A History of Kuala Lumpur 1856-1939
In the middle of the nineteenth century, the Malay ruler controlling the upper Klang Valley began bringing Chinese labourers to mine for tin, and in 1857 Kuala Lumpur took shape as a settlement providing services to the tin miners. In 1895, when Britain's colonial government formed a federation embracing the states of Perak, Pahang, Negri Sembilan and Selangor, it made Kuala Lumpur the federal capital. J.M. Gullick's history of the city is set against this backdrop, but it is far more than an account of colonial administration. The book describes Kuala Lumpur's changing physical, cultural and social setting, and the emergence of new business undertakings, health regulations, and recreational facilities. Drawing on personal memoirs, archival sources and published accounts, it also shows how local residents responded to these changes, showing them to be variously caustic, cynical and blunt in their verdicts, but also deeply engaged. The result is an exceptionally lively book that offers candid assessments of private individuals and of government policies alike.
Dato' John M. Gullick (1916-2012) came to Malaya in September 1945 as a member of the post-war British Military Administration. Following restoration of civilian rule in April 1946, he joined the Malayan Civil Service and remained in the country until 1956. He subsequently worked for the Guthrie group of plantation companies, as a solicitor, and as a university lecturer. He also immersed himself in the study of Malaysian history and wrote numerous books and articles on the subject, many of them published by the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. 'A History of Kuala Lumpur 1856-1939' was first published in 2000, and is reprinted here without editorial changes.