Celluloid memories: Scenes at the installation of Sultan Iskandar Shah, 1919

Raja Alang Iskandar ibni Almarhum Sultan Idris I was pronounced the 30th Sultan of Perak following the demise of his brother, Almarhum Sultan Abdul Jalil, in December 1918. Raja Alang Iskandar was styled Sultan Iskandar Shah and installed as Sultan of Perak on Thursday, 10 April 1919.

Elephants fording Sungai Perak carrying Malay Chiefs to the Istana Negara, 9 April 1919.

As reported by The Straits Echo[1], Sultan Iskandar received dignitaries comprising Perak Rajas and Malay Chiefs on the morning of 9 April at 10 am in the Balai Besar of the Istana Negara on Bukit Chandan. A report from The Singapore Free Press described the various ranks of Malay Chiefs appearing resplendent in their finest traditional Malay attire, as requested by the Sultan in a circular sent out by the Sultan’s Private Secretary. The reception at the Istana with the Malay Chiefs ended at noon.

Finely dressed Malay and British guests at Istana Negara. The official guest in the middle of the photo may well be The Hon Arthur Henry Lemon, Resident for Negeri Sembilan.

Later in the afternoon, the celebrations continued in the form of water sports at about 4 pm on the bank of Sungai Perak opposite the Government Lodge. Amongst the official guests in attendance were His Excellency Sir Arthur H. Young, the British High Commissioner, and his wife, Lady Evelyn. The preparations of the afternoon’s event was elaborate to ensure the comfort of the official guests.

A photo of some of the British guests on one of the rafts on Sungai Perak during the afternoon’s festivities, 9 April 1919.

The report also described two huge rafts, 100 yards apart, were fitted up and elaborately decorated. These rafts could only accommodate a proportion of the huge numbers of guests in attendance noted to be standing by the banks of Sungai Perak. The jovial atmosphere of the celebrations was augmented by a fine selection of music played by the Perak State Band.

These photos are published courtesy of the family of Allahyarham Raja Dato’ Badri Shah bin Raja Harun Al-Rashid. We believe these photos were taken on the eve of the installation in 1919, if not the actual day of the installation itself. We at SembangKuala would like to express our sincere gratitude to Allahyarham’s family for allowing us to publish these photos from their private collection. We would like to add that we welcome any further information on these photos from readers!

[1]The Straits Echo was a Penang newspaper based in Georgetown, which later bought over The Penang Gazette and Times of Malaya from The Straits Times Press Pte Ltd in the 1930’s.

1. INSTALLATION OF H H THE SULTAN OF PERAK. The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser. 1919 April 16. p 19.


2 thoughts on “Celluloid memories: Scenes at the installation of Sultan Iskandar Shah, 1919

  1. I believe the photograph now labelled “The official guest in the middle of the photo may well be The Hon R.G. Watson, ” is in fact Arthur Henry Lemon Resident for Negri Sembilan 1913-1919, my great grandfather.

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