Peace in Penang, and Dr. W. Aeria who was based in Waterloo Street, Singapore. Dunstan was a student at St. Xavier’s Institution in Penang before enrolling at Raffles Institution in Singapore. He won a Queen’s Scholarship and was given the opportunity to further his studies in Europe.

 

Upon his return, he joined the Selangor Railway Department on 4 January 1893 as an Assistant Engineer, mainly in charge of civil works for the Tanjong Malim extension. Dunstan however chose to resign from government service in September 1898 to venture into contracting and was reported to be somewhat involved in the construction of the Government Printing Office, Carcosa, Chief Secretary’s Residence, Masjid Jamek, Convent and the Paterson, Simon & Co. building in Kuala Lumpur (please note that we’ve not been able to confirm the capacity of his involvement).

 

In 1913, he established an office at Klyne Street, at the corner of Courts of Justice Road before moving to Muar in 1918 after securing a contract to build the Muar Government buildings. His stay in Muar lasted until 1922, as he then moved to MacKenzie Road in Singapore, obtaining work with the Public Works Department and eventually assuming a role as the Superintendent of Works for Messr. Gammon & Co

 

As a Contractor, he won the tenders to build two buildings designed by AB Hubback, which are the British Residency in Seremban and the FMS Survey Office in Kuala Lumpur

Sources:

i. The Straits Times, 8 May 1912, p6, Social and Personal

ii. The Straits Times, 28 May 1913, p11, The Federal Capital

iii. The Straits Times, 23 May 1918, p6, Untitled

iv. The Straits Times, 2 May 1925, p10, The Late Mr. D.A. Aeria

v. ANM 19570079905, Forwards certificate of D.A. Aeria for approval

No photograph available

William Nicholas

d.1925

Clerk of Works, Selangor Public Works Department (1889-c.1896); Contractor

 

W. Nicholas joined the Selangor Public Works Department in 1889, serving as a Clerk of Work at the Kuala Lumpur branch. He was a popular figure and very much the fore in Kuala Lumpur’s sporting and social life. Nicholas then ventured into private practice, partnering with Walsh and Mitchell in securing what was one of the biggest contracts in the Peninsula – the downward sections of the road from the Gap to Raub in 1896. Nicholas and Walsh then completed the 5th and 6th section of the Pahang Trunk Road, which AB Hubback was tasked to supervise in February 1897. Perhaps this was when they established a closer working relationship as AB Hubback resigned from government service in December that year and proceeded to open a brick factory in Kerling with Nicholas. As contractors, they successfully secured, among others, the contract for the erection of bridges on the Tanjung Malim Railway Extension and to supply bricks to the Railway Department for the Kajang section of the Seremban Railway extension. The two of them even submitted an entry for Singapore’s Town Hall design competition but was however unsuccessful.

Their partnership only lasted till 1901, with Hubback returning to government service as the Assistant Architect of FMS PWD. Nicholas continued to build a reputation as a leading road and building contractor, before retiring in 1909-1910, right before the First World War. He passed away on 4 November 1925 in Bedford, United Kingdom.

 

Among the buildings he constructed in Kuala Lumpur were:

Sources:

i. Malaya Tribune, 24 October 1922, p4, Untitled

ii. The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser, 16 November 1922, Untitled

iii. The Singapore Free press, 18 December 1925, p15, Untitled

iv. The Selangor Journal 1894, p299

v. Selangor PWD 1893 Annual Report