Unveiled in 1909, the Birch Memorial is dedicated to the first British Resident for the State of Perak, James Wheeler Woodford Birch or better known as JWW Birch. Birch’s appointment as Resident was a result of the Pangkor Treaty of 1874, which paved the way for the colonialization of the state of Perak and later, the Malay states of then Malaya, now known as Peninsular Malaysia.
Images from Shah Said ; @ all rights reserved ; January 2021
The presence of British Residents was never fully accepted by the locals as it was seen not only as a transgression but also a form of interference by the British on the conduct of local affairs, more so when the signing of Pangkor Treaty was itself deemed as being forced onto the then reigning Sultan of Perak, Sultan Abdullah.
Birch’s actions since appointed Resident epitomized this very assertion and was even advised accordingly by the then Governor General Sir Andrew Clarke. As it happened, Birch’s actions ultimately cost him his life. He was assassinated in 1875 and the rest, as they say, is history as the British exiled the then Sultan of Perak and his court to the Seychelles and used Birch’s assassination as an excuse to impose colonial rule on the state of Perak.