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Maxwell Road 港仔墘

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Maxwell Road, George Town, PenangMaxwell Road, George Town, Penang (19 March, 2010)


Maxwell Road (Traditional/Simplified Chinese: 港仔墘 Penang Hokkien: Kang1a1 Kni2 ) is a minor road in George Town. It was laid out in the late 19th century, when the attap houses across the Prangin Canal were replaced with brick houses.

Originally Maxwell Road forms an intersection with Penang Road and Burmah Road, on the south side of the Prangin Canal. There was a drawbridge across Penang Road in front of the intersection. On the other end of Maxwell Road, it ends at Magazine Road, forming a "J".

Dilapidated shophouses along Maxwell RoadDilapidated shophouses along Maxwell Road (19 March, 2010)


Maxwell Road was named after Sir William Edward Maxwell, who was colonial secretary and Acting Governor of the Straits Settlements in Singapore between 1893 and 1894. Maxwell's son was also a magistrate in Penang while his father, Sir Peter Benson Maxwell was the Recorder of Penang in 1860 and Recorder of Singapore between 1866 and 1871. Maxwell Road in Kuala Lumpur, now called Jalan Tun Ismail, was also named after him, as was Maxwell Road in Singapore.

Maxwell Road was created in the final quarter of the 19th century, as the growth of George Town began to spill across the Prangin Canal. Making way for the road were the village houses of Kuay Kang-nga, the Chinese settlement across the canal. This was a 19th century displacement of rural Penang by the urban sprawl of George Town. Maxwell Road is the northernmost road in the development that eventually became known later as the Seven Streets Precinct.

The market activity along the Prangin Canal turned Maxwell Road into part of the Sia Boey Precinct. The shophouses along it were occupied by wholesalers and whose who engage in businesses in the Sia Boey Market.

The section of Maxwell Road at Penang Road was closed in the mid 20th century. By the early 1980's, the length of the road between Penang Road and Carnarvon Street was obliterated, leaving only a rump section between Carnarvon Street and Magazine Road.

Shophouses of Maxwell Road, dilapidated but still beautiful and worth preservingShophouses of Maxwell Road, dilapidated but still beautiful and worth preserving (4 December, 2008)


The remaining shophouses along Maxwell Road are some of the most charming in George Town, as they curve to follow the course of the road. Unfortunately these roads might not be preserved. What was once a busy road when the Sia Boey market was in full swing, is but a forlorn version of its old self, not that the wholesale market has been relocated to Macallum Street Ghaut.

In other words ...

Maxwell Road is known in Penang Hokkien as Kang1a1 Kni2 港仔墘 , meaning "river side", in reference to the Prangin Canal. Its other name is Cha3 Tnia2 柴埕 , meaning "wood yard".

Getting there

From the Komtar Bus Terminal, walk in a southeast direction along Tek Soon Street until it ends at Maxwell Road.

View Maxwell Road, George Town in a larger map

List of Streets in Penang and Streets in Malaysia

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