No 25 China Street: The House of Koh Lay Huan
This historic house and private residence will be opened just once a month for sharing' with the public. We hope to create awareness for this beautiful house & its past owners. Check out our 'open day' dates & events on our 'House Tour' page.
Find out why this house is so important. Who were the powerful men who owned this home? How are the Wilkinson family so connected and intertwined with the past owners of this home? There are so many connections it seems more than co-incidence!
Before the more ostentatious Penang mansions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, stood the great residences and elite shophouses of the Chinese merchants on China Street. No 25 is certainly one of these.
In 2000 the NGO The Penang Heritage Trust demonstrated in front of this house and succeeded in saving the house from imminent destruction and demolition. It is totally to the credit and foresight of these brave members of PHT that this house stands today and 'speaks' to us all from the past.
If PHT had not demonstrated and 'fought' for this house, the chain of events that led to its restoration as a residence would not have occurred and so much of this fascinating history would have stayed 'dead'. Now, the Wilkinson family will open their doors in April to demonstrate the timeless quality and grace of these heritage houses, their timeless ability to be 'green' and to cocoon their inhabitants from the elements in a now vibrantly developing UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Recently, documentation has confirmed that No. 25 was owned by both Koh Lay Huan and Chung Keng Kwee, making No 25 one of the most important historical houses in George Town. It is feasible that Francis Light would have visited this home on more than one occasion. Koh Lay Huan, with Francis Light, was fundamental to the development of George Town & Chung Keng Kwee, a signatory on the 'Pangkor Treaty' which led to the British colonisation of Malaya. These were powerful men.
Located in the core zone of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, China Street was laid out by Francis Light with the help of Koh Lay Huan, the Chinese community leader and pioneer settler who had arrived with Francis Light in 1786. China Street was laid out just after Light Street and Beach Street. The Hokkiens called it Tua Kay(Main Street). Koh Lay Huan stood side by side with Francis Light & a representative of the Sultan Of Kedah, when the flag was raised at the founding of Prince Of Wales island in 1786.
No. 25 is now the private residence of the Wilkinson Family. The abandoned & derelict property was purchased in 2006. Now restored to its original form, this family home will be opened to the public for house tours in April 2013. The past owners of this home, many of whom were historical figures of early George Town, will be introduced as you explore this wonderful residence.
Our adjoining property, No 29 China Street, has 2 Studio Apartments for short & longer term private lets
No. 25 & No. 29 China Street, George Town, 10200 Penang, Malaysia. Tel: +604 264 3580