Saturday, October 11, 2008


My journey to the United Kingdom has brought me close to Glastonbury Abbey, the famous ruins where King Arthur and Lady Guinevere are rumoured to be resting. I am a great fan of mythology and theology, but I did not have time to go for a pilgrimage through Glastonbury and Salisbury Plains ... one of the 'sacred' places that holds a special place in my heart.

I did not bring back the legendary sword Excalibur but I brought back the story of the individual who also contributed much to our young nation then, Malaya. His name was aptly, Arthur as well! Brigadier General Arthur Benison Hubback, considered to be the first Architect to reach the position of Brigadier General in Great Britain and The British Colony!

So what do we plan to do in the coming future? We @THSH have plans of incorporating a Mini Museum coupled with activities in our Hotel in order to raise the awareness of our National Heritage, from Buildings to Natural Resources. Now let me test a little bit of your historical knowledge of Malaya .... how many buildings do you know that were designed by A. B. Hubback? I bet the number one building on your mind would be The Railway Buildings and Masjid Jamek. Ok. Good .... some more?

Below is the hand written copy of A.B. Hubbacks, "Candidate Separate Statement", that was submitted to The Association of The Royal Institute of British Architects (A.R.I.B.A) for his admittance as a Fellow.

Part of A. B. Hubback's personal handwritten submission.
For a bigger image, please click on the picture.
Documents courtesy of the Hubback Family, United Kingdom

Part of A. B. Hubback's personal handwritten submission.
For a bigger image, please click on the picture.
Documents courtesy of the Hubback Family, United Kingdom

Yes, amongst his most notable works which normally featured the famous neo-moorsih designs but not always just limited to that particular style, were;

  • The Railway Station, Kuala Lumpur
  • The Railway Station, Ipoh, Perak
  • The Railway Administrative Building, Kuala Lumpur
  • The Old City Hall, Kuala Lumpur (Now Panggung Bandaraya)
  • Ipoh Town Hall Building, Perak
  • The White House of Klang (Now Galeri Diraja Sultan Abdul Aziz, under the auspices of the Sultan of Selangor)
  • Jamek Mosque, Kuala Lumpur (Masjid Jamek)
  • Ubudiah Mosque, Kuala Kangsar, (Masjid Ubaidah, under the auspices of the Sultan of Perak).
  • State Secretariat Building, Seremban (Now State Library)
  • The Extensions of The Royal Selangor Club, Kuala Lumpur (What we see it as, today)
  • Carcosa Sri Negara, Kuala Lumpur
  • Numerous smaller buildings in Medan Pasar, Kuala Lumpur
  • Post Office, Kuala Lumpur
  • Kowloon Canton Terminus, Tsim Sha Shui, Hong Kong

These documents only cover A. B. Hubback's works up till 1909. His later works were not chronicled in these documents.

Since documentation in the 1890's in Malaya was in its infancy, there is much discussions amongst historians that there may have been influences from other notable gentlemen, like R.A.J. Bidwell, C. E. Spooner and of course A.C.A. Norman. Doesn't Norman's name sound familiar? Well if you don't know, he is credited to have designed the "Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad". However it is also noted that Hubback may have had a hand in it to.


Omar said...

Dear Sir,
I notice that some of the buildings in the list of Arthur's submission to RIBA has been blurred. I would like to request that the names of these buildings which have been blurred is revealed so that we can identify them.
Omar Ibrahim

Omar said...

Dear "Hubback Brothers Tribute", My earlier comment on 28 May refers. Thank you for your reply and hoping that the list of buildings will be made known soon. In the meantime, could you confirm that one of the buildings in Mr Hubback's RIBA submission is Malay Residential School Kuala Kangsar. I have some facts about this building that I would like to share.Omar Ibrahim

The Lab Ratz said...

Dear En. Omar,

Many thanks for your comments and I am sorry for not replying you earlier. I had been focusing on other projects at hand. Anyhow, please call me Lloyd and I have posted the article on Brig. General A. B. Hubback's R.I.B.A. submission as per your request. Good luck and happy hunting!

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