In 2013, I visited Malaysia for two months, here in Perak one of my favourite provinces, on being so close to Ipoh , I visited kellies Castle. An amazing concept that never quite got finished, a shame as I suspect it would have been stunning even today!
Overlooking the picturesque view of Batu Gajah, Perak, is the unfinished castle of William Kellie Smith, better known as Kellie’s Castle. The brainchild of the Scottish rubber plantation owner to celebrate his child’s birth, the castle and surrounding ruins bear signs of Smith’s grand vision for his family home.
Originally, the castle would have boasted a 6-storey tower, an indoor tennis court, an entertainment area on the rooftop, a wine cellar, plus what would have been Malaya’s (later Malaysia) first elevator. It was designed in a Moorish and Indo-Saracenic Revival style with top quality craftsmanship in mind. To realise his dream home, Smith brought in 70 workers and imported bricks and marbles from India as well as exquisite tiles from Italy.
Besides its beautiful exterior, Smith had also instructed the construction of secret exit tunnels speculated to be utilised in case of emergencies. There is also a small secluded room near the wine cellar which people have dubbed as a secret room though it was reportedly planned to be a photography room.
Construction was halted however when Smith suddenly passed away at the age of 56 from pneumonia while he was on his way to Lisbon to pick up his elevator. His grief stricken wife, Agnes, sold the castle to Harrisons and Crosfield and the castle was left abandoned before being made into a tourist attraction years later.