Private Home Visit, 7 July, 10.00am & 3.00pm – The House of Koh Lay Huan

Private Home Visit , 7 July, 10.00am & 3.00pm


The House of Koh Lay Huan

The House of Koh Lay Huan is now a private family home. This important historical house will be opened & ‘shared’ with the public, just once a month.
Tours are limited to a certain number of persons per tour. Language English. Photography is permitted within the first courtyard area only.

George Town World Heritage Day, Sunday July 7th 2013
Morning tour starts promptly at 10am. Afternoon tour starts promptly at 3pm.
All proceeds to Penang Heritage Trust.

RM15 per person per entry limited to 30 people per entry time. The owners will show you around the home. Please meet at 29 China Street 15 minutes before the start of the tour. Photography is permitted within the first courtyard area only.

Please book ahead as we have limited numbers for each tour. Call Penang Heritage Trust at +604 2642631, or call Shelley or Lenny at 04-2263016 to book your place.

China Tiger is located on China Street in the heart of George Town in the middle of Penang’s Little India. China Street, the original residential street for many of the Chinese pioneer merchants, was one of the first streets marked out by Francis Light when the island was founded in 1786. Before the more ostentatious Mansions of the late 1800′s & 1920′s were the Grand Residential Homes of the Chinese merchants on China Street. No 25 was certainly one of these.

Members of Penang Heritage Trust physically saved this lovely residence from demolition in 2000. PHT members demonstrated in front of this house as it was being stripped of wooden windows, shutters & screens, physically blocking the demolition. By sheer dogged determination they lobbied for Council to put a ‘No Demolition Order’ on this building. It is amazing that at that time, well before the UNESCO listing, well before ‘heritage’ was trendy, PHT managed to save this house for the future. Even then they had no idea who it belonged to or who built it. PHT just knew that there were reasons for its architectural style, its size & its decoration. It belonged to wealthy & influential people, possibly historical figures.

PHT has to be commended for its foresight as recent documentation has confirmed Koh Lay Huan as one of the original owners of No 25, China Street. Koh Lay Huan was just as important to the founding of Penang, as Francis Light and together these two men worked to found & build Penang as a centre for trade & commerce, to plant pepper and to make Penang island an attractive place to set up business and settle for all. One man could not have done without the other & today, Koh Lay Huan’s importance alongside Light must be acknowledged.

No. 25 was owned by Koh Lay Huan, Kapitan Cina of Penang & Chung Keng Quee, Kapitan of Perak, both hugely important men who contributed to the development & settlement of the whole of Malaya and then, to the process which led to the colonisation of Malaya by the British.

The Wilkinson Family bought No 25 in 2006 before the George Town UNESCO listing & took 2 years to restore this residence into a well loved family home. Since then they have become not just attached to the house, but to it’s past owners. There are many similarities, coincidences & also connections that tie all these parties together.
Without the prompt and passionate action of the Penang Heritage Trust in 2000, this house would have disappeared. The Wilkinsons would not have restored it. The stories would have remained untold & the legacy and significance of Koh Lay Huan would have been reduced to nothing.

The past owners of No 25 China street are a fascinating list of people and they were huge contributors to the history & development of George Town & the region.