The Penang Old City Hall and Town Hall are located next to each other at the Esplanade. The two buildings, also located at the World Heritage Site, are fine examples of British colonial buildings and architecture.
The Old City Hall was built in 1903 with a typical design of the British Palladian architecture during the British colonial era. The design of the Old City Hall is almost similar to the nearby Old Town Hall, which features the balcony as a main element overlooking the esplanade. The Old City Hall is currently houses the offices of the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP).
The Old Town Hall (as shown below) was once a premier site for social gathering and activities in George Town for the town’s European community and is also the oldest Municipal Building in Penang. The building’s foundation was first laid on 1st January 1879 by Lt. Governor Sir Archibald Edward Harbord Anson. The building was built over a land area of 70,711 square feet facing the famous Esplanade. Upon completion in 1880, the building was officiated by Frederick Weld, the then Governor of the Straits Settlements.
Located in the heart of George Town and the heritage zone, St. George’s Church is the oldest Anglican church in Southeast Asia. Built in 1816 and completed in 1818 on the initiative of the Penang Colonial Chaplain, Rev. Robert Sparke Hutchings (who was also the founder of Penang Free School), the building of the church was done with the help of The East India Company.
The Georgian Palladium architecture of the church was designed by Captain Robert N. Smith of Madras Engineers, a renowned designer and artist at that time. On the lawn of the St George’s Church is the Francis Light Memorial, which was built in 1886 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the founding of Penang by Captain Francis Light.
In 2007, the church was declared one the 50 National Treasures of Malaysia by the Malaysian government.
The church is on the corner of Lebuh Farquhar and Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling at George Town. The church underwent renovation in 2010 and was reopened in early 2011.
Services in English are held on Sundays at 8.30am and 10.30am. The church is also lit up every night from 7:30pm to 10pm for a beautiful night view.
Built during the British rule, Fort Cornwallis is the largest fort still remaining in Malaysia. This old star-shaped fort is situated at the north-eastern side of Penang island. The fort is named after Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis who was the Governor General of Bengal, India in the late 18th century.
Captain Sir Francis Light took possession of the island from the Sultan of Kedah in 1786 and built the original fort. It was a nibong (Malay: palm trunk) stockade with no permanent structures, covering an area of 417.6 square feet (38.80 m2). Despite the fort’s original purpose to serve the Royal artillery troops and the military, historically it was more for administrative purpose than defensive.
The Beach Street in Penang is a busy street during the weekdays as it is also known as Penang’s banking or financial district. Rows of historical and heritage buildings converted into banks and financial institutions lined up the street. Most of these heritage buildings retain their old appearance and architecture despite being used as modern financial centers by their owners.
Being one of the oldest streets in Malaysia, Beach Street’s history stretches back to the founding of Penang island as a trading port. Prior to a land reclamation during the late 1800s to early 1900s, Beach Street was actually built along the coastline of eastern Penang island in the 1780s. Hence, the shape of the street was curved and it started from Pesara King Edward roundabout (north) all the way to C.Y. Choy Road (south).