The Penang Masonic Temple (GPS: 5.4264, 100.30193) is a heritage building belonging to the Freemasons in Penang. The temple was built in the Art Deco style in 1924, and was the result of the many Freemason lodges of Penang deciding to committed to be single premise.
In the early 20th century, there were about four separate Freemason groups, or lodges, in Penang. They meet at separate premises including the Freemasons Hall in Northam Road, now Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, which was used by a few Freemason groups including the Lodge Scotia, The Royal Prince of Wales Lodge, Gottlieb Lodge and Victoria Jubilee.
Another view of Penang Masonic Temple (30 January 2005)
In 1916, the Lodge Scotia decided to move to their own premises, and they consecrated their own Scotia Masonic Hall at 12 Logan Road on 15 January 1917. However, by 1924, the Scottish Brethren decided to regroup with the English Brethren, and the result was the Penang Masonic Temple that we see today. It was registered as The Penang Masonic Temple Company Limited, and today, Penang Masonic Temple Sdn Bhd. The initial capital was M$27,000 split into 54 shares of M$500 each, and held equally between the Lodge Scotia and The Royal Prince of Wales Lodge.
Freemasonry can trace their history in Penang going back to Captain Francis Light, who was initiated into Freemasonry in India. The first Penang lodge, called the Neptune Lodge No. 344 dates to 9 September 1809, and was consecrated in 1810, but survived only till 1813.
In 1821, another Freemason lodge, the Humanity of Courage Lodge No. 826A was formed. It survived until 1828, when the Warrant was returned to Calcutta. In its place, the second Neptune Lodge (No. 293) was formed. In 1830, Causmee Shapoorjee, a merchant and the first Asian, was initiated into the lodge. Neptune Lodge No. 293 survived until 1844. In 1850, another Neptune Lodge was established, and it survived until its extinction in 1862.
Penang Masonic Temple, as seen from Western Road (30 January 2005)
On 5 July 1875, the Royal Prince of Wales Lodge No. 1555 E.C. was formed the then Prince of Wales, HRH Albert Edward, who later ascended the throne as Edward VII of England. The Freemasons of the Royal Prince of Wales Lodge met at their temple at Union Street - the site is now occupied by the Maybank building. The second temple of the lodge was at Light Street. In 1878, it moved again to Northam Road, where it remained until the present Penang Masonic Temple was constructed in mid 1920s.
As with elsewhere, the Freemasons counted among its members the pillars of Penang society included August Huttenbach (of the firm Huttenbach Brothers, who installed the first electric street lamps in Penang) and Felix Henry Gottlieb (for whom Gottlieb Road was named).
The best way to get to the Penang Masonic Temple is by car or taxi. It is located at the junction of Western Road with Brown Road.
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