Archive for November, 2012

“The Straits Shophouse: Variations on a Theme”

111 Amoy Street, Singapore

An illustrated (and enlightening) talk by 

Julian Davison


22 November 2012 (Thursday)  8:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m.


The gallery,

Ground floor, Sekeping Kong Heng,

Jalan Bandar Timah (Leech Street), (Old Town) Ipoh.


Admission by donation:

PHS members RM10;

Non-PHS members RM15



Eddie 012-5108203 or

Hong 017-5061875 or


Seating limited – first come first served.

To avoid disappointment, book now!


This community programme is organised by Perak Heritage Society

With the co-operation of  Sekeping Kong Heng 

The synopsis

The shophouse is a characteristic feature of the town and city landscape of Malaysia and Singapore and yet for all its familiarity it is an architecture that is poorly understood in terms of its chronology and stylistic development.

‘The Straits Shophouse: Variations on a Theme’ is intended as a basic introduction and guide to the shophouse architecture of Singapore, Penang and Peninsula Malaysia, beginning with the origins of this type of building in Mainland China. It looks at the historical background that led to the introduction of this style of architecture not only to the Straits of Melaka but also to other countries in the region, and examines correspondences between the early shophouse in different parts of South East Asia — what might be termed the Nanyang style.

The talk then takes a look at the input of Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore, who is also often identified as the father of the Straits shophouse. It examines background influences that may have shaped Raffles’ thinking when he came to making plans for the development of Singapore town which were to ultimately affect the future development of shophouse not only on the island of Singapore, but throughout the Malay Peninsula. ‘Variations on a Theme’ then explores the subsequent evolution of the shophouse from the early nineteenth century through to the mid-twentieth century, taking in regional differences between the Singapore shophouse and shophouses in other parts of the Malay Peninsula. The talk concludes with a brief look at the ‘reintroduction’ of the shophouse back to Mainland China in the latter part of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a homecoming of sorts. The length of the presentation will be 50 minutes.

About Julian Davison 

Author and television presenter, Julian Davison, is the son of an architect and grew up in Singapore and Malaysia. He was educated in England and has a doctorate in social anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. He has edited or otherwise contributed to several reference books and scholarly works relating to the region, including books on Balinese and Indonesian architecture. For the past ten years he has been studying the architectural legacy of colonial-era Singapore: Black and White: the Singapore House 1898-1941, appeared in 2005, followed by Singapore Shophouse in 2010. He has also published two critically acclaimed collections of autobiographical reminiscences relating to his early life in Singapore and Malaya — One For The Road and An Eastern Port. Between 2003 and 2005, Davison presented Singapore TV’s popular ‘Site and Sound’ local history series; more recently he has hosted programmes for the Discovery and History Channels.


Perak Heritage Society

Persatuan Warisan Perak
(Reg. No. 1254) was registered with the Registrar of Societies in August, 2003.

Office and Postal Address:
85C, Jalan Sultan Abdul Jalil,
30300 IPOH, Perak, Malaysia.
(opposite the Syuen Hotel)

Fax: 05-253 5507


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