The clock tower, with a 1.95m-diameter bell, was erected in 1909 in memory of James WW Birch, Perak’s first British Resident. Birch was murdered in 1875 at Pasir Salak by local Malay chiefs. A frieze featuring Moses, Buddha, Shakespeare and Charles Darwin was intended to illustrate the growth of civilisation. Look for the ghostly outline of a figure representing Mohammed, long ago painted over.
The road on which this memorial stands has been renamed for one of Birch’s assassins. Today they are considered nationalists, while Birch is remembered for his disregard of local custom.