Eu Chateau was built in 1913 by Eu Tong Sen (1877 – 1941), a leading Chinese tin miner and businessman in Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong from the late 19th to mid-20th century. He is perhaps most famous for the ‘Eu Yan Sang’ Chinese pharmaceutical empire.
Although Eu Tong Sen was Chinese, he was also an English-educated Anglophile, who had a fascination with fine English architecture gained from his travels to England in 1911. As one of Malaya ‘s best .known millionaires, he was invited to the homes of the rich and famous and even attended the 1911 Coronation of King George V. Eu brought those ideas back to Malaya, wanting to show the British administration that there was a Chinese who could deliver the same fine European architecture. With regard to the construction of Eu Chateau, The Times of Malaya reported in 1913.
“Quite the biggest building being put up in lpoh today, next ( in splendour) to the railway station, is Mr. Eu Tong Sen’s new Mansion in Gopeng Road. This will be a magnificent mansion fit to compare in style and luxury with some of the finest. houses in England. It will contain a smoking room, library, gym.nasium and other appurtenances of the up-to-date dwelling place of a modem man of wealth.”
Originally set on a 95-acre estate, Eu Chateau was widely known as the finest private residence in Ipoh, and soon became famous for its lavish parties thrown for both lpoh’s high society as well as visiting dignitaries. During the Japanese Occupation, Eu Chateau became the residence of the Japanese Governor of Perak, Mr Kubota. After Japan was defeated, the mansion was used as accommodation for British army families. In 1957, it was sold to a local housing developer, who subdivided the 95 acre property into 200 lots, keeping the original house on 8 acres.
It was at this time that Ipoh Town Council’s Assistant Town Planner, Mr. F Watkinson, suggested that the Chateau on its 8-acre site be bought by the Government and turned into a museum. The idea was not taken up at the time.
In 1961, Eu Chateau was acquired by the Perak branch of the All-Malaya Muslim Missionary Society for use as a vocational school for girls. The school continues to this day, although in newer buildings behind the original now empty Chateau. After more than 50 years since the original suggestion, there are plans finally afoot to restore Eu Chateau before its lOOth birthday in 20 13 and turn it into a museum celebrating the history of Ipoh and Eu Tong Sen.