Updated 11 December 2021
By Eli Solomom
Has there been anything on the MG T-Type that hasn’t already been written about? Calusager, McComb, Allison, Sherrell…you’ve probably got at least a couple of shelves of books dedicated to the MG marque. Add John James’ fantastic Totally T-Type 2 website1 and there’s really nothing more one could add on T-Type restoration or history. But when it comes to material on the Far Eastern MGs, there’s a paucity of information available in print and online. So let’s see if the RMA Resource Center can add something new to T-Type history with this piece on a lost TA Cream Cracker.
It seems that there was indeed another ex-works MG that raced in the Far East before WWII. Not just Cyril Oswald Jennings’ K30072 but an ex-semi works MG TA 3 Cream Cracker. But which of the Cream Cracker TAs made it to Malayan shores?
TEAM CRACKERS: The MG team ran two different sets of TA Crackers for the 1937 and 1938 seasons, the latter cars significantly different from the 1937 cars. This is what Wilson McComb had to say 4: “For 1937…MG produced six modified TA two-seaters, the Crackers in their familiar cream and brown finish, the Musketeer cars painted red. They were called Cream Crackers because the MG Car Company had the bodies painted in cream and the wings in brown 5.
These were ‘sold’ to the team drivers on the understanding that MG would repurchase them for an agreed figure at the end of the year…Although the 1937 cars differed comparatively little from standard TA specification, both teams had a good year and the Cream Crackers won the coveted Motor Cycling Club (MCC) Team Championship Trophy.” As noted earlier, the 1938 TAs were significantly different, with 1548cc MG VA motors that were bored out to 1708cc (and ran with 73mm pistons from the six-cylinder 2561cc MG WA saloon/tourer).
ABL960 in the hands of James Maurice Toulmin, 1937 Edinburgh Trial. Source: Simon Lewis Books
We are offered just one clue – by renowned vintage car enthusiast David J. Morton. Morton was based in Southern Malaysia from at least the mid-1950s, actively participating in his pre-war Sunbeam or some such vintage car. He referred to the MG TA in question as an ex-Toulmin Cream Cracker 6. But which Cracker TA was it? The 1937 TA 7, registration ABL960 (chassis TA 0930), or the 1938 TA, BBL78 (chassis TA 2017), both of which were owned and campaigned by James Maurice Toulmin.
Toulmin, nicknamed the Colonel, was a prolific trials competitor before WWII, mainly using MGs – Js, P Types and later T Types (including ABL960 and BBL78). We can rule out BBL78 with good reason. The car was still with Toulmin in early 1939 8 and there is evidence to show that it was entered in the MGCC Abingdon Trial in May 1939. This leaves us with ABL960 (chassis TA0930), the first of the Cream Cracker TAs from 1937. ABL960 was one of the two TA Crackers (the other being ABL964) that was sold to the Scottish Highlanders team and trialled in 1938 so we know it ended up heading north. The Triple-M Register Yearbook for 1993 features an article by Ian Williamson titled The MG Works Trials Teams – The ‘Cream Crackers’, ‘The Musketeers’ and Other Cars of Interest. In the article, mention is made of the Scottish Highlanders team consisting Keith Elliott (ABL960), Murray Frame (JB9945) and Norman Gibson (ABL964). “They competed in 1938 with two 1937 model TA trials cars (ABL960 and ABL964), plus JB9445, which was Godfrey Imhof’s car. Only ABL964 is known to have survived. The Highlander cars were traditionally painted in the dark blue of the Scottish Flag. The team did not get works support, but Lord Nuffield gave them each a set of special cufflinks in 1938, in recognition for their efforts.” So we also know that in MG circles, ABL960 is thought to have perished. End of the ABL964 thread. But where did it meet its maker?
One of the Cream Cracker MG TAs. Source: The Story of the MG Sports Car by F. Wilson McComb. J.M. Dent & Sons, 1972.
TEA PLANTERS: Did Perak planter Bill Ferguson buy the Keith Elliott Cracker TA? Let’s see if the timeline matches the story. Morton, who was already working in Malaya by 1955 and would have known (or known of) Bill Ferguson, referred to the Perak planter’s car as “an ex-Toulmin Cream Cracker”. Keith Elliott (who appears to have owned garages in Edinburgh) was a member of the Scottish Highlanders Trails Team in 1938. James George Milne ‘Bill’ Ferguson was born in Perak on 27 April 1912 but both his parents were Scottish. Bill was the eldest son of James Scott ‘Fergie’ Ferguson 9 of Fyvie in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. J.S. Ferguson came to Malaya around 1906. By the 1930s the Ferguson boys (there were three) must have been reasonably well off to indulge in various activities, including owning several interesting cars, and flying. Bill would have gone to college in the UK in the early 1930s, probably either Oxford or Cambridge.
Now comes the interesting bit. In late December 1938, Bill sailed for the UK on the P&O liner Corfu, presumably on matters pertaining to the Ferguson plantations at Changkat Kinding and Jalong Tinggi 10. We also know he had made an earlier visit to the UK in 1931 and was there in July 1931, attending the annual dinner of the Association of British Malaya at the Hotel Metropole, presumably while he was studying at either Oxford or Cambridge 11.
Let’s return to 1939, an important year in our timeline – for various reasons. Keith Elliott still owned the TA in question and it wouldn’t be till May 1939 when the MG Car Company announced the TA’s successor, the TB. We don’t know exactly when Bill returned to Perak from the UK in 1939 but he made an appearance at the AAM’s Penang and Kedah Branch Mount Pleasure Hill Climb in Penang on 2 July 1939, both he and his brother Fred driving MG TAs. A single TA shared, or a pair, one of which had just been imported from Scotland? Distil the results further and one spots Fred Ferguson at the AAM Perak Easter Holiday Festival at the Gopeng Hill Climb on 9 April 1939 and once more at AAM’s Gap Hill Climb in Singapore in 11 June 1939 – in an MG TA. Here Fred Ferguson was part of the MG Team that included Harry Marriott (MG PB) and Hugh W. Dornhorst 12 (MG PB). The team took second place to the L.A. Team of Lim Peng Han, Peter Braid and Conrad Oldham 13. We know that Ferguson finished third in Class 9 – Sports and Racing cars up to 1550cc – behind Peter Braid’s LA MG-TA Monoposto and Neville Reddish’s supercharged TT Austin Seven.
At the 2 July 1939 Penang and Kedah Branch of the AAM’s Mount Pleasure Hill Climb, both Fred and Bill Ferguson participated in their MG TA, Fred winning the 1500cc Sports Cars (Borneo Cup) ahead of Bill. The pair, together with Gerald Dixon, won the Inter-State competition between Penang and Perak for Sports Cars. The third of a mile course was now 30 yards longer than 1938 course. Fred won Class 11 (Borneo Cup) for 1500cc Sports Cars in 38.15 sec, Bill was second in 38.25sec. Bill was 2nd in the Unlimited Sports Cars to Harry Marriott’s supercharged MG PB. Freddy was 3rd. Team Perak, an all-MG team of Gerald Dixon (MG TA registration PK1184) and the Fergusons, won the Inter-State challenge between Perak and Penang. FTD was set by Harry Marriott in the MG PB at 37.25 sec with only Bill Ferguson close with a 38 sec. run in the Unlimited Sports Cars class.
Google Maps of Perak showing Changkat Kinding and Gopeng. Much of Gopeng, Pusing and Kampung Kepayang was tin mining land. The map shows relative distances between Changkat Kinding, Tanjung Rambutan and Chemor. Aside from the Gopeng Hill Climb, there was also the Kledang Hill Climb, situated on the approach road to the Kledang Hill Radio Station near Menglembu.
CRACKER IN PERAK
CRACKER IN PERAK: But were these events in ABL960, the former Scottish Highlanders Team car? The results alluded to previously don’t list either of the Ferguson entries as an MG TA Cracker. However, the first time a Ferguson entry is mentioned as an MG Cracker appeared in the Singapore Free Press’s 14 results for the AAM’s Mount Pleasure Hill Climb held on 9 February 1940. Here Bill Ferguson finished first in the Sports Cars to 1550cc class and first in Sports Cars Unlimited Class. The results simply listed the car as MG Cracker, 1292cc. Remember, most motor sports activities ceased following the declaration of war in Europe on 3rd September 1939. Racing activities continued in the Far East, unaffected by the conflict in Europe.
A further reference to the MG Cracker came in an article in the Straits Times of 25 March 1940, this time a report on the 24 March 1940 Gopeng Hill Climb. In the article, the Perak Team were represented by Charles Vernon Crowther-Smith 15 (Fiat Special), B.G. [sic] Oates 16 (MG) and G.M. [sic] Ferguson (MG Cracker). In the results listing, it is F.M. Ferguson listed in the Sports Cars Class 7, winning ahead of Neville Reddish in an Austin Seven. Hughie Oates’ car was a 1936 MG PB (registration PK1784). There are too many errors in the press article to make this an accurate account of the event. Still, car and brother/s is/are known to have participated.
The Perak “A” team that took part in the 1940 Gopeng Hill Climb on 24 March. The photo features Bill Ferguson in his MG Cracker, Hugh G. Oates in his MG PB and Charles Vernon Crowther-Smith in his Fiat Victoria Special.
The Ferguson brothers were expected to compete at the 12 May 1940 Whit Sunday Seremban Half-Mile Standing-Start Sprint at 1st Mile Seremban-Tampin Road. Run by the Negri Sembilan-Malacca Branch of the AAM, there were 73 entries (and 14 teams), proceeds from the event going towards the Malayan Patriotic Fund 17. The Malaya Tribune’s pre-race report (25 April 1940, pg.2) is riddled with errors but for all intents and purposes, gives its readers a taste of the range of cars entered (Frazer Nash-BMW 328, Maserati 4CS, MG K3, Jaguar SS100 etc., etc.). Here’s what the printed of the Ferguson entries: “Perak will probably be represented by the well known Ferguson brothers, “Bill” and “Freddy,” both of whom will drive M.G.’s, and another M.G. Special [MG PB] will it is hoped compete in the capable hands of “Hughie” Cates 18 [sic – should read Oates], the 1938 Gopeng record holder. Crowther-Smith who was so successful at the Gopeng Hill Climb this year with Fiats will also be competing.” In the end, neither of the brothers attended the event.
The Ferguson brothers also missed the AMM’s Gap Hill Climb in Singapore on 4 August 1940 and neither was entered in the Johore Grand Prix in November, which is not strange, given the ramp up in demand for British Malayan rubber. In October 1940 Freddy Ferguson had enlisted as a Volunteer in the Royal Air Force Government Flying Training School and had been accepted for active service overseas under the Empire Air Training Scheme. He handed the role of Hon. Secretary of the Incorporated Society of Planters in Ipoh (ISP) to his brother Bill (Bill assumed the role at the ISP’s AGM in Ipoh in December 1940.
FLYING FERGUSONS: Bill would soon follow in his younger brother’s footsteps, enlisting in the Royal Air Force Government Flying Training School 19 in Singapore in March 1941 at the age of 29 20. He was one of the second batch of cadets while his brother Fred was in the first batch that had enlisted in October 1940. Bill graduated (passing out parade was held on 13 March 1941) 21. Bill must have been based at Kallang Airport around May 1941 because he once more offered for sale his Triumph Vitesse sports tourer, this time as a “Quick Sale at $1,000 ono”. Instead of using his Tanjong Rambutan address in Perak which had been used in a previous advertisement (February 1941), his address was now the Airport Hotel, Kallang, Singapore. What we do know is that Bill Ferguson’s regular mode of transport seems to have been his 6-cylinder Triumph Gloria Vitesse (Perak State registration PK140) 22 and his pre-war motoring ventures were clearly confined to events in North Malaya, usually in Perak and Penang.
Aside from his Triumph 1935 Gloria Vitesse 6-cylinder Sports Tourer (which he used in Malayan long distance reliability trials in 1937 and 1938) and the MG TA Cracker, in 1939 he also had a Lancia V8 Coupe (an Astura?), revealed by him to have been previously owned by Bruno Mussolini 26, of which just four were built for the Mille Miglia. With the exception of the Triumph, which Ferguson used as his regular transport 27, the remaining cars would likely have been in the Ferguson estate at Tanjong Rambutan in Perak when the Japanese began the invasion of Malaya on 8 December 1941 [Ipoh fell to the Japanese on 26 December 1941] 28.
Did TA 0930 survive the invasion and Japanese Occupation hidden in the Ferguson estate at Changkat Kinding Estate 29? Bill survived the war and when racing resumed in post-war Malaya, he was back in the trophy hunt (at least not till 1950/51 anyway), of which more anon in forthcoming articles on the Coopers and Jaguars that raced in the region.
Bill Ferguson in his V-Twin MkIV Cooper JAP at the Mount Erskine Hill Climb held on 8 November 1953 in Penang.
NB: The writer hopes that the local Singapore and Malaysian MG experts will not take umbrage at this piece of writing and research by an amateur with no pre-war racing MG credentials even though he owns a couple of pre-war MGs – an ex-Scotland Yard J2 and, sacré bleu, an early TA (Special).
Words By Eli Solomon
- Cyril Oswald ‘Mick’ Jennings’ MG K3 chassis K3007. It is likely that this K3 arrived together with Jennings and his wife Margery (following their vacation in Britain) on The Blue Funnel Line’s TSS Sarpedon in Singapore 19 February 1940. Jennings’ leave was from June 1939 to January 1940, so it is entirely possible that Jennings’ MG K3 would have been aboard the 11,321-ton cargo liner. See THE REAL CAPTAIN MG – PART I.
- The MG T-Series Midget was launched in June 1936, replacement for the MG PB Midget. The biggest difference between the P-Series Midgets was the engine. Gone was the free-revving overhead cam head and in came a long stroke push-rod, designated MPJG (this was replaced by the XPAG motor for the TA’s pre-war replacement, the TB).
- McComb, F. Wilson: The Story of the M.G. Sports Car. J.M. Dent & Sons, 1972.
- See Allison, Mike & Browning, Peter. THE WORKS MGs – In Pre-War and Post-War Races, Rallies, Trials and Record-Breaking. Haynes, 2000. “It appears that when the three cars [a pair of P-Types and a J2], owned by Toulmin [P-Type], MacDermid [P-Type] and Bastock [J2], were taken to Abingdon for painting, no-one knew what color they should be painted. Up until that time they were standard paint jobs, but with a brown and cream striping along the side of the car at waist-level, to represent the colors of the MGCC…The fact that the cars were privately owned [with special works support and parts subsidy allowances etc.] and that their owners might not have taken kindly to having their cars sprayed a Works’ color was not really discussed. However it seems that the paint foreman of the time assumed that the cars were MG Works cars, and, having no other orders, painted them in the same scheme as the 1934 K3s of the Eyston team [George Eyston’s MG racing team – Remember MG EX135?]…The finished cars were lined up outside Service waiting to be picked up by their owners. When Toulmin arrived he exclaimed that they looked ‘real little crackers’. MacDermid liked this idea, and labeled them Cream Crackers…
- Those Were The Days, MSVCR Magazine, June 1971. David Morton’s source would have been an earlier letter to the Editor in the same club magazine, more likely a pre-1967 edition.
- A total of 3003 MG TAs were produced between 1936 and 1939 with open 2-seater body, Airline Coupe body or Drophead Coupe body. The MG TB model followed, with production in 1939 amounting to just 379 cars before the war intervened.
- Safety Fast, October 2018 – Letter from Jonathan Toulmin, son of James Maurice Toulmin [1906-1958]. Jonathan states that his dad disposed of the T-Type Cream Cracker BBL78 between the end of the Cream Cracker’s final event at the Exeter Trial on 7 January 1939 and Land’s End Trail on 8 April 1939. “During those three months, dad had disposed of his T-type Cream Cracker (BBL 78), purchased this N-type, got married, had a honeymoon, etc!” Toulmin was a Flight Lieutenant on the motor transport side in the RAF during the war. Maurice Toulmin has no connection with the London MG firm that bore the same name [Toulmin Motors, 343 Staines Road, Hounslow, Middlesex]. Toulmin was in fact a general manager of a large provincial newspaper, and a director of the Press Association [source: Autosport, 14 June 1957].
- James Ferguson’s [b. circa 1888 d. 31 October 1950]. At 18 Ferguson senior became a planter on the Gula Estate, Perak, which had 60 acres of experimental rubber but was mainly a sugarcane and coconut plantation. He was then stationed with the Sungkai and Chumor Estates in Perak, becoming General Manager of Chumor Estate in 1912. Ferguson senior visited Colombo in May 1911 where he married Nellie Milne (d. October 1952, Batu Gajah Hospital, Perak). The wedding took place on 11 May 1911 at St. Andrew’s Church, Colpetty [Kollupitiya, Colombo in Sri Lanka]. In 1919, he joined Macfayden and Wilde as a visiting agent and in 1926 set up as business as visiting agent. He became his own visiting agent in 1926 and was later joined by Sydney Bacon Palmer [later Sir Sydney]. He went to Changkat Kinding Estate in 1930. With the cultivation of tea, Ferguson became one of Malayan lowland tea pioneers and a well-respected member of Malayan society. Ferguson had two daughters and three sons. His sons were James George Milne, Ian Scott and Frederick Milne. He was a Member of the Federal Legislative Council; the Perak State Council; Chairman, Central Perak Planting Association 1916-1918 and 1945-1950; Vice President of the Malayan Estate Owners’ Association 1930-1935 and 1945-1948; President-elect of United Planters Association of Malaya 1950-1951 etc. Ferguson died on 31 October 1950 after a long illness in Batu Gajah Hospital, Perak.
- The rubber shortage was not apparent until Japan occupied Malaya and the Netherlands Indies in 1942. However, British Malaya supplied the United States with 55% of its crude rubber. Stockpiling had yet to begin because of the demand for crude rubber only rose after the 1938 trade recession. Demand for this “Black Gold” rose in the lead up to Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland in September 1939.
- The only indication that young Bill Ferguson would have been sent to England was in a Malaya Tribune note on Passengers Leaving on the S.S. Kalyan (Malaya Tribune, 25 February 1927). In the entry we see a Mrs. Ferguson and a Master Ferguson on the passenger manifest.
- Hugh W. Dornhorst, L.D.S., R.C.S. (England). Dornhorst arrived from England Oct 1936 to join H.A. Johnson, dental surgeon in Kuala Lumpur. He was on the committee of the AAM in 1937. Took part in the Gap Hill Climb June 1939 in a 1936 MG PB (939cc). He was admitted to hospital in KL in April 1941. Nothing in the news thereafter. Dornhorst also owned a 328 Frazer Nash BMW, purchased from Wong Chek Quee of Singapore (reg A5089/SN303/SE7659; chassis 85120), a car he regularly participated in.
- For more on Judge Conrad Oldham see THE GHOST OF MALCOLM ROAD.
- Singapore Free Press, 10 February 1940, pg.2: H. Marriott Does Best Time In Hill Climb.
- Charles Vernon Crowther-Smith perished on 20 February 1942, aged 37. He held the rank of Captain and was a member of the Federated Malay States Volunteer Force. It appears that a C.V. Crowther-Smith raced at Brooklands in October 1927 in a 348cc Rex-Acme motorcycle. Crowther-Smith (Lieutenant M.V.F.) died of wounds sustained in fighting in Singapore before capitulation. 18 February 1942.
- Hugh G. Oates [1911-1990]. Listed in 1957 with OBE (Military) for Wing Commander Hugh Gordon Oates, Commanding Singapore Wing, Malayan Auxiliary Air Force. The Singapore Wing, Malayan Auxiliary Air Force (MAAF) was active from its formation in June 1950, until its disbandment in 23 September 1960. The MAAF was based at RAF Tengah. This writer is not certain if this is the same H.G. Oates who resided in Ipoh before WWII and who worked for Wearne Brothers, Ipoh though Wing Commander Oates was stated to have come from Western Australia (as were the Wearne brothers). It is possible that Oates, a member of the Malayan Voluntter Air Force before the war, was evacuated to Sumatra by air and in the ship Jala Retna, eventually finding his way to Perth following the fall of Java. In Perth he became a member of the RAAF.
- The creation of the Malayan war charity fund (known as the Malaya Patriotic Fund) was announced in the local press on 7 September 1939.
- Hugh Gordon Oates, referred to as Hughie Oates [b. 1911 Subiaco WA – d. 5.6.1990]. Oates was employed by Wearne Brothers, Ipoh [from February 1936]. Interviewed for the job in Perth, WA, in early 1935. Arrived Singapore March 1935, posted to Kuala Lumpur then eventually Ipoh (February 1936). Marriage in Ipoh, February 1940 [Hugh age 29] to Edna Simmons. He held the rank of Sgt Pilot MVAF. Evacuated to Java then Australia when war broke out. MVAF evacuation from Singapore possibly to Sumatra/Batavia by air or by steamer Jala Retna (to Batavia). Oates’ wife Edna Lowe [b. 7.10. 1912] was evacuated on the Blue Funnel’s SS Ulysses, arriving Fremantle, WA 31.12.1941. Oates joined the RAAF 29.4.1942 in Perth, rank Fl.Lt R/S Canberra [eventual rank Wing Commander]. Discharged 6.10. 1945. Returned to Malaya post-war as a senior executive at Wearnes [1957, General Manager position]. In June 1945 Wearnes’ Len Geddes wrote to Oates (then in the RAAF) “asking him to keep himself in readiness to return to Malaya.” [Dorothy Oates on Hugh Gordon Oates]. He was also Commanding Officer of the Malayan Auxilliary Air Force (Singapore Section) in 1954. Oates, Wing Commander, Commanding Singapore Wing, Malayan Auxiliary Air Force, awarded O.B.E. (Military) in the Queen’s New Year Honours List, January 1957. Retired to Perth, WA. Mount Pleasant.
- Royal Volunteer Air Force cadets were those who already had flying experience, generally from the four flying clubs in Malaya. Four cadets were taken from each club, totalling 16 cadets. They already possessed A licences and had at least 25 hours of solo flying. They had to undergo training in Singapore before promotion to rank of Sergeant Pilot and awarded “wings”, or a badge. Then only would they be eligible for a commission. The training took four weeks. Both the Ferguson brothers were part of this program.
- RAF Cadets Selected. Training to Start in Singapore Shortly [22 March 1941].
- J.G.M. Ferguson (112435) – Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve – rank of Sergeant as of 3 November 1941. In the 18 December issue of The Aeroplane, J.G.M. Ferguson is listed under Royal Air Ford Volunteer Reserve list, with confirmed appointment as Flight Officer (war subs.) effective 1 October 1942.Later promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant, RAF Volunteer Reserves (London Gazette, 3 November 1943). He resigned his commission on 20 January 1947. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1970 (Supplement to the London Gazette, 13 June 1970) for services to the British interests in Malaysia.
- Photo of the Triumph Vitesse in Tyler, Brian & Stonor, Henry: Vintage Motoring in Malaysia, July 1977.
- Geoffrey Emile ‘Jack’ Ashby was the fourth son of Eurasian W.J.B. Ashby M.C.H. [Malayan Certificate of Honour, awarded in 1928], J.P. [awarded in 1933] (Secretary, Kinta Sanitary Board). Ashby Road (where, in the 1950s, stood the Kinta Detention Camp as well as the military establishments) was named after W.J.B. Ashby. Jack married Miss Mildred Pavanaris in Ipoh on 10 September 1940. W.J.B. Ashby was a leader of the Eurasian community in Perak in the 1930s. Born in Penang [28 June 1871], died aged 68 in May 1939. His father was William Ashby, a European Inspector of the Straits Settlements Police.
- Gerald Dixon is perhaps better known for setting a record for the Butterworth to Singapore drive in June 1931 – 513 mile, 11 hour 48 minute record set in a 1926 twin overhead camshaft 3-litre Sunbeam. See Straits Times, 3 June 1935 p12. – Through Malaya in 10 ¾ Hours – Motorist Dash from Penang. See also the first edition of Motoring In Malaya, 1935.
- Source: Tyler, Brian & Stonor, Henry. Vintage Motoring in Malaysia. July 1977.
- Bruno Mussolini [b. 22 April 1918 – d. 7 August 1941] was the son of Benito Mussolini.
- The 1935 9.8HP Triumph Vitesse 6 Gloria four-seater Sports Tourer was advertised for sale in the Morning Tribune (Malaya) between 21 and 28 February 1941, taxed and insured to July-August 1941. The asking price was $1,150 and the seller was J.G.M. Ferguson of Tanjong Rambutan, Perak. Tanjong Rambutan is situated on by the Kinta River, a couple of Km from the Changkat Kinding Estate.
- James Scott Ferguson was apparently evacuated out of Malaya in 1941, returning in 1945 as an officer in charge of Rehabilitation of Estates and Chairman, Central Perak Planting Association. He returned the Changkat Kinding Estate in 1946.
- Changkat Kinding Estate was situated near Tanjong Rambutan in Perak. Initially, the land was used for rubber cultivation but into the 1930s the cultivation of tea grew in importance (both Highland and Lowland tea). By 1930 the estate belonged to J.S. Ferguson [d. November 1950, Batu Gajah, Perak] and Sydney Bacon Palmer [July 1890 – d. 9 March 1954]. The tea cultivated at Changkat Kinding was branded Perak Tea and went on sale in Ipoh in late 1932 [Times of Malaya/Singapore Free Press, 10 November 1932, pg. 3]. By February 1934, Ferguson was able to increase the acreage for tea cultivation by over 400 acres in Changkat Kinding through a lease of land from the Perak Government [Malay Tribune, 23 February 1934, pg.10]. The rubber and tea factories adjoined the Tanjong Rambutan-Chemor Road. The estate boasted a swimming pool and its own reservoir for its drinking water supply. By 1940 Changkat Kinding and Jalong Tinggi Estates were under Malayan Producers Ltd., total acreage 2074 acres, of which 1631 acres were for rubber (planted since 1914) and 225 acres for tea (from 1930 and 1937). J.S. Ferguson first came to Malaya in 1906, working at the Gula Estate in Perak. He then spent ten years at Sungkai and Chumor Estates in Perak, becoming General Manager of Chumor Estate in 1912. He became his own visiting agent in 1926 and was later joined by Sydney Bacon Palmer [later Sir Sydney]. He went to Changkat Kinding Estate in 1930. With the cultivation of tea, Ferguson became one of Malayan lowland tea pioneers.
4 thoughts on “TA 0930 – THE LOST MG TA CREAM CRACKER”
Thanks for an interesting article.
Didn’t realise my Godfather Jack Ashby was so famous!
My family moved into their house in the 60s when my family suffered bad times.
Jack and his Wife were very kind to us.
I used to help him clean his car a Sunbeam Talbot – it was a weekly routine!