The Take Off under British Intervention at the End of 19th Century

The population of Kuala Lumpur boomed to 25,000 in 1885, comparing the population of 2,000 in 1878. Continuing the rehabilitation after the fire, by 1887 there were 518 brick houses in the town, twice as many as in 1884.

Under the rule of Sir Swettenham, Kuala Lumpur had its own urban plan for the first time. The town was divided into four parts by arterial roads. The four parts contained their own function and activities, including the major commercial part, blacksmiths and other hazardous industries, opium and cooking shops and lastly the brothels.

Kuala Lumpur by mid 1880s was no doubt the regional mining and commercial centre. Nevertheless being the capital of Selangor state, it was still a small town, probably just more prosperous than other mining centresin Malaysia. To export tin, it took three days shipping the tin merely from Kuala Lumpur to Port Klang. In 1886, the first railway linking Kuala Lumpur and Klang. The three days travel was reduced to a few hours. By 1895, all the mining towns were well connected by railway.

The railway not only carried tin out, but also brought back other goods in. Ice factories, light industries, and European bakeries and eateries, as well as French hairdresser, hotels and banks. The improvement of urban planning and division provided a well supported hub for all these modern industries and services to take place in the town. Finally, in 1896, Kuala Lumpur became the capital of F.M.S.

2 Comments on “The Take Off under British Intervention at the End of 19th Century

  1. It seems that Kuala Lumpur experienced a huge change as the British took over the city planning for Yap Ah Loy. With population booming in 1885 suggests that the population would continue to grow over time. What was the British’s plan on residential uses in Kuala Lumpur? Is it also sectored by arterial roads? Or it is built remotely from the city center? Did these new industries in place of the houses destroyed by the fire cause any social discontent as people are forced to move away from the city center? How was the issue dealt?

  2. There is a severe lack of architectural/planning significance in the posts so far. You must go beyond a general history and into an architectural argument or thesis about the city based in a specific time. Please use maps/plans/photos to explain the relevance of this history to your overall argument.

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