Kellie’s Castle in Batu Gajah, Ipoh
Kellie’s Castle in Batu Gajah, Ipoh, is one of the most famous and important landmark in Perak state. Here was the prove of the history Ipoh, the prosperity of the rubber and tin generation. Local people call it Haunted House, and it was abandoned very long, recently the government was clean it up for traveling purpose.
When you go inside castle, you will be impressive with the high performance skill of the construction, the design and the structure was perfect. Not even the building, but the landscape surrounding will make you to feel claim down and relax, out of the city noise, only with the bird singing.
Kellie’s Castle or Kellas House was built in 1910 by William Kellie Smith. William Kellie Smith (1870 – 1926) was born in 1870 in Kellas, Moray Firth, Scotland. In 1890, at the age of 20, he arrived in Malaya as a Civil Engineer. He joined Charles Alma Baker’s survey firm, who had won concessions from the state government to clear 9000 hectares of forests in Batu Gajah, Perak. With the substantial profits made from his business venture with Baker, Smith bought 1000 acres of jungle land in the district of Kinta and started planting rubber trees and dabbled in the tin mining industry.
In time, he named his estate Kinta Kellas after his home farm “Easter Kellas” and went on to own the Kinta Kellas Tin Dredging Company as well. With his fortune made, he returned home to marry his Scottish sweetheart, Agnes, and brought her over to Malaysia in 1903. They had a daughter named Helen the next year.
In 1909 Smith built his first mansion, “Kellas House” and in 1915 with the birth of his son and heir Anthony he started planning for a huge castle with Scottish, Moorish and Indian architecture. He brought in 70 craftsmen from Madras India. All the bricks and marble were imported from India too. Included in the plan for the 6 storey tower was Malaya’s first elevator, an indoor tennis court and rooftop courtyard for entertaining.
During construction, a virulent strain of Spanish Flu struck his workmen. When his workmen approached him to build a temple nearby Smith readily agreed. In return for his generosity, they built a statue of him beside the other deities on the temple wall. It is believed that a tunnel was built to the temple from the castle.
Smith’s mansion is accessible from the main road through a bridge running across a stream. His house was so unique that it was even mentioned in the London Financier newspaper on 15 September 1911.
Kellie’s Castle was built with a lift, this lift would have been the first in Malaya. Unfortunately, in 1926, William traveled to bring his daughter Helen to visit Agnes and Anothony in Europe and to collect a lift he had commissioned for his castle. He stopped by Lisbon to finalise the term of his planting concessions in Portuguese Timor. However, while staying at the hotel, he caught a chill, developed pneumonia and passed away on 11 December with the age of 56. William was buried in the British Cemetery.
William’s wife was devastated and decided to move back to Scotland. In the end, Kellas House, later known as Kellie’s Folly or Kellie’s Castle, was sold to a British company called Harrisons and Crosfield.
History source from the Kellie’s Castle management
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