King’s Pavilion (or KP) was once a part of MCKK, and that in some years in the 1950s, boys moving into Prep School were those who had spent at least a year there. Although KP does not belong to MCKK anymore, it is an MCKK heritage nonetheless. The boys who had stayed in KP have continued to cherish fond memories of the mansion they had once loved as their home away from home. This was not just any ordinary hostel. They were subconsciously not indifferent to the many moments of historical significance of the place.
Sometime last year, a group of MCOBs and others through their professional affiliation had submitted an application to the National Heritage Department to recognise KP as a Heritage Building. Hence when it came to their notice that KP was being renovated indiscriminately without paying attention to the basic requirements of National Heritage Act 2005 a few weeks ago, they have to sounded the alarm bell.
ICOMOS Malaysia (International Council on Monuments and Sites) was quick to give its support and this resulted in bringing about a meeting between the National Heritage Department and the agency implementing the work. Two significant decisions were made, namely that JKR was asked to undertake the “rescue work” including covering up the exposed interior of the building with a temporary roof immediately; and secondly that National Heritage Department will gazette KP as a Heritage Building when restoration is done.
King’s Pavilion is 111 years old and is a significant heritage item. It was built in 1907 for the use of the British High Commissioners to the Federated Malay States whenever they were visiting Perak. The architect was Arthur Benison Hubback, who also designed the Big School and Prep School.
In 1948, the Malay Rulers had expressed their wishes that MCKK be expanded to admit more boys and directed that King’s Pavilion be taken over by MCKK to provide additional classrooms and dormitories for the boys. King’s Pavilion then became a part of MCKK for a decade from 1950 to 1960.
In 1961, King’s Pavilion was handed over to the Perak Education Department and became Government English Girls’ School and now known as SMK Raja Perempuan Kelsom. In exchange, the government built a new teaching block and a hostel block for MCKK’s sixth formers. Aptly named the Pavilion, the hostel accepted its first boarders in 1963.
The restoration work of KP before it could be gazetted a Heritage Building would require some assistance from MCOBA: the conservator needs to refer to records of the building for him to prepare drawings from which work will be undertaken. In this respect, any MCOB in possession of material, such a photographs, should come forward to make the contribution.
The Ministry of Education which owns the building is short of funds for this purpose and has to make a request to the appropriate government agency. In respect of this, MCOBA can play a role such as bringing up the matter to the attention of someone who could be of help.