QuickCheck: Is Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur really named after bricks?

How it all started: A photo of Brickfields in 1901.

KNOWN as Little India, Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur is one of the most colourful places in the capital, rich with culture and thriving businesses.

Does the origin of its name have anything to do with bricks?



Yes, the area was once synonymous with good quality bricks, lending from a flourishing brick-making industry there in the past.

The story behind Brickfields’ name goes all the way back to 1881.

After a fire razed Kuala Lumpur, the town was hit with another round of disasters – floods.

"These successive events destroyed the town's structures of wood and atap (thatched) roofs.

"In response, Frank Swettenham, the British Resident of Selangor, ordered buildings to be constructed of bricks and tiles.

"The city’s Kapitan, Yap Ah Loy, then bought a stretch of real estate to set up a brick industry which would spur the rebuilding of Kuala Lumpur," read an explanation from a website, called "Toponymy Heritage Places of Malaysia".

The website was set up by a group of six professors from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in a project funded by the Tourism and Culture Ministry.

After the brick industry kicked off in the area, the fifth and last Kapitan Cina of Kuala Lumpur, Yap Kwan Seng, developed the business further.

"As a businessman, he foresaw an increased demand for bricks in fast-growing Kuala Lumpur and established a kiln (a furnace to make bricks) in the district.

"The area soon became the centre for brickmaking.

"The whole area was a clay pit and good quality bricks were made from clay," the website read.

As such, the area known as Brickfields today draws its interesting history from such high-quality bricks.


1. https://heritagemalaysia.my/

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