Located at the junction of Beach Street and Downing Street, and originally part of the British Government Offices complex, this Neo-Classical style building now houses the Islamic Council of Penang. The building was constructed in 1907, and is a fine example of colonial architecture commonly found in the heritage zone of George Town.
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).
This Beach Street fire station was opened for operations in 1909, one of the only two fire stations on the island at that time. Before this, the policemen were the only paid force on call to put out fires. It is also considered as a landmark in the area with its four-storey tower which was designed and built with both western and mughal influences.
The Standard Chartered Bank of Penang is an old building dated back during the British Colonization with British Palladian architecture. The bank is located at Beach Street, Georgetown, the island’s ‘financial district’.
The Palladian architecture is a European style of architecture derived from the designs of the Venetian architect Andrea Palladio. The design was briefly popular in Britain during the 17th to 18th century.