05 Jul This road was built 100 years after Light’s discovery
One might mistake Weld Quay as one of the original roads of Penang when Captain Francis Light first established George Town, as the road was built approximately 100 years after Light’s discovery. In reality, the quay – named after Sir Frederick Weld who was key in the construction project – was built over reclaimed land, in an extensive operation aimed to create a deeper port, which continues to serve ships to this very day.
The completed new land area made way for the Chinese Trades Neighbourhood in the southern portion of the quay. If one were to take a quick walk up the quay back in the day, labourers who also developed their own living quarters would patronize them with numerous wholesalers and Chinese warehouses, also known as godowns, set up. Today, most of the wholesalers are long gone, and in their stead lie instead plenty of restaurants and food stalls. Their living quarters have become a renowned tourist spot – the famous picturesque Clan Jetties, where one will find the occasional tourist or aspiring photographer/filmmaker taking a shot. The southernmost part of the quay also houses numerous modern-day high-rise apartments, automobile repair shops, boat engine shops, and anchor making shops, among a few other services.
Continuing up north the modern quay, one will notice the changes taking place within the architectural influence as it goes from the distinctly Chinese towards the more accustomed British colonial style. Along the famous Raja Tun Uda Ferry Jetty, numerous historical buildings from the past, such as the Schiffmann Herr Building, the Behn Meyer Building and the Boustead building; now have been refurbished following George Town’s 2008 UNESCO World Heritage Site classification, and now currently house the Penang Amazing World Studios, the Made in Penang Interactive Museum, and The Royale Bintang Hotel, respectively. Swettenham Pier, once the shipping hub in Northern Malaya, resides in the northernmost part of the quay, and receives numerous world-class cruise ships today such as the Royal Caribbean-owned Oasis of the Seas.
One of the highlights of George Town’s historic core, Weld Quay continues to attract viewers with its proud representation of cultural combinations and sturdy history from all corners of the globe.