Brief history of iconic Mughal structure

The FMS Survey Department back in the day.

CONSTRUCTION on the Federated Malay States (FMS) Survey office started in 1906 and was completed in 1910.

It became the headquarters of the survey department and Trigonometrical branch that was relocated from Taiping, Perak.

It was designed by British engineer Arthur Benison Hubback who was inspired by the Mughal-eclectic architecture styles famous in India during the early 19th century.

The main characteristic of the building is its row of columns spanning 122 metres (400 feet), and the two entrances, one at Jalan Raja and the other at Jalan Tun Perak, featuring two magnificent chhatris (dome-shaped pavilions).

The original structure also had a few mini domes on its roof top, which sadly have since been removed.

Today the dome facing Jalan Tun Perak still stands, while the tip of the spire, on the one facing Jalan Raja has collapsed.

The first surveyor general of the FMS Survey Department was Colonel Jackson followed by JP Harper and P.H. Bownet until 1945.

During the Japanese occupation of Malaya in 1941, according to old newspaper cuttings from the time, the building was used by Japanese soldiers to store food and goods.

In 1950, the building was renovated and converted into the Information Department.

In the 1980s, it underwent another refurbishment exercise to accommodate the sessions and federal courts.

In 2003, when the new Federal Court moved to Putrajaya, the building was left vacant.

In 2009, restoration work was carried out on its domes that were showing signs of decay.

It was listed as a national heritage site in 2012.

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