Home Coronavirus: Community response Do you know about Knowsley’s ‘Malayan Connection’?

Do you know about Knowsley’s ‘Malayan Connection’?

by Laura Johnston

Knowsley Council recently completed an exciting Heritage Lottery funded project rediscovering the importance of the site of the Malayan Teacher Training College (MTTC) which was located in Kirkby following World War II.

From 1952 to 1962, the college trained over 1,900 young Malayans to teach in schools in their Malaya homeland (now Malaysia).

It was at the college, on 7 February 1956, that the Malayan Government first announced to the world that Malaya would become an independent nation on 31 August 1957.

A delegation in London for a conference on the future of Malaya made a visit to the college the following day. MTTC Kirkby made headlines in both Britain and Malaya on 8 February 1956 following the announcement.

Researchers at the Archive Resource for Knowsley (ARK) now want to speak to anyone who remembers the Malayan Teacher Training College. Local people may have taught or worked at the college, or met and socialised with the Malayan trainee teachers while they were studying in Kirkby.

Kirkby is well remembered in Malaysia. Over the years, alumni from the college have been to Kirkby to see the ARK’s collection and have contributed new and exciting items. The ARK researchers will capture their stories and reflections as part of the project.

Cllr Shelley Powell, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Wellbeing and Customer Services, said: “This promises to be another fascinating Heritage Lottery Funded ARK project, uncovering more of the borough’s rich heritage and how events which have taken place here have shaped the world.

“It will be really interesting to hear people’s recollections of the college and its Malayan students, and of course fascinating to hear from the graduates themselves who now live all over the world.”

Teacher training in Kirkby Fields

Due to a shortage of teachers in Britain at the end of World War II the Government established temporary colleges in different parts of the country. Kirkby Fields’ former World War II munition workers’ barracks were used by the Liverpool Corporation as a teacher training college until 1951.

There was also an urgent need for English teachers in Malaya after the Second World War. Offers were sent to all British colonies and the Government of the Federation of Malaya decided to use the facilities in Kirkby Fields as a teachers’ training college.

The site was handed over to the Malaya Teachers’ Training College in 1952, which was based there until its closure in 1962.

The area is now Granbourne Chase, where a plaque has now been unveiled to commemorate the college on the green, which marks the centre of the original college site.

Some of the former students of the Malayan Teacher Training College in Kirkby back at Granborne Chase, where it once stood

Some of the former students of the Malayan Teacher Training College in Kirkby back at Granborne Chase, where it once stood