Captain Francis Light's Vision
Captain Francis Light was the Founder & First Governor of Prince of Wales Island, later to become Pulau Pinang / Penang Island.
He was a Visionary & it was his Vision to build an Anglican Church on the Island befitting the status of the Colony. Unfortunately he passed away in 25 October 1794, some 22 years before planning of the Church commenced.
Using Francis Light's Vision & on the incentive of the East India Company, in 1810 plans were submitted, however nothing was acted upon until the East India Company Act 1813 was passed & eventually approval was obtained in 1815.
The final plans were drawn by the then Governor, William Petrie & modified by Lieut. Robert Smith of the Madras engineers. The architecture is believed to be based on St. George's Cathedral in Madras, which was designed by Col. James Caldwell, a colleague of Lt. Smith from the Madras engineers.
In late 1816 a tall ship set sail from India. It’s cargo? Convict Labour & Senegal Mahogany trees & it's from there that the Church were built.
Under the supervision of Capt. Smith in 1817 building commenced using 100% Sand & Limestone cut by hand by Convict Labourers from the Hills of Penang.
The Doric columns have a Senegal Mahogany post inside to give stability. The tree that sits to the left facing the Church is the last remaining tree that came on the ship from India.
Building was completed in 1818 in time for the first Christmas Service.
On the 11th May, 1819 the Church was Consecrated by the 1st Bishop of Calcutta, The Rt. Rev. Thomas Farnshaw Middleton & so began the 1st life of the
Church of St. George The Martyr
The War Days
In 1941 the Japanese Army & Airforce invaded Penang, dropping 6 bombs on the compound destroying the eastern wall & part of the roof. (Photos can be viewed at the Heritage Centre alongside the Church)
However, not one of the columns inside the Church were damaged & they stood proudly holding up the Church until 1945 when the British returned & repaired the damage done.
The Church had been totally looted, the organ destroyed & all artefacts taken.
The Baptismal Font was later found & returned to the Church where it is still used today.
Everything you see inside the Church is exactly the way it was when building was completed in 1818 with the exception of the flat roof, which was replaced in 1842, & again following WW2 in 1945 & the Terrazzo Tile floor which was laid in 1914.
The British returned in 1945 & rebuilt the Church in a simplistic way while still keeping to the original 1818 finish.
And so began the 2nd life of the Church of St. George The Martyr
Post War Days
From 1948 until 2007 funds to maintain the Church were not available & sadly it came into disrepair.
In celebration of Malaysia's 50 Years of Independence, in 2007 the Malaysian Government under the Leadership of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi & ( Warisan Negara ),the Church as one of Malaysia's 50 National Tressures & a Historical site.
The Church was given a grant & the Church de-commissioned for nearly 3 years whereby a total restoration was carried out.
In July 2011 the Church was re-consecrated by Bishop, Rt. Rev. Ng Moon Hing & so began the 3rd life of the Church of St. George The Martyr
The New Vision
And so we are now creating a "New Vision for the Church".
Not to physically build it as Francis Light did but to Leave a Legacy for the next 200 years....
EMPOWERING THE DISADVANTAGED THROUGH EDUCATION, MEDICAL ASSISTANCE, PALLIATIVE CARE, CHILD CARE AND RESPECT !