India House, George Town, Penang

India House, at the junction between Beach Street and Church Street Ghaut

The India House at the junction between Beach Street and Church Street Ghaut within George Town's UNESCO World Heritage Site is an Art-Deco styled double storey building. Built in 1937 by an ethnic Indian, it was finished in Shanghai plaster, giving the building its dull grey look.

The building was left unoccupied during the Japanese Occupation of Penang in World War 2. After the war, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) was temporarily housed inside the building until the completion of the HSBC Building in 1951. The India House was subsequently used by the United States Information Service (USIS) up to the 1970s.


The land on which the India House now stands was previously occupied by a number of businesses. The Huttenbach Brothers & Co, a mercantile shipping firm, and Frazer and Neave, now famous for its brand of canned soft drinks, were sited here in the early 20th. century.

The India House was built by S.N.A.S Sockalingam Chettiar between 1937 and 1941. It was constructed in the Indian Art-Deco style and finished in Shanghai plaster. At the time, it was the highest assessment payer along Beach Street.

The building was still unoccupied by the time the Imperial Japanese Army invaded Penang Island in December 1941.

After World War 2, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) was temporarily housed inside India House, as the bank's headquarters was destroyed during the war. HSBC was finally relocated into the HSBC Building upon its completion in 1951.

The India House subsequently accommodated the Lincoln Resource Centre of the United States Information Service (USIS) until the 1970s. The Lincoln Resource Centre was one of the many well-stocked libraries established worldwide by the USIS to promote an understanding of the United States of America 'as a nation, its institutions, culture and ideals'.

Political Representation

Penang State Government

N.26 Padang Kota State Assemblyman : Chow Kon Yeow (Democratic Action Party)

Malaysian Federal Parliament

P.049 Tanjong Member of Parliament : Ng Wei Aik (Democratic Action Party)


  1. Hockton, K., Howard Tan, 2012. Penang : An Inside Guide to Its Historic Homes, Buildings, Monuments and Parks. MPH Group, Kuala Lumpur.
  2. Langdon, M. A Guide to George Town's Historic Commercial and Civic Precints. George Town World Heritage Incorporated, Penang.
  3. Khoo S.N., 2007. Streets of George Town, Penang. Areca Books.

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