Brick Kiln Road (Malay: Jalan Gurdwara; Penang Hokkien: Hong3 Chia3 Lor33 ) is a road in George Town outside the heritage zone. Its original name and present-day character is reflective of how much developed George Town as a whole had become.
Brick Kiln Road was built for an industrial and working-class neighborhood when George Town began to expand beyond the Prangin Canal. In the earlier days, Brick Kiln Road was just a rural road leading south from Penang Road, at an angle from Dato Kramat Road. A brick kiln that existed in the area in the second half of the 19th century gave this road its name.
Brick Kiln Road, as seen from Hotel Neo+ Penang (27 May, 2017)
Brick Kiln Road marks the inland side of the nine (initially seven) parallel roads that were aligned with the Prangin Canal, and was given the Hokkien names of Koay1 Kang3nga1 Thau3 Tiau3 Lor33 (first road after the river), which became Magazine Road, followed by the second, third roads, and so forth, until Sandilands Street makes up the nineth.
The Sikh community established a settlement here in the 1880s. They were brought to Penang by Captain Speedy, who had hired them to police the volatile tin mining areas of Larut. There was a former police barracks for the Sikhs along Brick Kiln Road. The land was given to the Sikh community by the Resident Councillor of Penang in 1897 (probably Charles Walter Sneyd-Kynnersley) for them to build their temple. As it was the year of Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee, the temple became known as the Diamond Jubilee Sikh Gurdwara or Gurdwara Sahib Khalsa Dharmak Jatha. Today, the road takes its official name after the gurdwara.
Due to the presence of the switchback railway, to transport bricks and tin-ore, at Brick Kiln Road, it was known in Hokkien as Hong3 Chia3 Lor33 or "windmill road" in Hokkien, due to the presence of windmills in the area used for rice milling1. To the Malays, the road was known as Bakar Bata ("brick kiln").
View of Jalan Gurdwara, one of the main roads in the Seven Streets Precinct (26 May, 2017)
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