Timothy Tye
Residency Road

Residency Road, PenangResidency Road, Penang (20 March, 2013)

Residency Road (Malay: Jalan Residensi; Chinese (Hokkien): 二王厝路; Penang Hokkien: Jee33 Ong3 Chu1 Lor33) is a major road out of George Town. It was built in the the four quarter of the 19th century, when Penang was experiencing expansion brough on by prosperity from tin mining in Larut. Residency Road was originally called Race Course Road. That was because in the late 19th century, there was a race course where the field of the St George's Girls' School is now located. Since then, the race course has been relocated to the present Penang Turf Club at Batu Gantong. Race Course Road was also given a new and more stately name of Residency Road, or nowadays Jalan Residensi, after the construction of the official residence of the Governor of Penang, The Residency, which is today known as Seri Mutiara.

The character of Jalan Residensi is shaped by the presence of three disparate concerns: military, medical and sports. All three arrived on Jalan Residensi as George Town expanded outwards. For much of the early part of Penang's history, the military was headquartered at Fort Cornwallis, and military parades took place at what is now Padang Kota Lama.

Location of sights along Residency Road

Sights along Residency Road

  1. Judges Residence (GPS: 5.41836, 100.30985)
  2. Penang General Hospital (GPS: 5.41765, 100.31056)
  3. Penang Maternity Hospital (GPS: 5.4202, 100.30954)
  4. Penang Nursing College (GPS: 5.41953, 100.30969)
  5. Polo Ground (GPS: 5.41789, 100.30755)
  6. SK Jalan Residensi (GPS: 5.42048, 100.3113)
  7. The Baobab Tree (GPS: 5.422, 100.31229)

Residency Road, George Town, Penang (3 March, 2009)

Residency Road, Penang (8 March 2009)

As George Town grew, the military found it necessary to acquire new land for their army barracks, jail, and parade grounds. These took shape around Residency Road. Although the barracks are no longer around, road names in the area such as Sepoy Lines Road and Barrack Road remind us of their presence. One of those who brought the sepoys from India was Captain Speedy. Tristram Charles Sawyer Speedy was a Victorian age explorer who arrived in Penang in 1871 to be the superintendent of police. In 1873, he resigned his post to work for Ngah Ibrahim. He employed sepoys - Indians trooping fighting for the British - to bring order to the volatile situation in Larut. A legacy of Captain Speedy is the baobab tree at the junction with Macalister Road, standing today as the oldest planted tree in Malaysia.

The jail is still standing today, and is a functioning penitentiary known as the Penang Prison. Towards the mid 20th century, the parade ground had taken on a new role as Polo Ground, a role that has further evolved to now include other recreational sports.

View of Residency Road, looking towards the Penang General Hospital (8 March 2009)

Jalan Residensi is also noted for the number of government hospitals. Among them is the Penang General Hospital, or Hospital Pulau Pinang. Within its vicinity is the Maternity Hospital, the Dental Hospital and the Children's Hospital.

The Mayor of George Town also had his official residence along Jalan Residensi. The mansion is now used as a senior citizen home called the Penang Home for the Infirm and Aged.


25 May, 2015: The Star reports that an 80-year-old angsana tree was relocated from Residency Road to Karpal Singh Drive so that road widening can be carried out on the road. In order to ensure that the tree is safely moved, its branches were first prunned. Then the 20-tonne 16-meter tree was taken out of the ground using an Air Spade and a heavy-duty crane.

Getting there

Rapid Penang Bus 10, 304 and 306 pass along Residency Road, in the vicinity of the Polo Ground.

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