Friday, April 24, 2009

King Edward Memorial Hospital

Calling all members of St John Ambulance and Red Cross Society(later changed to Red Crescent Society to be in line with other Islamic countries). Even members of Boy Scout Movement who have taken their Ambulance or First Aid badge at 57, Macalister Road...... this is the place you are familiar, and you have great time acquiring knowledge on first aids.

The address 57, Macalister Road; not far from the KOMTAR; historical round about with roads from the Magazine Road(頭條路), Dato Kramat Road(柑仔園), Penang Road(檳榔律), Brick Kiln Road(風車路, now changed to Jalan Gurdwara) , Macalister Road(中路) and the long lost Gladstone Road(火車路). Chinese called it 6 roads round about(六岔路交通圈);now it is only a traffic light junction. The Gama supermarket, the famous nasi kandar shops.....

Just walk from the traffic light junction, by pass Catholic Church/Heng Ee Primary School, cross the New Lane on the left, you will find the beautiful colonial bungalow buildings,that is the premise of the former King Edward Memorial Hospital, the 57, Macalister Road.

The buildings was the initiative of two gentlemen, William Evans and Willian Peel in 1912; to set up a maternity hospital in memory of the King Edward VII(1841-1910), he was the King of United Kingdom, India, from 22-1-1901 to 6-5-1910.

William Evan(1860-1936), born in 5-9-1860, he started his civil service in Chinese Protectorate Service, Singapore in 1882. He studied Hokkian in Amoy, China. He was the Resident Councillor of Penang from 21-1-1911 to 11-5-1912(first time), and 29-1-1913 to 13-2-1914(second time). He died in 1936.

Sir William Peel, the governor of Hong Kong

Sir William Peel(貝璐)1875-1935, born on 27-2-1875 in Hexham, Northumberland of England. He is the son of Rev W.E.Peel of Boston Spa, Yorkshire. He studied in Silcoates School, and Queen's College, Cambridge. He joined the civil service as cadet in 1897, he was promoted to Assistant district officer in Nibong Tebal in 1898, Bukit Mertajam in 1899, and Province Wellesley in 1901. He later hold various posting in Malaya and Singapore, but most of the time were in Penang. He was the acting Resident Councillor from 26-2-1917 to 5-10-1917; acting second time from 10-5-1925 to 9-7-1925, and appointed as Resident Councillor from 10-7-1925 to 9-5-1926. In 1922, he was British adviser to government of Kedah. He was also appointed the Governor of Hong Kong on 9-5-1930,and retired in May 1935. He died on 17-5-1935 at Bexhill, England.
Peel Avenue in Penang, and Jalan Peel in Kuala Lumpur were named after him.

William Evan was the Resident Councillor of Penang when he proposed the memorial hospital in 1912.(Note: Resident Councillor was the administration head in Penang under Strait Settlement). William Peel was the President of Municipal Commissioners, Penang in 1911; he is still holding the post in 1912 until 26-2-1917 when he was promoted to Acting Resident Councillor of Penang. Both are serving Penang at their respective capacities in civil service.

Among the major donors for the hospital were Huttenbach brothers, Sarkies Brothers of E&O Hotel, Tye Kee Yoon, the fourth Chinese Consul in Penang,and the various clan associations and other pillars of early 20th century of Penang society.

The complex was only used as maternity hospital from 1915-1955, and in 1955, the hospital moved to the current site at Residency Road (Jalan Residensi) near the Penang General Hospital. During the WW2, it was used as communication centre for Japanese armies.

The court order called for the original buildings to be used for charitable purposes.
Between 1950 to 1980's, the building was used for the headquarters of St John Ambulance and Red Cross Society,and training centre for adult education. It is also the centre for most of non-profit organization and NGOs. All these NGOs which have offices at 57, Macalister Road, has moved to Kompleks Masyarakat Penyayang at Jalan Utama(Utama Road).

At one time, in front of the buildings at the side of Macalister Road, are the stalls for 2nd hand books,which relocated from Tek Soon Street, when KOMTAR project was started. The old books stalls no longer there, they have moved to Chowrasta Market, Penang Road.

The buildings are now heritage buildings for medical and colonial history; it should be preserved by all means.

Can someone tell me more about the history of the old colonial buildings?

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