Monthly Cemetery Tour
Every last Sunday of the month!!
Admission: FREE (Pre-registration is required)
The Northam Road Protestant Cemetery is a site of great significance within the World Heritage Site of George Town. It is probably the first burial ground to have been established following the settlement of Penang by the British East India Company in 1786. It is certainly the first Christian cemetery, catering to both Roman Catholic and Protestant burials. The site is the final resting place of Penang’s pioneers such as Francis Light, James Scott, several early governors, Stamford Raffles’ brother-in-law Quintin Dick Thomas, David Brown of Glugor Estate, Reverend Hutchings who founded the Penang Free School, Reverend Thomas Beighton of the London Missionary Society, George Earl, and James Richardson Logan. Many of them died of tropical fevers, probably malaria, brought about by the widespread clearing of forests.
Also buried here was a young officer named Thomas Leonowens, whose widow Anna Leonowens became a schoolmistress in 19th century Siam. Her romanticised account of her life in the East inspired the play and film ‘The King and I’, and more recently ‘Anna and the King’ which was partially filmed in Penang. In all, of the 1,437 individuals known to have been interred here, there are 464 surviving memorials and tombs.
At least 16 different nationalities are represented, including Americans, Armenians, Australians, English, Chinese, Dutch, Germans, Irish, Normandy (French), and Scots. The Chinese are thought to have possibly been refugees from the Taiping Rebellion (1851-1864) in China. The last burial at this Northam Road Protestant Cemetery was in 1892, when the (new) Western Road Cemetery having opened around 1891.
The tour is conducted by Penang Heritage Trust (PHT) and supported by Penang Global Tourism (PGT).