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Author British Miners in Malaya 1888-1915
coralsealady

Joined: 14/09/2011

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British Miners in Malaya 1888-1915
Posted: 14/09/2011 19:16:32
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Please forgive this very long post but I hope that you may have information about British miners who went out to British Malaya. If you have any information on any of these men or could suggest other sources to help me find out more about them, I would be very grateful.

I am working on my Ph.D. and doing my thesis on tin mining in late 19th and early 20th century mines of the Pahang Corporation and the Pahang Consolidated Corp. Ltd. located near Kuantan on the east coast of Malaya, now Malaysia. The mine closed in 1986 and I have not found a source for its annual reports or other company documents.

One of the challenges of my project is to find out about the people who worked at the mines. I have found some men mentioned and need to find more information about these people. The names that I have found are discussed in the following paragraphs.

One Singapore newspaper report dating from 16 May, 1887, says that a “Captain Skewis, a well-known Cornish mining expert, who had been appointed on the recommendation of Captain Thomas of the famous Dolcoath tin mine, to give a confidential and independent report on the value of the concession and the best method for developing it and disposing of parts of the property.” Another report dating from 27 August, 1887, says that Captain Skewis gave a favorable report on the property.

A letter written as a report to the British colonial officer of the Kuantan District Office, dated 14 January 1890, describes the work undertaken by the Pahang-Kabang Ltd. at Kuala Baias. The letter includes a brief list of several Europeans, some of whom may have been Cornish. The paragraph containing the names reads:
"Our Mining Captain Penrose lives in a small house at Kabang about one mile from the foot of the hill where we are mining. There are three tunnels being driven and a shaft sunk, some 18 men being employed on this work we expect however to have more miners employed ere long. Europeans here are as follow [torn edge] John Penrose. Bob [Job?] Tin dresser. Blewett carpenter. Pfenningworth overseer. Wells plate-layer. Tyzzers Father & son masons. Dean surveyor. Bullen two brothers engineers. York Boiler maker. and self."
Unfortunately, the signature of the letter writer is illegible, but I hope to find out who he was.

The Pahang-Kabang Ltd. was a subsidiary of the Pahang Corporation, which also may have had Cornish employees. A booklet dating from the mid 1960s lists some of the employees from 1889:
William Fraser (who may have been a Scot)
Harry Teague, mining captain
James Hosking, mining captain/superintendent
Joseph Hosking, assistant superintendent
Robert Latto, clerk
W. H. Derrick, clerk (who became superintendent in 1895)
Alfred J. G. Swinney, explorer
William H. Clark, blacksmith
George Tangye, engineer
William Bennett, carpenter
A. L. Wilton, tin dresser
W. E. Wilton, tin dresser
R. Wilton, tin dresser
Donald McLure, tin overseer
F. G. Durnford, surveyor
D. W. Jones, mine agent

I am fascinated that three families consisting of a father and son or possibly brothers are listed as being employed by the mining companies: Bullen, Hosking,Tyzzers, and Wilton.

Mining superintendents are listed in a document on display at the Mining Museum in Sungai Lembing. It lists Fraser for 1887, Teague for 1888, Hosking for 1889. Another man, Arthur H. Neild, is listed as being the mine superintendent from October, 1890, to 1895 while Derrick is shown from 1895 to 1905. There is a gap of several years before the museum document shows that a J. T. Marriner became superintendent in 1911 and remained in that post until 1929. As my research ends with the first World War, I have not listed the subsequent names.

I hope also to find records of other European miners who were employed by the Pahang mines. One book says that in February 1890, unidentified Cornish and Australia miners went on strike for higher pay to match that paid by other Western companies and that three broke contracts to join other companies. There also is a reference that four Europeans were brought to the mines from Australia in 1892 to teach Chinese miners the techniques needed to work underground.

Thank you for any information on any of these men or other sources to help me learn more; I am very grateful.
IP: 24.7.192.183
Alasdair Neill

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British Miners in Malaya 1888-1915
Posted: 16/09/2011 09:39:45
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These companies were I think stock exchange listed, so in theory at least company annual reports should be held by the Stock Exchange Library (at the GuildhallLibrary, London), although I have never used this source & have had varied accounts of success from the few people I know who have gone after mining co. records there. Will have a look for any other sources. IP: 46.60.252.88
Alasdair Neill

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British Miners in Malaya 1888-1915
Posted: 16/09/2011 09:43:25
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Also, the Camborne School of Mines Journal & the Transactions of the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (obituaries & possibly other refs) gave info. about past students/members carrears which might be useful. Don't have easy access to either of these myself though. IP: 46.60.252.88
coralsealady

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British Miners in Malaya 1888-1915
Posted: 16/09/2011 16:11:20
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Thank you for the suggestions! I will follow up. If you or anyone else thinks of other sources for this information, please let me know.

Thanks again.
IP: 24.7.192.183
Imageo

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British Miners in Malaya 1888-1915
Posted: 17/09/2011 02:47:02
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I'm sure you've already come across this post on the mining history list but if not it may be of interest:

"This new book just published, may be of interest to some members of the list:

"Tin Mining in Malaysia, 1800-2000 - The Osborne & Chappel Story"

David Palmer & Michael Joll
Hardcover, 222mm x 140mm, 352pages
ISBN: 978-967-10295-0-3
Price: £20 (+p&p).

The Malay Peninsular was the principal source of the world's tin throughout the 20th century. The book contains a short history of the mining industry in that country with particular reference to the firm of Osborne & Chappel. "O&C" was one of the earliest of the European pioneers and played an important part throughout the history of tin mining in Malaya and in the Kinta Valley tin field in particular.

The book emphasizes the foresight, astuteness and involvement of the Cornish investors who, from the early days, acted as a catalyst for establishing the tin mining industry in Malaya; an industry which, together with rubber, formed the mainstay of that country's economy for so long.

A section of the book describes the various alluvial mining techniques used over the years.

The book is available through :

M Joll
Manor Cottage
Stoke Climsland
Callington
Cornwall
PL17 8NZ
UK"

Good luck !

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I'm a Geo 'There's a very fine line between a hobby and mental illness.'
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robf

Joined: 23/03/2012

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British Miners in Malaya 1888-1915
Posted: 23/03/2012 06:57:38
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I have just seen your post on British Miners who went out to Malaya. My grandfather, Vincent Bryce Carew Baker, was General Manager for several years of Pahang Consolidated Company, which conducted tin mining at Sungei Lembing near Kuantan.

I do not have a lot of information about his time there, but I do have a booklet "Sixty Years of Tin Mining: A History of The Pahang Consolidated Company 1906-1966" (pubished by the company Nov 1966).

Another source of information about the company is the book Pai Naa: The Story of an Englishwoman's Survival in the Malayan Jungle, by Dorothy Thatcher and Robert Cross. It tells the story of VBC Baker and his sister, Nona, who were forced into the jungle during WWII, and had to abandon the tin mine.

Even if this is a bit late, you may find it of interest.

Rob
IP: 124.169.32.239
Wormster

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British Miners in Malaya 1888-1915
Posted: 23/03/2012 10:24:49
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One of my Aunts went out there (New Guinea) in the early 1900's to set up a misson hospital (she had been in Coolgardie before hand - having travelled out from the uk). A little quote from the family history book (resarched by my Old boy) -

Probably the most dramatic case was that of a miner who had smashed his hand whilst fishing in a pool with dynamite. His friends had helped him through the jungle for three days to reach the hospital. When he arrived it had become gangrenous and it was necessary to amputate his arm to save his life. Ellen using a carpenters saw did the operation whilst Copeland King administerd the anasthetic. A doctor who examined the man later said "what a neat job" she had made of it.

Pm me for more details - I've not got the time to post a complete Bio of her life atm.

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Better to regret something you have done - than to regret something you have not done.
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Nunique

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British Miners in Malaya 1888-1915
Posted: 15/05/2012 17:33:26
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My Grandfather James Howard Thomson was born in Sungei Lembing in 1914, and my Great Grandfather G W Thomson was a miner at one of the mines - we have not been able to trace which one, as the letter dated Nov 1929 when he was the General Manager for this specific mine, a Chinese visitor sent him a letter of gratitude, which was translated but the translation has become illegible in some areas specifically the name of the mine where he worked.

Hoping that joining this site I'll be able to find some information, on my family, I know they moved from Sungei Lembing, but I have no idea when Sad.



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coralsealady

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British Miners in Malaya 1888-1915
Posted: 18/02/2013 06:18:18
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Thank you all for your additional comments. I have continued with my research and my dissertation is almost done. Robf and Nunique, I have found some information about your ancestors, Vincent Carew Baker and G. W. Thomson. The record that I have found indicate that both were employed at the Pahang Consolidated Corporation, Ltd., mine in Sungai Lembing in 1914. Both worked under J. T. Marriner and G.W. Thomson was listed as Mine Engineer while V.C. Baker was listed as Assistant Mine Manager. Thomson may well have moved on by 1929, as Baker become the PCCL mine superintendent in that year when Marriner retired.

Best regards,
Coral Carlson
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BritCan

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British Miners in Malaya 1888-1915
Posted: 28/07/2013 20:08:14
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My grandparents: William Thomas Sobey and Florence Ellen Sobey, from the Perranzabuloe area of Cornwall, were in Malaya for several years up until about 1917. I'm not sure of the dates or the exact location. My grandfather was a mining engineer. I have photos of them there. Please...have you any record of them? Where exactly they were and the dates? They appeared, from the photos, to live a very comfortable life, and there was obviously a group of Brits there. One photo shows them all in their "whites" seated and holding tennis racquets.
IP: 64.229.168.205 Edited: 28/07/2013 20:16:36 by BritCan
jue86

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British Miners in Malaya 1888-1915
Posted: 24/09/2013 04:27:22
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hye robf..im from malaysia..i want to ask u some questions..
i had read a book of Nona Baker (Painaa)..can i know where is she now?how can i contact her..tqvm..
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jmd150402

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British Miners in Malaya 1888-1915
Posted: 21/01/2014 18:04:25
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My grandfather was born there in 1895 and his father was one of the longest serving employees of the company.

They came from Cornwall and have some info

my email is jmd150402@hotmail.co.uk if you wish to send receive info/photos
IP: 109.157.27.138
jmd150402

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British Miners in Malaya 1888-1915
Posted: 21/01/2014 18:06:13
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Would love to see the photos as my grandfather was born there in 1895 and his father worked there until the 1930's. I have some info and photos. my mother visited there recently too.

kind regards
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kamajo

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British Miners in Malaya 1888-1915
Posted: 02/05/2016 23:56:42
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Doing some research on Sungai Lembing in Malaya, where my Cornish grandfather worked as a foreman in the Pehang Consolidated Tin Mining Co. for a period of 17 years up to, I believe about 1942. I would be very interested in any information you may have, eg photos etc. mcfmitch5@gmail.com IP: 2.102.149.233
ss50

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British Miners in Malaya 1888-1915
Posted: 19/07/2019 14:22:50
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I am the great niece of Vincent and Nona Baker and am planning a trip to Malaysia to incorporate a visit to the little museum at Sungai Lembing. I knew Nona so any information you have on either of them including photos would be much appreciated. IP: 86.143.242.71
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