Farquhar Street Mission House and Chapel





          
Farquhar Street Mission HouseFarquhar Street Mission House (2 July 2014)





Farquhar Street Mission House and Chapel (GPS: 5.42311, 100.33453), at 35 Farquhar Street, is one of the earliest premises of the brethren assemblies in this region. Today, what remains is Mission House, a restored building located on the opposite side of Farquhar Street from Victory Annex of the Eastern & Oriental Hotel. The brethren assembly started at Farquhar Street Mission House and Chapel continues to fellowship today at Burmah Road Gospel Hall and its sister assemblies in Penang, collectively known as the Penang Assemblies, as well as in other brethren assemblies in Malaysia and Singapore.

360° View of Farquhar Street Mission House on Google Maps Street View



Mission House was built by William Macdonald, a missionary of the brethren assembly. I am not sure of the exact date of its construction, which could be 1876, or at least as early as 1878. I learn that assembly work began as early as 1859 by English missionary John Chapman. The Mission House building stands on a piece of land that an earlier missionary, Johann Georg Bausum @ John George Bausum, had purchased for the extension of the school that was founded by his first wife, Maria Dyer Bausum. The building was used until 1938, when the church moved to its new premises at Burmah Road, where it was initially called Burmah Road Hall, and today, Burmah Road Gospel Hall.

There used to be another building, Mission Chapel, that stood in front of Mission House at Farquhar Street. It was demolished when Farquhar Street was widened around 1939.

Farquhar Street Mission HouseFront portion of Farquhar Street Mission House (2 July 2014)


Farquhar Street Mission HouseFarquhar Street Mission House (2 July 2014)


Farquhar Street Mission HouseInterior of the restored Farquhar Street Mission House (2 July 2014)


Farquhar Street Mission HouseInterior of the restored Farquhar Street Mission House (2 July 2014)


Farquhar Street Mission HouseInterior of the restored Farquhar Street Mission House (2 July 2014)


Restored Farquhar Street Mission HouseFarquhar Street Mission House at night (13 July, 2014)


Restored Farquhar Street Mission HouseRestored Farquhar Street Mission House (13 July, 2014)

The Farquhar Street Mission House before restoration

The Farquhar Street Mission House was in an advance stage of ruin before the restoration. A whole section of the upper floor was already missing, and there were gapping holes in the roof.

Farquhar Street Mission House and Chapel is a dilapidated house along Lebuh Farquhar (7 August, 2008)


35 Farquhar Street, the Farquhar Street Mission House and Chapel, covered in undergrowth (7 August, 2008)


The staircase at Farquhar Street Mission House in 2010The staircase at Farquhar Street Mission House in 2008 (7 August, 2008)


Hallway and porch area at Farquhar Street Mission House in 2010Hallway and porch area at Farquhar Street Mission House in 2008 (7 August, 2008)


Capstone over the porch arch at Farquhar Street Mission House in 2010Capstone over the porch arch at Farquhar Street Mission House in 2008 (7 August, 2008)


Side view of 33 Farquhar StreetSide view of 33 Farquhar Street (7 August, 2008)


The interior of Farquhar Street Mission House in 2010The interior of Farquhar Street Mission House in 2010 (23 October, 2010)


Remnant of the hallway and porch of Farquhar Street Mission House in 2010Remnant of the hallway and porch of Farquhar Street Mission House in 2010 (23 October, 2010)

Restoration of Farquhar Street Mission House

Farquhar Street Mission House underwent restoration in 2012-2014. The restoration brings the building back to its original appearance, when it was built in the 1870s.

35 Farquhar Street under restoration35 Farquhar Street under restoration (2 November, 2013)


33 Farquhar Street under restoration33 Farquhar Street under restoration (2 November, 2013)


Farquhar Street Mission HouseThe old gate of Farquhar Street Mission House (2 November, 2013)

Author's Note

My great grandmother, grandmother and mother (1926-2009) worshipped at the Mission Chapel at 35 Farquhar Street, George Town, during the early part of the 20th century. At that time, my grandmother was staying in Air Itam. She would take my mother, who was still a small girl, to attend church at 35 Farquhar Street. They would take the tram to George Town.

After my great grandmother and grandmother had passed on, my mother continued to worship at Burmah Road Hall. She was married there in 1947. My parents continued to worship there until the early 1970's when they moved to worship at Island Glades Gospel Centre, an offshoot of Burmah Road Gospel Hall. I started attending Sunday School and church there, until the early 1980's, when we moved to another spin-off branch, Sungai Nibong Gospel Hall.

I was unaware that original Mission House in Farquhar Street is still standing until I embark on a historical documentation of the heritage sites within George Town.

Update

14 May, 2014: A restaurant called Farquhar Mansion will open at Farquhar Street Mission House. Opening is slated for 6 July, 2014. The whole precinct, together with 33 Farquhar Street, will be known as Mission Place.

2 November, 2013: As I write this, the Farquhar Street Mission House is still undergoing restoration. The last that I heard was that the new owners were keen to set up a museum gallery and asking to meet up with stakeholders. But that was the last I heard, and I do not know whether a meeting happen at all. Meanwhile, I paid another visit to the site and saw that restoration is in progress at both 33 and 35 Farquhar Street.

23 October, 2010: I returned to the Farquhar Street Mission House in the company of Puan Maimunah Mohd Sharif of the George Town World Heritage Office and Professor Dr. A Ghafar Ahmad, the Deputy Commissioner of Heritage with the Department of National Heritage. We found the property to be in an advance state of dilapidation brought about by neglect, natural weathering and deliberate facilitation. Read more about the Oldest Protestant Church Building in Penang.

Getting there

The Mission House building is located along Lebuh Farquhar. Using the E&O Hotel front entrance as starting point, cross Lebuh Farquhar to The Garage. Turn right and go along the sidewalk at The Garage and you will arrive at the Mission House which is on the left side of the road. The address, No. 35, is still visible at the gate.

Related Sites

  1. Penang Assemblies
  2. Burmah Road Gospel Hall
  3. Sungai Nibong Gospel Hall

33 Farquhar Street, the house next door33 Farquhar Street, the house next door (7 August, 2008)

Acknowledgement

Penang Travel Tips would like to thank Mr KC Ung of Berita Bethel (http://www.berita-bethel-ung.com/) for assistance in verifying the accuracy of the information about this structure.

The Farquhar Street Mission House & Chapel is on the map of Farquhar Street

List of Assemblies in Penang, Churches in Penang and Churches in Malaysia



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