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Residency Road, George Town, Penang

Residency Road, George Town

Residency Road is a major one-way road within the western part of George Town proper. It links Macalister Road to the north with Western Road to the south.

The road, initially named Race Course Road, was created in the late 19th. century. At the time, there was a pressing need to relocate military, medical and sporting facilities to the western edge of George Town. Consequently, the Penang General Hospital still stands to this day along the road.

In 1957, the road was renamed Residency Road after the official residence of the Governor of Penang.

Residency Road sign, George Town, Penang

Residency Road sign

The Polo Ground along the road has been used for recreational and sports activities. Recently, the annual Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta has been held at the field.

Etymology

The road was initially named Race Course Road, as the road led to a nearby horse racing course, where the St. George's Girls' School now stands.

Seri Mutiara (The Residency), Western Road, George Town, Penang

Seri Mutiara (formerly The Residency) is the official residence of the Governor of Penang (Yang di-Pertuan Negeri Pulau Pinang in Malay).

When the Federation of Malaya attained independence in 1957, it was renamed Residency Road, after the official residence of the Governor of Penang, then named The Residency. Completed in 1890, it is actually located at the adjoining Western Road and has since been renamed Seri Mutiara.

History

Residency Road, George Town, Penang (old)

Race Course Road (now Residency Road) in the early 20th. century.

Race Course Road was created in the late 19th. century, as George Town was expanding westwards. At the time, the road led to a horse racing track, where St. George's Girls' School is now located.

Also, British administrators and Army officers recognised the pressing need to relocate military, medical and sporting facilities away from the crowded centre of George Town. Until then, the British Army was based at Fort Cornwallis and military parades were held at the adjacent Esplanade.

Therefore, the British Army shifted its barracks, parade grounds and the Penang Prison to the western edge of George Town in the latter half of the 19th. century. Although the barracks no longer exist, the military legacy can be seen in some of the surrounding roads like Barrack Road and Sepoy Lines Road.

Residency Road, George Town, Penang (2)

The junction with Western Road forms the southern end of Residency Road.

Another related legacy is the baobab tree at the junction with Macalister Road. It was planted by Captain Tristram Charles Sawyer Speedy, a British explorer who was appointed the superintendent of the police on Penang Island in 1871. He later resigned from the position to work in the neighbouring Sultanate of Perak, where he employed Indian sepoys to quell the chaos and violence around the tin mines of the Kinta Valley.

Polo Ground, George Town, Penang

The Polo Ground near the southern end of Residency Road was formerly a military parade ground.

Meanwhile, the Polo Ground had served as a military parade ground and, as its name implies, a polo field. It now serves as a recreational area for the public. In recent years, the annual Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta has been held at the field.

The official residence of the Governor of Penang, The Residency, was completed at the adjoining Western Road in 1890. Other than that, the Race Course was moved to the present Penang Turf Club further west. After the Federation of Malaya, of which Penang was a part of, became independent from the British Empire in 1957, Race Course Road was renamed Residency Road.

Penang General Hospital, George Town, Penang

Penang General Hospital, the main public hospital on Penang Island, along Residency Road

It was not just the Governor of Penang who resided within the vicinity of Residency Road. After George Town was declared a city by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1957, the Mayor of George Town had an official residence along Residency Road. However, the bungalow was soon sold off by the first Mayor of George Town, D.S. Ramanathan, who deemed it to be too extravagant. There was also a Judge's Residence at the adjoining Sepoy Lines Road, but it is currently abandoned and dilapidated.

Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, Polo Ground, George Town, Penang

The Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is held every February at the Polo Ground.

Notable Landmarks

Political Representation

Penang State Government

N.25 Pulau Tikus State Assemblyman : Yap Soo Huey (Democratic Action Party)

Malaysian Federal Parliament

P.048 Bukit Bendera Member of Parliament : Zairil Khir Johari (Democratic Action Party)

References

  1. Khoo S.N., 2007. Streets of George Town, Penang. Areca Books.
  2. Cheah J. S., 2013. Penang 500 Early Postcards. Editions Didier Millet.
  3. http://www.penang-traveltips.com/residency-road.htm

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