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Taiping Clubs

With the significant growth of European community in Taiping and other immigrants such as Chinese, Indians, Arabians and Indonesians. The demand for a proper sport and recreation clubs are getting higher, therefore these are the clubs that established during 1880s.



Perak Club (Old Club)

The Perak Club was the premier social institution of Taiping and was the senior club in the Malay States. For its formation in 1881, and its subsequent progress, Colonel Robert Sandilands Frowd Walker was in large measure responsible. Among the early patrons were Sir Hugh Low, formerly British Resident of Perak, Mr. William Edward Maxwell, Assistant Resident, and Major Paul Swinburne. The capacious club-house was erected by the Government, and is still kept in repair by the Public Works Department. In front of the building is an admirable playing-field, which is used for cricket, football, hockey, and tennis. The athletics section of the club is known as the Cricket and Recreation Club, and is the leading sporting club of the Federated Malay States. It was the father of cricket and football in the peninsula, and the first inter-State matches in Malaya were arranged by it. Practically every Europeans resident of Larut, Matang, Krian, and Upper Perak is a member of the club, and as is usual with most Federated Malay States clubs, ladies admitted to its privileges gratis. The Honourable Mr. Ernest Woodford Birch, C.M.G., British Resident of Perak, is the president, and Mr. W. Sayers is the Honorable secretary and treasurer. The committee consists of Messrs. Mr. Henry Bernard Collinge (Inspector of Schools for Perak), B.W.E. Dunsford, N. Grenier, P. Moss, Mr. Arthur Bligh Stephens (Deputy Conservator of Forests, Perak) , Arthur Blennerhasset Voules (Superintendent of the Convict Establishment), and C. Goldham.

New Club

The leading social institution in the capital of Perak is the New Club, and here the representative European population of the district working in military, civil servants and planters – assemble. The club was formed in 1892. the chief promoters of it were the late Dr. Shepherd and Messrs. Lefroy, Mais, Gray, and Aylesbury. During the first year of its existence the club house was sold to the Sultan of Perak, and the present spacious structure, built on a site granted by the Perak Government and H.M. Sultan Sir Idris Shah from plans prepared by Mr. Lefroy in 1893, was opened in the following year. The building scheme was financed by the issue of debentures to the value of 10,000 dollars, nearly the whole of which has now been paid off. The clubhouse overlooks the cricket and football grounds, and affords a magnificent view of the Taiping Hills. It contains airy and well furnished reading billiard and card rooms, a large dining room, and five residential chambers. As a customary in the Federated Malay States, ladies are privileged to use the reading room. To the rear of the club building there is a croquet ground. The Taiping Golf Club has its headquarters in the New Club house. The membership numbers 270. Much of its success of the institution is due to the efforts of Mr. Tate, who was the secretary until 1903. the affairs of the club are managed by a committee consisting of Colonel Walker, C.M.G., president and hon. Secretary, Major Arthur Saunders Vanrenen (Second-in-Command Malay States Guides), and Messrs. Stephens, Barnard, Mr. Abraham Hale (District Officer of Larut and Krian), Tate, Voules, and Mr. Edward Lauder-Watson (rubber planter).

List of New Club's President

1894 - 1898 H.A.W. Aylesbury

1898 - 1900 A.R. Venning

1901 - 1902 F.St. G. Caulfeild

1903 - 1907 Colonel R.S.F. Walker

1908 - 1909 H.C.N. Barnard

1909 - 1910 Sir E.W. Birch

1910 - 1911 B.C.N. Knight

1911 - 1912 Lt. Col. W.P. Hume

1912 - 1913 W.H. Tate

1913 - 1914 D.S.C.G. Fox

1914 - 1915 R.G. Watson

1915 - 1916 T.C. Fleming

1916 - 1918 R.G. Watson

1918 - 1919 V. Hill

1919 - 1920 C.W.H. Cochrane

1920 - 1921 W.A. Wilkinson

1921 - 1922 J.N. Sheffield

1922 - 1923 F.W. Mager

1923 - 1924 D.G.B. McHutchison

1924 - 1926 T.S. Adams

1926 - 1927 H.G. Baxter

1927 - 1928 L.C. Pearson

1928 - 1929 Major W.A.D. Edwardes

1929 - 1930 S.B. Palmer

1930 - 1931 J.N. Sheffield

1931 - 1935 S.B. Palmer

1935 - 1936 E.T. Jacques

1936 - 1939 S.B. Palmer

1939 - 1940 H.L.H. Tate

1940 - 1941 S.B. Palmer

1940 - 1945 (World War II)

1945 - 1946 C.N. Wood

1946 - O.T. Lovett

Perak Turf Club

The Perak Turf Club was established in 1884, it was the first exclusive turf club ever built in Perak. The establishment of the Perak Turf Club at Taiping was the idea of Sir Frank Swettenham, who has strong passion with horse racing. The new race course was located at Waterfall Road (later changed its name to Race Course Road) near the Lake Gardens. The club’s frequent patrons were, Sir Ernest Woodford Birch (when he was the British Resident of Perak), Mr. W.H. Tate and Mr. Chung Thye Yong. Mr. Chung Thye Yong hired a European horse trainer to in-charge of his horses. It was reported that Mr. Chung spent roughly $12000 annual expenditure for maintaining his racing stables at Taiping. Normally the club has not much activities held throughout the year. It only held ordinary racing in the Federated Malay States, where the major tournaments held at Penang, Selangor or Singapore. In 1906, it has the membership of about 250. there were five members formed the club’s committee which comprised with, Sir E.W. Birch as the President of the Club, and Mr. W.H. Tate as the Secretary besides representing the club on the committee of the Selangor Racing Association, to which association the club was affiliated early in 1896 and three others committee members. H.R.H. Sultan of Perak and the British Resident were Honourable Members and patrons of the club. The club meeting usually took place in August, where the date later fixed by the committee members. The present course at Waterfall Road, Taiping, which is 7 furlongs yards in length. There was an old course, situated about three miles away from Taiping, that the racing, as known at the present day, was cradled. At that time, 1886, Burma ponies provided most of the racing and the meetings were primarily as social functions. Mr. P.W. Gleeson acts as manager of the lotteries and as auctioneer in the selling sweepstakes at the Perak Turf Club. The turf club was the only club that attracted people of all classes, especially the Chinese to mingle around, because of the sweepstakes and lotteries, as they preferred to gamble as their favourite past time. Sir E.W. Birch was one of the enthusiasts with horse racing. He would travel as far to the Selangor Turf Club at Kuala Lumpur, or the Penang Turf Club or the Singapore Turf Club just to join the major tournament. Without a doubt he was one the crucial men developed the interest in horse racing in the Federated Malay States. In 1934, when the importance of Taiping has gradually declined and losing to Ipoh, the club was shifted to Ipoh still bearing the same name.

Taiping Swimming Club

The club was formed in 1914, the club was housed in same building at the New Club. At the beginning, the club’s activities were carried out at the waterfall site near the foothill of Maxwell Hill. However, in 1929 a swimming pool was built near the Maxwell Hill to accommodate the growth of its members.

Perak Golf Club

The Perak Golf Club was established in 1894 and housed at the New Club buildings. The golf club claimed the first golf club formed in Federated Malay States. This nine-hole golf course was reserved only for the exclusive New Club members. The golf field was originally located near the Taiping Goal. It was the finest golf field ever established in the Federated Malay States. The establishment of the golf club was much devoted to Colonel Robert Sandilands Frowd Walker.

Ladies’ Rifle Association

It is not surprising that in a country like the Federated Malay States, where shooting is one of the most popular sports, ladies should share the enthusiasm for it. At a meeting held at the house of Mrs. Douglas (wife of the Deputy Commissioner of police in Perak, Mr. William Willes Douglas) in April 1903, the fifteen ladies present formed the Perak Ladies’ Rifle Association. Lady Rodger, wife of Sir John Pickersgill Rodger who was the then British Resident of Perak, became the first President, and Mrs. Douglas the first Honourable Secretary and Treasurer Lieutenant-Colonel Walker, kindly placed the range of the Malay States Guides at the disposal of the Association, and gave the members a series of lectures on rifle-shooting. Rook rifles were first used, but now many of the ladies have become expert with the .303 inch service rifle at 150 and 200 yards. In a recent match with the officers of the Malay States Guides the Perak ladies’ team lost by only one point, while they defeated the Perak Rifle Association (gentlemen) by fourteen points. Mrs. Vanrenen (wife of Major A.S. Vanrennen) was the crack shot of the association and won the challenge trophy in 1907. Since the club was formed fifty six members have joined, but as they always “coming and going” it is seldom that the club musters more than twenty members on the range. “At Homes” are held periodically, when pair shooting, surprise target, and vanishing target competitions are held. The members recently expressed their appreciation of the services of Mrs. Douglas in forming the club by presenting her with a suitably engraved cup. The President of the association is Mrs. Birch, the Vice-president Mrs. W.H. Tate and the Hon. Sec. and Treasurer Mrs. J.P. Harper

Taiping Sikh Club

Taiping Recreation Club

Istana Club

Muslim Club

Perak Rifle Association (gentlemen)

Chinese Recreation Club


  • Swettenham, Sir Frank, British Malaya: An Account of the Origin and Progress of British Influence in Malaya, London, (1955)
  • Wright, Arnold, Twentieth Century Impressions of British Malaya, London (1908)
  • Keane, Augustus Henry, A Geography of the Malay Peninsula, Indo-China, the Eastern Archipelago, the Philippines, and New Guinea, (1892)
  • Harrison, C.W., An Illustrated Guide to the Federated Malay States (1910)
  • Smith, D. Warres, European Settlements in the Far East (1900)
  • Japan. Tetsud-osh-o, An official guide to eastern Asia v.5 1920
  • Federated Malay States Railways Pamphlet (1914)
  • Eugene Khoo, 2007 A History of Taiping, Malaysia


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