Governor of Phrae to set up investigation committee behind the demolition of 127-year-old wooden house

Kanpremprit Chitanon, governor of Phrae province, will now set up a committee to investigate the demolition of Phrae’s historic Bombay Burmah Trading building, a 127-year-old two-story teak house, after huge public backlash, reporters said Tuesday.

Over 50 Phrae residents along with the Phrae Old City Conservation Network met with the governor on Tuesday to demand answers after one of the province’s most iconic vintage buildings was brought down, according to local television channel Thai PBS.

The building previously belonged to an Indian public company called Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation, founded by the Wallace Brothers. It was the leading producer of teak in Burma and Siam in the 1870s.

Representatives said that the 127-year-old colonial architecture house, which is part of Phrae’s Forest Learning Center, is a part of the province’s heritage and history. 

The reconstruction and repair project proceeded without proper education and failed to follow academic standards in the preservation and rehabilitation of buildings, according to the representatives.

It also did not comply with the policies for preservation, conservation, and development by Phrae’s Old City Conservation Network.

The network representatives, therefore, called for all relevant departments to immediately suspend the project and disclose all project information to the public so they can participate in the rehabilitation and development of the arboretum.

They also called for an inspection into those responsible for demolishing and destroying the historic building.

The destruction of the building was under the supervision of Phrae’s Office of Conservation Area 13, which is a part of a 4.56 million baht reconstruction project with the Forest Learning Center at Chetawan Arboretum.

Reporters also found that more historic buildings had been taken down, such as the East Asiatic Institution that was once used to impart knowledge on forestry in Phrae.

Kanpremprit revealed that the government office sent officials into the area for preliminary inspection as soon as the matter was known and ordered the establishment of an investigative committee.

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