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The Anglo-Chinese Girls School (Methodist Girls School), Ipoh

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Subject :The Anglo-Chinese Girls School (Methodist Girls School), Ipoh
Published By : None 
Location : Ipoh
Estimated Year : 1927
Media Type : Photograph
Source : Y T Lee, FMS Bar and Restaurant, Ipoh
Remark :

"Taken from an original photograph that shows the Anglo-Chinese Girls School, Ipoh, currently known as the Methodist Girls School.

The school was founded by [1] Reverend W E Horley in 1895, the same year as he founded the Anglo-Chinese School (ACS). The latter was intended to be only for boys, but parents with daughters, dissatisfied with the education climate for young girls, brought their daughters to the school, requesting they admitted along with their brothers. Thus Mrs Staggs, the first teacher and wife of the resident missionary took charge of a class for girls only with an initial enrollment that soon grew to 16. At first the classes for boys and girls took place separately in the boys school

Although it developed much slower compared to the boys' school, it gained recognition by the government in 1897, as by then it had the 16 regular students. [2[3]When Mrs Staggs had to give up teaching due to ill health, Rev Horley obtained the use of the upper part of an old Malay house owned by Datoh Panglima Kinta Muhammad Yusuff. [4] Mrs Towers was the new teacher and the government contributed $750 to the cost of the new building, which opened in 1899. The building consisted of one spacious room upstairs and two on the ground floor.

Over the next few years ACGS fluctuated in terms of location and principals. In 1902 Mrs Luering ran the school in the ACS compound,but between 1897 and 1911, the principal’s office changed hands three times before Miss Lydia Urech took over. By then the school had already moved from the old Malay house to the Wesley Church, and then to the Old Post Office building (Tamil Church Manse). Under Miss Kenyon the school gained a semblance of stability and enrolment grew to 100 pupils. In 1914 they began to occupy the current old primary building of ACS.

In 1916, Miss Carrie Kenyon was appointed principal by the Women’s Foreign Missionary Service, which proceeded to “adopt” the school in 1918. In 1921 Standard Seven was introduced in ACGS. Again the school went through a period of constant moves. Nonetheless, three students sat for the Junior Cambridge Examinations in 1922. In 1923 they moved to the Yau Tet Shin Building (Infant Welfare Centre then) and then to the Grand Hotel (where Medan Kidd now stands) in 1925.

Despite the instability, ACGS churned out its first Senior Cambridge graduate in 1923, one of three who sat for the exam. Finally in 1926, a 6 ½ ace plot of land on Kampar Road, was purchased for a new school complex, which was inaugurated by the High Commissioner of the FMS, Sir Hugh Clifford, in 1927. The same year the first issue of their annual school magazine, “The Argosy”, was published.

The current school motto was adopted in 1933 and the following year Kenyon Cottage was built. During the Japanese Occupation the school was used as a POW camp. After the surrender of the Japanese troops, the school reopened in the 1st of October 1945. General Science became part of the curriculum and the first science laboratory was opened in 1952. A block consisting of 8 classrooms was built in 1957 to cater for the ACGS Primary School and a year later, the primary and secondary schools were separated. In the same year a classroom was converted into a Physics laboratory.

In 1959 the school’s name was changed to Methodist Girls School. Over the next 4 decades several expansions and upgrades to the school were rolled out to cater to the ever-changing times, these expansions included the addition of more classrooms, a canteen, a music room, an art room, more laboratories, a recreation hall, a resource centre, a computer room etc, culminating in the opening of Trinity Hall in 2000.

Our database editor adds: 'The above is an amalgam of the Kinta Valley book and information taken from 'The History of English Schools in Perak' published under the auspices of the Perak Library Ipoh in 1958.

Ipoh Rememnbered has offered the following detail in the aim for accurate history, which often is different to popular legend as above:

Regarding [1]: William Horley did a great deal for Ipoh and its children so, of course, one wants to honour him for it; but at the same time history has been unkind to his predecessor, who, it can be argued, was the actual founder of Ipoh's Anglo-Chinese School. This is a point we can pursue separately (although it may be easier to ignore it).

Regarding [1] and [2]: Together the two statements imply that "Mrs Staggs, the first teacher and wife of the resident missionary took charge of a class for girls" after Horley "founded" the school — but that's not what happened. The Staggs, having arrived in Ipoh in late 1894, left Ipoh before Horley was assigned there (which is why the school had to be closed temporarily).

Corollary: If the Staggs were running a school during their time in Ipoh, Horley could not have founded it. They were teaching children in Ipoh before he was!

Regarding [3]: Horley's predecessors were Mr. & Mrs. Stagg (not "Staggs"). She took seriously ill in mid-1895 and so they both left Malaya, seeking medical treatment for her in Europe — from where they returned to America. There is more to their story: one of their sons came back to the Philippines as a missionary. He and his wife worked against the Japanese during WWII. She was captured, tortured, and beheaded. (Her story is similar to Sybil Kathigasu's.)

Regarding [4]: That should be "Miss" or "Ms." (Towers), but not "Mrs." There certainly was a Mrs. Towers in Ipoh, but she was not the teacher; she was the teacher's sister-in-law."

To read more about Anglo-Chinese School, Ipoh, click here.

To read more about Yau Tet Shin, click here.

To read more about The Grand Hotel, click here.

To read more about Sir Hugh Clifford, click here.

To read more about Miss Grace Towers, click here.

To read more about The Rev William Horley, click here.

To read more about Datoh Panglima Kinta Muhammad Yusuff, click here.

Filename : 20080128-165