Everybody knew that in Taiping there are lots of ‘First’ institutions that start to operate and exist in Perak, the Federated Malay States or even Malaysia. We mentioned them as institution because these ‘First’ are not only buildings and structures but vary from newspapers, schools, associations and agencies.
All of these ‘First’ are available in Taiping due to that Taiping has once on Malaysia’s history line became the administrative center for the Perak state (through out the years), the British (during the colonial era), Federated Malay States (pre-independence of Malaysia) and Japan (during the Japanese Occupation WWII).
Some of these ‘First’ are still available but many has ruined due to time. Well, whatever it is, these are the ‘First’ that were established here in Taiping…
- Magistrate Court It was set up by Capt. T.C.S. Speedy, who was also the magistrate. Initially was built from timber with attap roof and situated at the same place where the present court stands.
- Prison (Gaol) 
It was set up by Capt. T.C.S. Speedy. Initially was a timber building with fencing all around. The location was the same as then and today.
- Police Force Team and Police Station 
It was built initially from timber with attap roof. By the year 1886 it has been replaced with a good looking wooden building.
- Railways line and railway station 
The first railway line was between Taiping and Kuala Sepetang (Port Weld). The construction of the first railway line began from the grounds of the present King Edward School which became the first railway station in the country. It was later shifted to the present site in 1900. The old starting line has been closed since 1950s.
- Private and Government Hospital 
The first private hospital was called Yeng Wah Hospital, which was set up by the Chinese Mining Community. The location of this hospital is at the Hua Lian Kindergarten (behind Indian Mosque). The first government hospital was called the Prison and Police Hospitals that was opened and run by Thomas Prendergast, a qualified 'Apothecary'.
- European Club (Taiping New Club) 
Initially was built as an attap hut. The club is then being renamed as the New Club in 1894. It is situated at the entrance of Lake Garden.
- Museum 
It was established in 1883 in the former government office. Its building was developed then in stages from 1885 till 1903. When it was opened, the first curator was Leonard Wray, who had put up the much admired natural history and ethnological collections. Today, the museum has vast collections of exhibit to be seen.
- The Esplanade (An open ground) 
It was first initiated by Colonel Robert S.F. Walker, as he was the Commandant of the Police and Military Force. It was used for functions like marching and processions.
- British Residency 
The first British residency was a huge kampung house at Matang. It was occupied by the first Assistant Resident was Captain T.C.S. Speedy that was employed by Menteri Ngah Ibrahim the then Menteri of Larut. He then moved to the new residence in Bukit Jelutung where the housed the District’s Officer’s house. The other house available was located at Casuarina Inn near the Lake Gardens where only the stilts remain.
- Hill Resort 
Formerly known as Maxwell Hills, it was established by William E. Maxwell when he was the British Resident. The hills resort is at 1250 meters above sea level where its temperature varies from 15 Celsius to 25 Celsius during the day. In the early years, British officers and wives were carried up to the hills using sedan chairs or rattan baskets by Indian workers. The hill resort was renamed in 1978 to Bukit Larut which means Larut Hill.
- Rest House 
It was built as a stopover places for visitors who came to Taiping in its early years. The Rest House is located in front of the King Edward School at Station Road. It still maintains its original wooden building.
- Lake Garden 
Since Taiping was filled with lots of abandoned tin mine ponds, one man had the idea make used of them. That man was again Colonel E.S.F Walker. He restored them to becoming such wonderful landscapes that remains till today and enjoyed by all.
- Clock Tower 
Located at Kota Road, it was the first clock tower in the Malay States which built in 1890. There was a bell before but was said to bring bad luck to the Chinese business community. The tower has been a police and fire station before. Now it housed the Taiping Information Centre.
- Central Market 
The Taiping Market Building consists of two buildings, the Old Market (at the Main Road) built in 1884 and the New Market (at Kota Road) built in 1885. It is possibly the largest non-indigenous historic timber structure in the country and also a best preserved example of a major 19th century market building.
- Government Offices Building 
The building was opened in 1892 to accommodate Council Chamber, Offices for the Secretariat, Treasury, Audit, Education and Forest Departments. Today it is the premise of the Larut Matang District Office.
- Post and Telegraph Office 
This office was built in 1884 at the far end of the Barrack Road. It was built from timber. In the early years, the post from Taiping was carried by a relay of runners and ponies. Later it has become the telegraph office.
- Golf Course 
Opened in 1894, the first 9 holes golf course was in the Lake Gardens. Exclusively for the high ranking British Officers, and later only the Europeans were allowed to play the game. The Asians played golf only after the Japanese War period.
- Horse Racing Turf Club 
Established in 1885, the old race course is situated near Klian Pauh. It is now being taken over by school buildings.
- Masjid Tengku Menteri 
Located near Ngah Ibrahim’s Fort, the mosque was built in 1870 by him to cater the communities who stayed in the vicinity of the fort area. Ngah Ibrahim also built the Kota Mosque in 1897 which is situated in the middle of Taiping town.
- Anglican Church 
The church is located at the Main Road was established in 1886. It was designed by George Lefroy. This church is also known as the All Saints Church.
- Open tin mining 
The tin residue was discovered accidentally by Long Jaafar. He started a small mining area which was later being commercialized by his son Ngah Ibrahim throughout Taiping.
- Public Swimming Pool 
The first public swimming pool started to operate in 1870. It is called Coronation Pool or Kolam Kemahkotaan. It is located at the foothill of Bukit Larut and the only swimming pool in Malaysia which is filled with cool stream water.
- Artillery warehouse 
The warehouse is called Fort Carnavon was established in 1870. It is located just beside the Taiping Prison complex. It used to store ammunition supply used by the army.
- Girl’s School 
The Lady Treacher Girl’s School was the first all girl’s school in the Malay States. It was established by the Perak Government in 1889. The Methodists later took over the school and renamed it after the then British Resident’s wife. During the Japanese Occupation, the school building was used as the Japanese army barracks.
- The Central School 
Established in 1883, it was the first English school in the Federated Malay States. In 1905, the school was renamed to King Edward VII School when the new building was opened. It was also use as the base for garrison commander during the Japanese Occupation.
- Malay Newspaper 
The first issue of the Seri Perak was published in June 1893. The publisher was Syed Abdul Hassan Ibnay, who was from India.
- English Newspaper 
The first English newspaper was published in 1890. It was named Perak Pioneer. It was a British Residents controlled media.
- Tamil Newspaper 
The name of the first Tamil newspaper was Perak Vethamani, firstly published in 1890. The publisher was By Syed Adbul Ibnay Burhan, who was from India.
- The Malay States Guides 
The first Malay States Guides were established in 1896 under the commandant Colonel R.S.F. Walker. The force was about 500 men, mostly the Sikhs, the Pathans, and north Indians. The military Barracks were at the main road where the present Malay Regiment is stationed.
- Ceylon Association 
The association was established in 1901 by members who were Ceylonese that worked in the railways and government departments. Initially it was situated at Barrack Road, but later moved to the present site at Station Road.
- Chinese Associations 
History has it the associations were formed according to their clan’s base from China. The first known was The Khoo Kongsi, established in 1858 in the Tupai-Coronation roads junction. The Tseng Lung Association was then established in 1887. The Hokkien Association was established in 1918.
- Indian Association 
The association was established in 1894 by founder member Shaik Nunammer Shah. The members were from India irrespective of their religion.
- Khalsa Diwan (Punjabi Association) 
The Khalsa Diwan was established in 1903 by members which were Sikhs that were in the Malay States Guides. Its objective is to improve the social position of Sikhs in Malaya.
- Teachers College 
This college was opened in 1898 as a training centre for teachers from Perak and Selangor. One of its early training places was at Matang.
- Recreation Park (Coronation Park) 
Located at the Theatre Road, the park was opened in 1920. The Run Run Shaw of the Shaw Brothers came and ran movie reels to entertain the miners back then. It was renamed to Coronation Park to commemorate King George V coronation.
- Taiping Airfield 
Established in 1930, the airfield was there to cater air trips from and to Taiping. During the Japanese War, it was fully developed and being used fully. Among those who had landed here before was President Sukarno and his Vice-President Dr. Mohamad Hatta in 1945. Other than that was 'The Freedom Fighter of India, Subash Chandra Bose in 1944.
- Public Library 
In its earlier construction in 1882, it was referred as “an excellent Reading and Recreation Room for Officers of Government”. The where it is now was one the premise of Charted Bank of India, Australia and China.
Our list is up to here. However, we believe there are more to it. If you have more, feel free to comment in. Thanks.