Magazine Road is a major one-way road that cuts through the George Town city centre. Running along KOMTAR, 1st. Avenue Mall, Sia Boey Market and high-rise hotels, it stretches from its eastern intersection with Magazine Road Ghaut and Bridge Street towards Magazine Circus to the west. Magazine Circus, where Magazine Road, Penang Road, Macalister Road, Dato' Keramat Road and Brick Kiln Road meet, is now regarded as the centrepoint of George Town.
The road is also the northernmost road within George Town's Seven Streets Precint, where Straits Eclectic-style houses were built in the early 20th. century, creating an urban residential area.
Ongoing developments along Magazine Road has served to underscore its importance as one of the major thoroughfares in the heart of George Town. Shophouses along the road are being restored, even as a new high-rise executive suite is being constructed just opposite KOMTAR. In addition, an LRT interchange station is to be built at the former Sia Boey Market under the Penang Transport Master Plan.
Magazine Road was named after a British-owned ammunition depot located at Magazine Circus (where GAMA now stands).
As Magazine Road is also the first road to the south the Prangin Canal, the Chinese called it Koay Kang'a Th'au3 Tiau3 Lor3 in Hokkien, meaning 'the first road after the canal'.
Magazine Road has been in existence since at least the late 19th. century, when the Prangin Canal was created. The canal was created by extending the original river inland towards Transfer Road, which now lies to the west of KOMTAR. In the past, the Prangin Canal enabled the transportation of fresh agricultural produce downstream, as well as the upstream distribution of goods from the Port of Penang.
At the time, the area around Magazine Road was a collection of Hokkien villages surrounded by mangrove swamps. Agricultural activities were still possible, however, and the fresh produce was then sent to the adjacent Sia Boey Market and the Prangin Canal.
Towards the end of the 19th. century, George Town began to expand southwards beyond the Prangin Canal. Magazine Road, immediately south of the canal, was the first of the nine parallel streets that were created to form a new residential quarter known as Chit Tiau Lor ('Seven Streets Precint' in Hokkien). Straits Eclectic-style terrace houses were built between the late 19th. century and the 1930s, catering mostly to the middle-class Chinese.
Magazine Road underwent yet another major transformation towards the end of the 20th. century. With the construction of KOMTAR in the 1970s and 1980s, Magazine Road turned into a major thoroughfare in the heart of George Town, lined with high-rises containing administrative, retail and accommodation services. The addition of 1st. Avenue Mall and St. Giles Wembley Hotel in recent years have also added to the bustle of the road.
As of July 2016, a new high-rise named Summit 191 is being constructed just opposite KOMTAR. It also comprises double-storey heritage shophouses at the foot of Summit 191 which are being refurbished. Another row of shophouses near the eastern end of Magazine Road is also being restored at the time of writing.
Meanwhile, the now-abandoned Sia Boey Market has been earmarked for a major rail interchange station to connect the different LRT and monorail lines proposed under the Penang Transport Master Plan.
From east to west :
The Women Construction Workers Murals, which depict Chinese women who worked as construction workers for much of the 19th. century, were painted at the side walls of the Hui Aun Association. It commemorates the contribution, in Penang's construction industry, of female Hokkien workers, many of whom were also members of the association.
- Bee Hong Coffee Shop
Penang State Government
Western stretch between Magazine Circus and McNair Street
N.28 Komtar State Assemblyman : Teh Lai Heng (Democratic Action Party)
N.27 Pengkalan Kota State Assemblyman : Lau Keng Ee (Democratic Action Party)
Malaysian Federal Parliament
P.049 Tanjong Member of Parliament : Ng Wei Aik (Democratic Action Party)
- Khoo S.N., 2007. Streets of George Town, Penang. Areca Books.