by Khoo Salma Nasution
30 October 1997
The Cultural Heritage Area is part of the earliest and, historically, the most well-endowed part of George Town. Built up over a period of more than 200 years, it offers an evocative and readable record of the diverse cultural traditions of a largely immigrant society.
George Town was a colonial port town first laid out by the British in 1786 when Penang island, belonging to Kedah, was occupied by the British as a base for trading between India, China and the archipelago. The temporary occupation was later legalised through gunboat diplomacy and in 1800 an additional strip known as Province Wellesley on the other side of the channel was also acquired.
The focus of the area consists of two main sections: the first commercial town, based on the grid laid out by Captain Francis Light; and, south of this, the ‘Malay Town’ of Popham’s map 1798 map, subsequently carved out into Armenian Street and Acheen Street. The study area was already built up soon after 1800.
Even today, the roofscape reveals a juxtaposition of temples and shophouses with their inner courtyards and striking gables, domes and minarets and hip-rooofed bungalows. The urban pattern has survived intact, with its closely-knit shophouse ensembles without back lanes, and its narrow streets and quaint alleys, enclosed squares and surprise entrances.
URBAN HISTORY OF EARLY GEORGE TOWN
George Town was laid out on a promontory known as Tanjung Penaigre, named after the Penaga tree. ‘The commercial town was paid out by Light between Light Street, Beach Street (then running close to the seashore) Malabar Street (subsequently called Chulia Street), and Pitt Street’. 
The Eurasians settled in Bishop and Church Streets, the Chinese in China Street, and the Indian Muslims in Chulia Street. Within a short time, there were more than 60 Chinese families, in addition to Malabari merchants and Malay itinerant traders.
By 1793, there were ‘about 20 houses, and numerous godowns and shops, belonging to Europeans and Natives, the whole valued at Spanish Dollars 88,850’ as well as government buildings priced at Spanish dollars 126,000.
The site of Georgetown was a low-lying swampy area which had to be progressively drained. In 1803, Leith wrote that ‘The Streets which cross each other at right angles, are spacious and airy, but having been at first merely lined out, without being either raised or drained, they were frequently impassable after hard rain....’. The first public building, acquired by the East India Company in 1803, was ‘a large strong airy commodious building, for a Jail...’ This building, at the corner of Beach and Acheen Streets was later known as Gedung Aceh.
Among the institutions in the commercial town which date their foundation back to the Leith administration (1800-1803), when the first grants were issued by the East India Company, are the Kong Hock Keong (Goddess of Mercy Temple), the Kapitan Keling Mosque, the Tseng Lung and Kar Yin Hakka associations along King Street and the Kwantung and Tengchew Association on Penang Street. Over the next decade the Nagore shrine, built by Indian traders from Nagore; the Masjid Melayu, founded by the Arab merchant-prince from Aceh; and the Cantonese Tua Pek Kong Temple, on King Street; were also established.
Pitt Street (now called Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling) was reserved for religious institutions. Today, the St. George’s Church (1818), the Goddess of Mercy Temple (1800), the Mariamman Temple (1833), the Kapitan Kling Mosque (1800), the Khoo Kongsi (1851) and the Acheen Street Mosque (1808) are all laid out on the Pitt Street and Cannon Street axis.
From 1789 onwards, convict labour was imported from India and used in making bricks and constructing public buildings. This facility was augmented when Penang was made a penal colony for India. The earliest brick buildings - the Kapitan Kling Mosque, the Nagore shrine, and possibly the Acheen Street Mosque - were built by Indian Muslim builders. Early accounts also mention Chinese and Indian bricklayers, as well as Chinese, Malay, Indian and Parsi carpenters, and Chinese joiners. Low, in particular, says, ‘Malayan carpenters, sufficiently expert in house-building, may be had at about half a rupee, or even less, a day’.
Already in 1803, Leith noted that ‘Brick buildings are now common, and the Cajan Houses, of which George Town was originally built, are disappearing very fast.’ After the fires of 1789, 1808, 1812 and 1826, where half the town was reduced to ashes, a better class of houses of bricks and tile roofs were built. Crawfurd who visited in 1821 said that ‘The town, which had been once almost entirely burnt down, was now constructed of more solid materials, and many new roads had been formed through the country.’
Bricks and terracotta tiles were made in Prai, timber came from the interior, granite was locally quarried, marble was brought in from Langkawi and near the Muda River. In the late 19th century, lime came from the Dindings and marble from around Ipoh. A late 19th century observer wrote that in Pulau Pangkor, ‘The dry coral is easily burned by the Chinese into lime, and procures a high price for building purposes at Penang.’  Finally, the buildings were limewashed yellow or blue, with colours deriving from yellow ochre or indigo pigments. Jade green limewash became fashionable among the Straits Chinese towards the turn of the century, especially when they began to adopt a Victorian green colour scheme for wood and iron.
The first generation buildings were the most modest in stature. Striking examples of the early fabric can be seen in the Nagore shrine and the two adjoining shophouses, a Chinese shophouse at 81 Lebuh Pasar, and an Indian Muslim house, with Doric columns at the porch at, 61 Queen Street.
The style of building was generally similar to that found in the Straits Settlements. The mid-19th century observer Cameron remarked on five-footways as ‘verandahs of a certain width for foot passengers.’ He also described the ‘native part of the town’ in Singapore:
The buildings are closely packed together and of a uniform height and character. The style is a sort of compromise between English and Chinese. The walls are of brick, plastered over, and the roofs are covered with tiles. The windows are lattice woodwork - there being no glazing in this part of the world. ....Underneath run, for the entire length of the streets, the enclosed verandahs of which I spoke before, and in a quiet observant walk through these a very great deal may be learned concerning the peculiar manners and customs of the trading inhabitants.
By the second quarter of the 19th century, the commercial town had consolidated into a grid of brick shophouses run by shopkeepers. The ‘true’ shophouses had open shopfronts on the ground floor which were boarded up at night, operated by single male immigrants who lodged upstairs. ‘Houses were of unequal magnitude and mostly small and crowded. The upper parts of the shops were used for sleeping.’
The most expensive properties were closest to the important roads, Light Street and Beach Street. As a trading address, however, China Street was second only to Beach Street, as shown in the taxes levied per 20 feet in 1826. For the first 100 years or so, the main street of the Chinese was China Street, which led from the seafront to the foremost Chinese temple, the Kong Hock Keong (Goddess of Mercy Temple) on Pitt Street, jointly established by the Cantonese and Hokkien communities.
The impressive residences of the pioneering Chinese merchants are found along the eastern end of China Street. The Chinese elite of the day stayed in these townhouses, which also accommodated womenfolk and children - it was not until the turn of the century that they moved out to bungalows in the suburbs. These houses feature a precious ceramic shard decoration, which occurs not only on temples but also in the vernacular, non-religious, buildings in Penang and Malacca. Some exquisite examples are found on houses in the cultural heritage area, though in most cases they have been painted over. They caught Cameron’s eye in Singapore:
Under the windows of many houses occupied by Chinese are very chaste designs of flowers or birds in porcelain. The ridges of the roofs, too, and the eaves, are frequently similarly ornamented, and it is no unusual thing to see a perfect little garden of flowers and vegetables in boxes and pots exposed on the tops of the houses.
The Cantonese and Hakka formed Landsmannschaft, associations for migrants from the same county or prefecture in China. Successive waves of these migrants established no less than 12 temples and associations along King Street alone; three in Penang Street and one on Chulia Street. In contrast, the Hokkiens set up temples based on clan village affiliations.
Occupational guilds such as associations of goldsmiths and carpenters were formed, especially by the Cantonese. The ‘black-and-white’ domestic servants who came to work in Penang in the 1930s located their shared quarters (kongsi pang) at Love Lane, Muntri Street, Market Lane and Chulia Lane - in the neighbourhood of the Goddess of Mercy Temple.
The Chinese groups lived and traded on their own streets - the Hokkiens along Pitt, China, Armenian and Acheen streets; the Cantonese along Bishop, Church, Penang and Chulia streets and Love Lane; the Hakkas along Queen, King and Market streets, and the Teochius along Kampong Kolam and Carnarvon Street. The Muslim population were likewise clustered in distinct but contiguous neighbourhoods.
According to historical accounts, after the success of Singapore port and the formation of the Straits Settlements in 1826, the Penang settlement was left to flounder. However, one could argue that the period between 1826-1867 was one where the ethnic communities consolidated their position in George Town, and this is reflected by the buildings in the cultural heritage area.
From the 1840s-70s, the East Coast of Sumatra was developed with pepper plantations. During this period, much of the Muslim settlement at Acheen and Armenian Street was bought over by Straits Chinese merchants who were trading with the Acehnese chiefs. The former merchants built lavish residential terrace houses along Armenian Street, with reception halls classically decorated with blackwood furniture, console tables, Italian mirrors and gilded timber screens. The relatively low Chinese houses with their ceramic shard decorations along Armenian Street and Acheen Street, near the Beach Street end, were built first and the blocks gradually extended to the other end of the street.
Beginning with the Cheah Kongsi which purchased the site of their kongsi in 1828, the Hokkien clan associations - the Yeoh, the Khoo, the Lim and the Tan - moved into this area. A strategic enclave was reserved for the Tua Pek Kong Society to which these ‘Five Great Lineages’ collectively belonged. These institutions bought up large plots of land to build their clan temples and surrounding rowhouses for their clansmen. Newly immigrant clan members were absorbed through these lodges. The Khoo clan purchased their site in 1851, first building the rowhouses to lodge the immigrants, and finally the Khoo Kongsi clan temple which was completed only in 1906.
In 1867, the study area was the scene of feuds between rival societies in what has become Penang’s most famous 19th century event, the Penang Riots. The Tua Pek Kong and Red Flag alliance which had their strongholds in the Hokkien Tua Pek Kong Temple (Hock Teik Cheng Sin) and the Masjid Melayu respectively, fortified themselves against the Ghee Hin White Flag alliance who had their bases to the north (Church Street) and to the East (Jalan Pintal Tali).
The Masjid Melayu, or Acheen Street Mosque, was founded by Tengku Syed Hussain, who came with his clan and settled in Penang in 1792. He was the patron of the Malay and Sumatran community along Acheen Street. This community in the mid-19th century included a colony of about 300 Acehnese traders. In the 1870s the Gedung Aceh was the meeting place of the Council of Eight, the Acehnese resistance against the Dutch.
The pepper trader Syed Mohd Alatas, who had his home on Armenian Street, was one of the Acehnese resistance. He was allied by marriage to the foremost Straits Chinese pepper merchant Khoo Tiang Poh, who supposedly gave his son-in-law Syed Alatas a bungalow on Carnarvon Street.
Ibrahim Munshi, the State Secretary of Johore and the son of Abdullah Munshi, who visited Penang in 1872 and “went exploring all the lanes of Penang town” gave a vivid description of the ethnically mixed Muslim society. He stayed with a friend in Kampong Masjid Melayu, where he was entertained by Penang-born Indians performing refined Hindustani songs, soal and ghazal. He feasted at the house of wealthy Indian Muslim kain pulicat traders Dalbidal and Yahya Marican - probably at their home in Market Lane, a large early 19th century brick bungalow. Ibrahim Munshi remarked that some of the Malays are shoe-makers:
in Jalan Masjid Melayu, called Acheen Street in English, where there is a large Malay mosque. It is not of particularly good construction and is old, dilapidated and quite dirty, but it is built of stone and has a tiled roof. The Southern India and ‘Bazaar Malay’ (Jawi Pekan) quarter is in the street named Chulia Street, where they are found in great numbers, and here, too, there is a mosque, also built of stone and tiled.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many lodges developed around Acheen Street to house pilgrims from northern Malaya, southern Thailand and northern Sumatra who came to Penang to take the ship to Mecca. Arab traders and sheikh hajis were joined by Minang food-vendors and Rawa textile and book traders.
The Indian Muslims were among the earliest settlers in Penang; their numbers until the mid-19th century were almost as high as that of the Chinese. The Captain of the Kelings founded the Kapitan Kling Mosque in Chulia Street, which initially had 18 acres of waqf land around the mosque. Chulia Street boasts a number of Indian Muslim mosques and keramats representing the different groups of Indian Muslims, such as the Nagore shrine (early 1800s) and the Noordin tomb (1870s).
The Captain of the Klings himself had his house in Kampong Kolam, where his tomb is located. The Kapitan Keling Mosque, enlarged several times, remained the focus of the Indian Muslim trading community of jewellers, shippers, textile merchants and petty traders. After the Muslim Endowment Board took over the waqf lands, the vernacular hipped-roof mosque was given a new image (circa 1917) complete with Indian Moghul revival-style domes.
The Board also undertook a large-scale urban renewal project from the 1900s-1930s, clearing not only the houses in the mosque compound, but also Kampong Kolam and Kampong Kaka. Fresh roads, including Buckingham Street, were created. The new mixed housing and commercial premises built by the Board’s European architects to resettle the old ‘squatters’ provided a sympathetic setting for the mosque. Some of the early experiments for low-rise social housing were also constructed here in the 1930s.
Kampong Takia and Kampong Wakab were cleared at the turn of the century to create Ah Quee Street and Lumut Lane respectively. A few of the ‘Indo-Malay compound houses’ typically found in those urban kampongs have survived along Pitt Street and in the compound of the Acheen Street Mosque. They were the homes of upper class Muslims, both Indians and Arabs, and later of the Jawi Peranakan families, fitting the description found in Low’s dissertation of 1836:
A substantial bungalow, from 60-70 feet long by 34-40 broad - the under story of brick and mortar, the upper constructed with the best kinds of wood, with a tiled roof, and the whole interior and exterior of the upper story painted - might be built perhaps for some twelve hundred Spanish dollars. ... Some of the richest natives are beginning to build brick houses.
It was only after the first hundred years or so that Hindu labourers from India immigrated in larger numbers than the Muslims. The Hindu dock-workers had their lodge at Church Street, while the traders moved into Market Street. Both Indian Muslims and Hindus today contribute to the living cultural area that is Little India. Their festivals are still flourishing. The annual Thaipusam festival of Hindu kavadi-carriers begins its journey from the Mariamman temple at Queen Street (1833), while the Chettiar’s silver chariot departs from the garage in Penang Street, opposite the chettiar temple (1850). For the Muslims, the annual Ramadan bazaar takes place long Queen Street at the junction with Market Street.
In the fourth quarter of the 19th century, Penang served as the base for British intervention into the Malay States, and its status as a port was revived by the development of tin-mining in Perak. In the age of the steamship and the Suez Canal, European interests and fashions acquired greater force. From the 1880s to 1900s, Weld Quay was reclaimed and the Swettenham Pier created. Competition from European business and the loss of the waterfront spelt the beginning of the decline of the cultural heritage area as the focus of local shipping and mercantile activity.
The European perception of Georgetown in 1891 reveals the town’s orientation:
Adjoining to (Fort Cornwallis) are the public buildings (Light Street); then come to English merchants’ houses of business and the Chinamen’s European stores (Beach Street and Bishop Street), and beyond them are streets of Chinese shops and Klings’ Bazaars.
Thus our study area of ‘Chinese shops and Klings’ bazaars’ south of Church Street, stands last in the hierarchy of accessibility to the European visitor. A police station and a market placed was sited longdituindally in the middle of the extraordinarily broad Pitt Street.
In 1908, another account confirms the European perception that the commercial town had now become the ‘native quarter’.
All the streets west of Beach Street follow a rectangular design, which renders the task of finding one’s way about the town simplicity itself, and within those streets nearest to Beach Street are to be found the best studies of Oriental arts and industries. ... At the (southern half), the proverbial industry of the Chinese is well empahsised; for, long after his European rival in business has not only gone home for the day, but retired for the night as well, the Chinaman has his shop brightly lit up with great hanging lamps, and an army of assistants, clerks, and coolies are hard at work.
And then there are Asiatics of other nationalities, who have, metaphorically “pitched their tents” in Pinang in order to gain a livelihood - the Indian money-changers, whose stalls are to be seen on every pavement; the Chetty money-lenders, whose habitations are to be found clustered together in a row in Pinang Street and King Street; the Sinhalese silver-ware dealer and vendor of lace; the “Bombay merchant,” who stocks everything from curious to cottons... All these and more are to be met with in Pinang, which is nothing if not cosmopolitan.”
In local eyes, the cultural heritage maintained its prestige as the commercial, religious and cultural centre of George Town. At the turn of the century, Chinese education was sponsored by many of the existing associations, while Muslim education incubated in the waqf properties. From the 1909-1911, the Chinese Republican movement led by Dr. Sun Yat Sen placed its South-east Asian headquarters at 120 Armenian Street, while a number of its followers’ properties in Acheen Street and Malay Street were later converted into Kuomintang bases. Just around the turn of the century, some of the earliest vernacular newspapers began to be published by the Chinese, Tamil and Malay Jawi presses in this area.
For the 100 hundred years or so, the public buildings in George Town had been mainly designed by engineers and constructed by convict labour, while the majority of other buildings were produced by master builders and artisans. The advent of British empire architecture in the late 19th century influenced the tastes of the Penang elite.
The Straits Chinese discarded their ceramic shard ornamentation for stucco flourishes. Stucco skills, at first the specialisation of Malabari craftsmen, were successfully imitated by Chinese plasterers by the turn of the century. Late Victorian influences were also interpreted in the form of ornate stucco decoration, sometimes which Chinese themes, an expression which peaked in effusiveness in the 1920s and 1930s. The early 20th century saw some modest rebuilding in the cultural heritage area, and some existing houses routinely renovated their facades to catch up with the times. European department stores began importing glass epernes, cast iron beds, Bentwood chairs and Italian mirrors for local households.
In terms of commercial and domestic architecture, the premier architectural achievements of 1900 onwards are mainly to be found beyond the cultural heritage area – the commercial buildings along Beach Street and Weld Quay, and the domestic buildings along Northam Road (now Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah).
However, the religious edifices continued to be built and rebuilt in the cultural heritage area throughout the ages. In the 19th century, these were constructed by traditional masters from China or India. Innovations included what Kohl calls the “Penang-style Temple”, exemplified by the Cheah Kongsi and the Tua Pek Kong Temple on Armenian Street. The Masjid Melayu or Acheen Street Mosque added a Moorish facade in the 1900s, and the Noordin tomb also acquired a new front.
After the turn of the century, the architectural plans were in the hands of modern design firms who, no doubt, still employed traditional builders. European architects sometimes sought their inspiration from the Moghul Revival style of British India (Kapitan Keling Mosque extensions circa 1917), or from the compradore styles of the treaty ports of Hong Kong and Shanghai (Toi San Nin Yong Hui Kwon, Wu Ti Meow and Ng See Kah Meow, 1910s, Kwantung & Tengchew Association, 1941). Whatever their influences, the finest craftsmanship and materials were dedicated to these religious monuments.
The contrast between the first (1820s-1860s), second (1870s-1910s) and third (1920s-1940s) generations of buildings is often easily distinguishable from the scale and decoration. The highly detailed ‘Kelly sheets’ of the 1893 survey (scale 1:200, about 100 pieces) provides a guide for dating. They prove, on comparison with surviving buildings, that the cultural heritage area is a repository of a large number of buildings over a century old, and hence eligible for preservation under the Antiquities Act (1976) of Malaysia.
The character of the Cultural Heritage Area was influenced by two developments in the modern period. First, the Rent Control Act (1948) which was applied to all prewar buildings in George Town provided cheap housing and commercial space to tenants who would otherwise have been pushed out of the what is now Penang’s prime commercial area. These tenants carried on the traditional trades and religious traditions of the city. On the other hand, the buildings were not maintained by their owners and allowed to decay. The second factor was the decline of Penang as a port, and the lighterage industry along the Weld Quay waterfront. The loss of free port status affected the entreport trade which was the backbone of Penang’s commercial sector, and also the services which supported the shipping activities of the Port of Penang.
HISTORIC AND CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE
The cultural heritage area is significant as the commercial and religious centre of George Town and also the starting point for many of Penang communities. Through the port came peoples such as Malays from the neighbouring country, Acehnese, Arabs, Armenians, Bataks, Bugis, Burmese, Cantonese, Europeans, Gujeratis, Hakkas, Malabaris, Minangs, Parsis, Siamese and Tamils. In later years, these were followed by the Hainanese, Mandailings, Punjabis, Rawas and Sindhis.
Therefore, not only was there a plurality of peoples with a variety of appearance, dress and language, but also a great diversity of economic activity. Each trade was embodied in a specific cultural form - Cantonese carpenters, Hakka medical dispensers, Hokkien shopkeepers, Malabari tea-stall vendors, Gujerati textile merchants, Arab pilgrim brokers, Acehnese spice-traders. The pre-modern period was an era of guilds and occupational specialisation and it is in this Cultural Heritage Area where such activities are most concentrated. Many of these trades and guilds have survived into contemporary times.
During the first century, the port of Penang was also the most important point of entry in the country - for the Indians, both Muslims and Hindus, to the Straits Settlements; for the Chinese into South Thailand and North Sumatra; and after the 1870s, for Indians, Chinese, Arabs as well as Sumatrans into the rapidly developing hinterland of northern peninsula Malaysia. The immigrants would have stayed temporarily at the lodge (kongsi, sangam or pondok) of one of the ethnic associations in the cultural heritage area, before they made their permanent home somewhere else in Penang or north Malaysia. The religious institutions set up by these settlers promised security and success in the new land.
In this homogenising society, both the religious monuments and vernacular buildings, like living museums of migration, will tell the story of the heterogenous origins of Malaysian society. Many present-day Malaysians would return to this cultural heritage area to seek out their roots and understand the experience of migration, by visiting the institutions and walking the streets trod by the pioneers and observing some of the enduring trades and traditions of old Georgetown. The conservation and interpretation of this area would foster an appreciation of the urban legacy of Penang’s early settlers.
Abdul Kahar bin Yusoff et al, Historical Survey of the Mosques and Kramats on Penang Island, Malayan Teachers’ Training College, Penang, 1974 (unpublished)
ASA 1992, Final Report on the Project Preservation of City Structure in Penang/Malaysia, Research in the Historic Inner City Area of George Town / Penang concerning the Socioeconomic, Art Historical, Architectural Aspects and Traffic Situation.
Braddel, Thomas, Notices of Pinang by Thomas Braddel. Journal of the Indian Archipelago and East Asia (JAIEA), 1858:2, 182-203; 1852:6, 18-32; 83-93; 143-72; 218-38; 521-44; 618-35; 1851: 1-14, 93-119, 1850: 4, 629-44, 645-663. (Kraus reprints.)
Bonney, R. Kedah 1771-1821: The Search for Security and Independence, OUP, 1971
Cameron, John. Our Tropical Possessions in Malayan Indian: Singapore, Penang, Province Wellesley, Malacca. First published 1865. Oxford in Asia historical Reprints Series, OUP, Kuala Lumpur, 1965.
Crawfurd, John. Journal of an Embassy from the Governor-General of India to the Courts of Siam and Cochin China etc. London 1828, reprinted Kuala Lumpur 1967.
Cullin E.G. & Zehnder, W.E., The Early History of Penang, 1952-1827. Criterion Press, Penang, 1905.
Durai Raja Singam, S. Malayan Street Names, Ipoh, n. d.
Franke, Wolfgang and Chen Tieh Fan, Chinese Epigraphic Materials in Malaysia, Volume 2, University of Malay Press, Kuala Lumpur 1987
General Report Upon The Moslem Trusts And Foundations in Penang, Paper to be laid before the Legislative Council etc., No. 13 of 1904 Straits Settlements.
German Conservation Advisory Team, Unit Rancangan Struktur, MPPP, George Town Urban Conservation Programme, Pilot Study, Mac 1989.
George Town. Municipal Council. The Penang Municipal Fire Brigade, 1 January 1909 to 1 January 1925 (offical report). Criterion Press, Penang, 1925.
George Town (Pulau Pinang). City Council. Penang Past and Present, 1786-1963, A Historical Account of the City of George Town since 1786. City Council of George Town, Penang, 1966.
Heritage Buildings of Penang Island, George Town, An Inventory of the Heritage Buildings and Ensembles of George Town, Penang, Volume I, The Historic Centre, Municipal Council of Penang Island, unpublished 1994.
Historical Personalities of Penang. Penang Museum, 1986.
Ibrahim Munshi, The Voyages of Mohamed Ibrahim Munshi, translated, and with an introduction and notes by Amin Sweeney and Nigel Phillips, Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur 1975
Khoo Su Nin, The Development of George Town’s Historic Centre: Urban History Essay, in Heritage Buildings of Penang Island, George Town, An Inventory of the Heritage Buildings and Ensembles of George Town, Penang, Volume I, The Historic Centre, Municipal Council of Penang Island, unpublished 1994.
Khoo Su Nin, Penang’s Historic Melting Pot: The revitlalisation of the Acheen Street- Armenian Street enclave as the central cultural heritage area of George Town’s historic inner city, Penang Island Municipal Council, 1992.
Khoo Su Nin, Streets of George Town, Penang. Janus Print & Resources, Penang 1993.
George Town: Heritage Buildings of Penang Island George Town, Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang, unpublished 1994.
Kohl, David, Chinese Architecture in the Straits Settlements and Western Malaya: Temple, Kongsi and Houses. Singapore: Heinemann, 1984.
Kuchler, Johannes, Penang Kulturlandscaftswandel und Ethnisch - Soziale Struktur einer Insel Malaysians (Penang, Malaysia: Changes in its Cultural Landscape and Social Geography). Germany: Gieben W. Schmitz, 1968.
Leith, George, A Short Account of the Settlement, Produce and Commerce of Prince of Wales Island in the Straits of Malacca. J. Booth, London 1804.
Lo Man Yuk Chinese Names of Streets in Penang. JSBRAS, 1900: 33, 197-246.
Low, James. The British Settlement of Penang. First printed 1836. Oxford in Asia Historical Reprints, Oxford University Press, Singapore 1972.
Historical Memoir Relative to Prince of Wales Island in the Straits of Malacca and Its Importance, Political and Commercial. London: J. Hart, 1803.
Mak Lau Fong, The Sociology of Secret Societies: A Study of Chinese Secret Societies in Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia, Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur, 1981.
Morley, JA, The Arabs and the Eastern Trade JMBRAS, 1949: 22 (1), 143-76.
McNair, J.F., Perak and the Malays, (First published in 1878) OUP, 1972.
Newbold, T.J., Political And Statistical Account Of The British Settlements In The Straits Of Malacca, 2 Vols. London, 1839, reprinted Kuala Lumpur, 1971.
Omar Farouk Shaeik Ahmad, The Arabs in Penang, Malaysia in History, 1978: 21, 1-16.
Ooi Keat Gin, The Block and White Amahs, JMBRAS, Vol 65, part II, pg. 69-84.
Penang Historical Society (transcription). Minutes of Evidence taken before the Commissioners under the Penang Riots Enquiry Act of 1867.
Penang, Past and Present 1786-1963: A historical account of the City of George Town since 1786, City Council of George Town, 1966.
Penang through old picture postcards. Published by the Penang Museum 1986.
Popham, Home, Penang - Description of Prince of Wales Island in the Straits of Malacca; with its Real and Probable Advantages and Sources to Recommed it as a Marine Establishment. London: J. Stockdale, 1805.
Purcell, V.W.W.S., Early Penang, The Pinang Gazette Press, Ltd., 1928.
Quah Chin Eng, Differentiation within the Chinese community in Penang. Gardner, Stuart (ed.) Malaysian Ethnic Relations. School of Social Sciences Mimeo Penang USM 1975,
Reid, Anthony, The Contest for North Sumatra, OUP, 1969
Sandhu, K.S., Indians in Malaya. Immigration and Settlement 1786-1957. Cambridge 1969.
Stark, Paul, The Mosques and the Waqf Endowments, in Danvers Architects, Conservation Study of the Kapitan Keling Mosque, Georg Town, Penang Malaysia, SAHCC, July 1996, p. 10-20
Sultan-ud-din-Merican, K. Sultan Merican: A Brief Autobiography. Malaysia in History, 1978: 21, 70-4.
(Tan Kim Hong), The Chinese in Penang: A Pictorial Documentation, Penang Chinese Town Hall, 1987.
Tan Poh Choo, Joseline, History of Penang: A selected and annotated bibliography, Kumpulan Wang Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang untuk Pengajian Pembangunan, dan Perpustakaan Universiti Sains Malaysia 1991.
Tregonning, K.G., The British in Malaya: The First Forty years, 1786-1826. Assocition of Asian Studies, Arizona, 1965.
Turnbull, C.M., The Straits Settlements 1826-67, Indian Presidency to Crown Colony, OUP, Singapore 1972.
Turnbull, C.M., Convicts in the Straits Settlements, JMBRAS Vol 43, Part I, p. 87
Vaughan, JD, Notes on the Malays of Pinang and Province Wellesley. Journal of the Indian Archipelago, 1858: 2, 115-75
Wright, Arnold & Cartwright, H.A. (ed.), Twentieth Century Impressions of British Malaya: Its History, People, Commerce, Industries and Resources. London: Lloyd’s Greater Britain Pub. Co., 1908. 3 volumes.
Yegar, Moshe, Islam and Islamic Institutions in British Malaya: Policies and Implementation, Jerusalem 1979.
Zainol bin Jusoh, Pulau Pinang dan Seberang Perai 1890-1940: Satu Kajian mengenai Penglibatan orang-Orang Melayu dalam Pakatan Sulit Bendera Merah dan Pakatan Sulit Bendera Putih, Unpublished B.A. Academic Exercise, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 1982.
The following documents were all previously compiled in:
Khoo Su Nin, The Development of George Town’s Historic Centre: Urban History Essay, in Heritage Buildings of Penang Island, George Town, An Inventory of the Heritage Buildings and Ensembles of George Town, Penang, Volume I, The Historic Centre, Municipal Council of Penang Island, unpublished 1994.
1. Plan of Fort Cornwallis, with the Town on the East Point of the Island, Popham, 1798, (referred to as the ‘Popham Map 1798’)
2. Plan of George Town in 1803 (referred to as the ‘Leith Map 1803’).
3. Plans of George Town, Prince of Wales Island, 1803-1807-8, from Penang, Past and Present, published by the City Council of George Town, Penang, based on Purcell. Reproduced at the back of Penang, Past and Present 1786-1963: A historical account of the City of George Town since 1786, City Council of George Town, 1966.
4. Plan of George Town, Prince of Wales Island, with Pitt Street prolonged to the Prangin River and widened to 120 feet. (1814-1820?)
5. The Anchorage Enlarged, Moore 1832.
6. Map of George Town (1820-1851?)
7. Plan of George Town, Prince of Wales Island, 1877
8. A Plan of George Town Prince of Wales Island 1883. Reproduced at the back of Penang, Past and Present 1786-1963: A historical account of the City of George Town since 1786, City Council of George Town, 1966.
9. Map of George Town, 1893, surveyed by H.L. Pemberton and subsurveyors. Superintendent of Survey F.W. Kelly.
10. A Plan of George Town, Prince of Wales Island, 1833, from Penang, Past and Present, published by the City Council of George Town, Penang
11. Business and Residential Areas of George Town Penang, 1936.
12. Brick Buildings on Prince of Wales Island - 1793. Appendix A, Penang, Past and Present 1786-1963: A historical account of the City of George Town since 1786, City Council of George Town, 1966.
13. The Committee of Assessors (1826). Appendix C, Penang, Past and Present 1786-1963: A historical account of the City of George Town since 1786, City Council of George Town, 1966.
 Popham Map 1798, Leith Map 1803 (see Appendix); Purcell, p. 82 “In 1807 in George Town Light Street, Pitt Street, Queen Street, King Street, Penang Street, Beach Street, Bishop Street, Church Street, China Street, Market Street, Acheen Street, Malay Street, Chooliah Street, Leith Street, Farquhar Street, Love Lane, and Penang Road had the names they bear to-day. Armenian Street of to-day was Armenian Lane in 1807. Pitt Street included what is now known as Carnarvon Street...”
 Stevens, p. 390
 Captain Kyd’s Report, 1787, JAIEA, Singapore 1850, Vol IV p 641-642
 JIAEA Vol IV, Singapore 1850, p. 663; Vol VI, Singapore 1852, p. 84., ‘Brick Buildings on Prince of Wales Island 1793’ (see Appendix).
 Leith, p.13
 Leith, p.14; Leith Map 1803.
 JAIEA Vol V, Singapore 1951, p. 411, Turnbull, JMBRAS Vol 43, Part I, p. 87.
 Crawfurd p. 20, Low p. 313, 316
 Leith, p.14
 Kuchler, p.33.
 Crawfurd, p.11
 Low, p.313
 McNair, p.7.
 Heritage Buildings of Penang Island, 1994.
 Cameron, p. 53, 59-60
 Ward and Grant 1830, p. 23, 24, mentioned in Kuchler, p.31
 The Committee of Assessors 1826 (See Appendix).
 Unless otherwise stated, the dating for these and other Chinese religious institutions are taken from Franke and Chen, “Chinese Epigraphic Materials in Malaysia.”
 The term “Landsmannschaft” is used in Franke and Chen, in reference to Chia-ying hui kuan, No. 2? Kng Street, p. 769; Ch’ao-chou hui-kuan, No 127 Chulia Street, p. 772; Ning-yang hui-kuan, 36-38 King Street. p. 804; Chung-shan hui kuan, 30 King Street, p. 832; Tseng-lung hui-kuan, No. 20 King Street p. 834; Kuang-tung chi T’ing-chou hui-kuan, No 50 Penang Street, p. 834 and others.
 Mak, p. 42, 78-79, Appendix Map 4B - “Locations of some major Chinese speech groups in the nineteenth-century Straits Settlements. Sources: Surveys on Chinese street names, locations and inscriptions of symbolic edifices; publications of related temples and dialect associations...”
 History of the Cheah Clan, p. 6
 Map of George Town (1820-1851?) (See appendix).
 Penang Historical Society (transcription), The Penang Riots.
 Khoo, The Legacy of Tengku Syed Hussain, The Acheen Street Community: A Melting Pot of the Malay World, and The Acheen Street Mosque, Pulau Pinang Magazine, Vol 2 No 2.
 Location of Dalbidalsah’s home told to the author by the late Dato’ Fathil Basheer. It survives today behind the facade of ‘Modern Hotel’.
 Voyages of Ibrahim Munshi, p. 90-103
 Turnbull (1972), p.7-8
 General Report Upon The Moslem Trusts And Foundations in Penang, 1904.
 Abdul Kahar, Kapitan Kling Mosque, Pitt Street (no paging).
 Low, p. 313
 Sandhu, p.47
 Intelligence Division, War Office - Precis of Information concerning the Straits Settlements and the Native States of the Malay Peninsula, London, p. 78, quoted in Kuchler p. 58
 Map of George Town, 1893 (See appendix).
 Wright and Cartwright, p. 730-1.
 Heritage Buildings of Penang Island, 1994
 Khoo, Su Nin, The Development of George Town’s Historic Centre: Urban History, in the Inventory.