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Residence for High Commissioner, Kuala Kangsar (1906)

The large house perched on a hill, looking up the Perak River was used as the Residence for the High Commissioner to Federated Malay States when visiting Perak and to entertain official guests. It was initiated by Sir John Anderson (High Commissioner 1904-1911) who was responsible for its construction. 


Two buildings first occupied the same site on Bukit Che’ Midah. Che Midah or Long Hamidah binti Dato Sri Maharaja Lela Itam Muhammad Amin and her wealthy merchant husband Nakhoda Terang sold her land to F.M.S government. Her Rumah Kutai house was demolished in 1878 to make way for the double storey residence built for Sir Hugh Low (British Resident of Perak 1878-1889). The Old Residency was demolished in 1904 and replaced with a Victorian building with Tuscan columns and pilasters. Often referred to as the Government House, Kuala Kangsar and widely known as the King’s Pavilion from 1930s onwards.


Hubback's Official Post/Role: Federal P.W.D Assistant Architect

Year Designed: 1904

Year Completed: 1906


Construction Cost: $ 90,939 Straits Dollars.


Architectural Style: Neo Classical/Anglo Indian

Brief Architectural Description: Lawns and gardens admirably suited to the entertaining of guests.

Government House / King's Pavilion

The building served as a lodging house for Royalties, High Commissioners, Governors and special dignitaries when visiting Kuala Kangsar, among them Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin, during his first visit to Malaya in October 1931, and the Crown Prince and Princess of Belgium, Prince Leopold and Princess Astrid, in February 1932. It was the Venue for official government luncheon, dinner functions and entertainment in Kuala Kangsar. Official ceremonies i.e. award of medals, were held in the Drawing Room.


24 July 1933

Official dinner venue for the Durbar of Rulers. H.E Sir Cecil Clementi and Lady Clementi acted as host and hostess.



Japanese Army occupied the building during where several prisoners were rumoured to be tortured.



Used as Malay College Kuala Kangsar’s (M.C.K.K) extra classrooms and boarding.


August 1954-May 1955

Occupied temporarily by Mr. J.A.B Wilson (author Anthony Burgess)



Building used by the Government English Girls’ School Kuala Kangsar, today known as Sekolah Menengah Raja Perempuan Kelsom

Original Use: Lodging House

Original Building Type: Lodging House

Current Name: Sekolah Menengah Raja Perempuan Kelsom

Current Use: School

Current Building Use: Institution


Annual Report Federated Malay States Perak 1907

House for the High Commissioner was completed and finished. It commands a beautiful view of the Perak River and has already been occupied by His Excellency on two occasions.



Autobiography of Mr. J.A.B Wilson a.k.a author Anthony Burgess, House Masters of the King’s Pavilion August 1954-May 1955)


“There were good ghostly reasons for not wishing to stay in King’s Pavilion, but the real causes of our dissatisfaction with the place were more mundane. It was beautiful enough; an ample structure of Victorian age, and the view from its verandas was sumptuous. It looked down on great trees and gardens tended by thin Tamils drunk on todi; beyond was the confluence of rivers; beyond again the jungle and the mountains. But the gorgeousness of the vista was inadequate payment for the responsibility imposed on us.  We inhabited what was in effect a huge flat, cut off, but not cut off enough, from the classrooms and dormitories of the school.  At the beginning of the school year weeping Malay boys would arrive with their mothers and fathers, who would stay a night with them and try to stay more, and prepare to be turned into sophisticated collegians. They know no English, and this had to be taught by Mr. Gawthorne and Mrs. Vivekananda. When lessons were over they made much noise and pissed from their balcony into the inner court, visible while Lynne and I ate lunch. If I rallied at them, they ran away … I had to harangue these young boys in good idiomatic Malay and, though I was learning fast, I was not able to learn it fast enough.”

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