In 2003, archaeological excavations unearthed a small tunnel with a 96cm opening underneath the building. Artifacts discovered included broken pieces of pottery, Chinese roof tiles, bricks, glasses, porcelain and coins and even nails.
Then, the building – known among locals as the European Club, was primarily used as a venue for the town’s European community where social events, balls, public speeches, drama performances, art exhibitions and concerts were held.
Built in Western architectural style with classical arches, columns, pilasters, quoins, ornamental elements on roof parapet and balustrades, the sunshine yellow double-storey is the oldest municipal building in Penang.
Lt-Governor Sir Archibald Edward Harbord Anson first laid its foundation on Jan 1, 1879. Occupying a land area of 70,711 sq feet, the building was completed in 1880 and officiated by the then Governor of Straits Settlements Frederick Weld.
Through the years, the Town Hall has undergone five extensive expansions and now comprises a front portico, an assembly hall, a ballroom with adjoining supper rooms, a stage, office rooms and a library,
In 1999, the building’s ballroom on the first floor was “transformed” into a “Royal Hall of Justice” for the filming of 20th Century Fox’s blockbuster, Anna and the King.
Location of Penang Town Hall
George Town, Penang Island.