Monday, October 25, 2010

Irving Road, Penang & Charles John Irving

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Jalan Irving or Irving Road(爱民路) is located between Jalan Dato Keramat or Dato Keramat Road(柑仔園路) and Jalan Kerian or Kerian Road(吉辇路). Kerian Road is an side road of Macalister Road (中路). Irving Road was named after Charles John Irving(b 1831- d 1917), who was acting Lieutenant Governor of Penang in 1879-1880, Resident Councillor of Penang (1882-1887). Irving was also the first Auditor General to the government of Strait Settlement, working under Archibald Anson, after whom Anson Road was named. Charles John Irving was in Penang from 1879 to 1887. The buildings along Irving Road are mainly residential houses.

The side roads of Irving Roads are Jalan Kek Chuan(克全巷), Lorong Susu(牛奶巷), Naning Street(南宁街), and Jalan Selangor(雪蘭莪路). Surrounding the Irving Road within the precinct of Siam Road(暹路), Dato Keramat Road(柑仔園路), Macalister Road(中路), and Anson Road(安顺路) are Jalan Perlis(三合源路), Jalan Seang Tek(祥德路), Malacca Street(馬六甲街), Lorong Bahru(New Lane,紐冷) and the most interesting one, Jalan Seratus Tahun (百年巷).

Jalan Seratus Tahun is the most interesting name, it was the only street in Malay in the area, which means one hundred year. This clearly revealed that the area was developed 100 years after the founding of Penang in 1786. The one hundred years street was built in 1886. Lorong Bahru, the famous hawker street is New Lane(紐冷) in English, and the Chinese also called it in English, it was the first lane from the Jalan Bahru, literally means new road in Malay(now it is called Macalister Road), the first new road from Penang Road or Goh-Chang-Teng(Magazine Circus).

Malacca Street(馬六甲街) was named after the Malacca state. Naning Street was named after the district of Naning in present-day Malacca. Formerly part of Negri Sembilan, it was annexe3d by the British into Malacca in 1832 in the Naning War, which forced Dol Said, the leader of Naning, into retirement. Jalan Selangor was named after the state of Selangor. Jalan Perlis (三合源路) named after the small northern state of Malaysia, Perlis state; the local Chinese however called it sar-hup-guan-lor(三合源路), may be the name of a firm. Siam Road is named after the old name of Thailand, Siam. Other than Siam Road, the streets are named after the various states at the West Coast of Malaya. Siam Road( 暹路) was joined with Patani Road(百大年路), also a province in Siam state, where the first Strait Settlement police station was built.

Jalan Kek Chuan(克全巷) and Jalan Seang Tek(祥德路) are the only two street in the area with Chinese names.

Jalan Kek Chuan or Kek Chuan Road, was named after Lim Kek-Chuan or Lin Kequan(林克全,祖籍福建漳州政海澄縣三都林東社)(b 1858 - d 1907), born on 6-11-1858 at Penang. He was a revenue farmer in the colonial days. The farm was the system of government tender for business from opium, gambling,alcohol to tobacco. The successful revenue farmers will act as monopoly wholesalers, who will sub-contract to the retailers. Most of the revenue farm were lucrative sin businesses, mainly opium. Lim Kek Chuan was one of the successful revenue farmers, his son Lim Soo Chee was also revenue farmers. He was also one of the founder of Penang Chamber of Commerce(中华总商会)and Chung Hwa Confucious School in 1904(中华学堂). Lim Kek Chuan also served as directors of the Khaw Group's five principal firms, namely the Eastern Trading Company, the Eastern Shipping Company, the Eastern Smelting Company(granddaughter of Khaw Sim Chua, who married the son of Lim Kek-chuan), Lim Kek Chuan was Chairman in 1858 of Penang PFSOB . Kek Chuan joined a shipping firm first, then owned a rice business with branches in Rangoon, Ca''ta, and Mandalay. He was also landlord, miner, and revenue famer holding a share in the various companies. Together with AR Adams and George Stothard, were directors of Brieh Rubber Company Limited in Bagan Serai. In 1905, he was one of the 10 members committee, which was formed by Penang Chamber of Commerce in response to the call by Shanghai Chamber of Commerce to boycott American goods(抵制美货运动) for 2 months, protest against the mistreatment of Chinese immigrants in America. He died on 18-11-1907, and was buried at Batu Gantong Cemetery, Penang.

Seang Tek Road(祥德路)is named after Koh Seang Tek(辜尚德 b 1838-d 1874), the great grandson of the Koh Lay Huan or Kapitan China Che Wan, the first Chinese Capitan. Shortly after Captain Francis Light arrived at Penang, he was visited by Koh Lay Huan who had brought with him, from Kuala Muda, Kedah, several boatloads of Chinese and Malays to clear the land, inhabit, trade and generally develop the island. At their inaugural meeting, Koh presented Light with a present of some fishing nets. Koh's eldest son, Koh Kok Chye(辜國彩), was from his Penang wife and was promoted to be the governor of Kuala Kedah (1821-1841). His son Koh Teng Choon(辜登春), was the planter, his son Koh Seang Tat(辜尚達, b 1833 ─ d 1910), Koh Seang Tek's brother, was the Justice of Peace(JP) and councilor. Koh Seang Tat who together with Foo Tye Sin operated the successful firm of Tye Sin Tat & Co. Another son, Koh Seang Tek was also early merchant.

The area near Dato Keramat Road(柑仔园), Perlis Road, back lane of Seang Tek Road, and back lane of Malacca Street are famous red light area since colonial days. They are called by the locals with the name hua-liau-kei(花柳街) by Chinese, which means prostitute street or red light area street. Paris Hotel at Irving Road near junction to Dato Keramat Road is the hub of the night activities.

There is a back lane, the locals called it “Lorong Gaharu”(制香路), Gaharu is the name of the wood used to make joss stick(香)which is incense or 'joss' sticks used for a variety of purposes associated with ritual and religious devotion in Chinese culture. The name of Lorong Gaharu was given because there were joss sticks making cottage industry in the area, reported there were two joss sticks makers, with their shop facing Dato Keramat Road. The back lane was used for drying the newly make and painted joss sticks. One of the shops(永香兰) had moved to Kimberley Street, the shop had been around from 1946-1994. There is still a single storey sundry shop house at the corner of the road, one of the joss stick maker was at the same row with the shop, the neighboring unit.

Gaharu , Agarwood or oodh (or just agar) is a dark resinous heartwood that forms in Aquilaria trees (large evergreens native to southeast Asia) when they become infected with a type of mold. Prior to infection, the heartwood is relatively light and pale coloured, however as the infection progresses, the tree produces a dark aromatic resin in response to the attack, which results in a very dense, dark, resin embedded heartwood. The resin embedded wood is commonly called gaharu, jinko, aloeswood, agarwood, or oud (not to be confused with 'Bakhoor') and is valued in many cultures for its distinctive fragrance, and thus is used for incense and perfumes. One of the reasons for the relative rarity and high cost of agarwood is the depletion of the wild resource. Since 1995 Aquilaria malaccensis, the primary source, has been listed in Appendix II (potentially threatened species) by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. In 2004 all Aquilaria species were listed in Appendix II. I wonder is the current joss stick still used gaharu wood?...

The interesting landmark at the area are Anson Road Market, Pakistan Mosque, Lorong Susu food stalls, New Lane food stalls and Sun Yat-sen museum. Chee Yee Thor Seah Clan Association (徐余涂同宗会),was located at 15 Kek Chuan Road, 10400 Penang

The part of main road Dato Keramat Road, between the goh-chang-teng or Magazine Circus to the traffic light junction where Perak Road police station is located, was called kam-a-hui(柑仔園) by local Chinese, which literally means mandarin orange plantation, after a former orange plantation there. The sound of the street name now sound more like kam-ma-hui. The area was known in Malay as Kebun Limau. After the Perak Road until the Dato Keramat market, it is called si-kham-tiam(四崁店), which means four shops. I wonder which four shops the Chinese named the part of the road?. Is it the four corners of shops at the traffic light junction? Before 1866, the area must be an agriculture based or village area.

Sir Charles John Irving(b 1831- d 1917)

1831 - born 7th Feb 1831, Isabelle Place, Camberwell, London, Son of Charles Mitchell Irving & Anne Dorothea Madgwick.


1852-1853 - the Colonial and Immigration Office from June 1852 to 1853.

1853-1864 – clerk Audit Office

1864 –1867 Special Audit clerk in the Audit Office at Mauritius(The Mauritius almanac and civil service register 1865 pg 14); married Mary Jane,J of Charles Tompkins

1867 – 1879 - Colonial Auditor General to the government of the Straits Settlements at Penang from 1867 to 1879(The Colonial Office list for 1867). Audit Office of the Straits Settlements which was established by the British colonial government in 1867. This was the year that the Straits Settlements were made a Crown Colony of the British Empire. The formation of the Audit Office was under the Exchequer and Audit Departments Act which was passed in Great Britain in 1866. The Act required all government departments to produce annual accounting reports. The Office of the Comptroller and Auditor-General in charge of an Exchequer and Audit Department was established under the Act to audit those accounting reports. Charles J Irving was appointed the first Auditor-General of the Straits Settlements by the British Crown in 1867 with responsibility for reporting on the Colony’s financial accounts, confirming the accuracy of the financial returns, assuring the soundness of its accounting procedures and conducting investigations into any financial discrepancies that might have emerged from the Colony’s financial statements. As Auditor-General, Irving held a seat in the Straits Settlements Legislative Council, but reported directly to the Colonial Secretary in London and not to the Governor of the Straits Settlements. This was to preserve his autonomy as an auditor and his ability to act as an impartial check on the local government for the British Crown.
In 1871 Anson sent James W. W. Birch, then Colonial Secretary, together with Auditor-General Irving to see Sultan Abdul Samad at Langat to re-establish order there.
Acting lieutenant Governor Malacca 1870 & 1871; Penang 1879
acting colonial secretary, 1871, 1875, 1878 and 1888?(source: The Colonial Office list for 1905)
1878 - Son, Edward Alexander Irving was born on 24th July 1870 at "Bukit Tunggal", Singapore, Straits Settlements, British Empire

1879-1882 – resident councillor, Malacca
Starting in 1879, Charles John Irving served as resident councillor, Malacca. He probably greeted USG at Penang in the absence of the local resident councillor. Col. Archibald Anson, then serving as act. governor. Straits Settlements.

1879-1880 - acting Lieutenant-Governor of Penang (present-day Malaysia) from 1879 to 1880

1881 - he was knighted as CMG

1882-1887 - Resident Councillor of Penang from 1882 to 1887

1887 – retired

1917 - DEATHS. IRVING— On February 23 , 1917, at Sarlsdowr, Exmouth, suddenly, Charles John Irving; C. M. G., late Resident Councillor of Penang, aged 86. (source: The Straits Times, 7 April 1917, Page 8)


Charles John Irving,Resident Councillor of Penang from(1885-1887).Son of Charles Mitchell Irving & Anne Dorothea Madgwick. He was Auditor General to the government of Penang under Anson.He was born in 1831 at Isabelle place in Camberwell,London and christened at St Marks Kennington.He been took up some appointments in Mauritius.He married to Mary Jane Tompkins.
His issue - i)Charles John Irving(1868-?). ii)Dorothea Irving. iii)Edward Alexander Irving(1870-1958) married 1stly to Christina Margaret and 2ndly to Dorothy Mabel Bray.Their issue - ai)Archibald Denys Irving(1898-1918). aii)Rachel Mary Margaret Irving married to Edwin Lessware Price. aiii)Hope Dorothy Irving married to Robert Fowler Walker.Their issue - bi)Hope Lindsay Walker married to John Alexander Sellers.Their issue - ci ? Sellers(1951-?). bii)Judith Walker married ? Holmes. biii)Garry Walker. aiv)Charles Arthur Le Mesurier Irving. av)Janet Gilmour Irving married to Edward George Northway.Their issue - bi)? Northway(1938-?). bii)Colin J.G.Northway married to G.E.T.Madge. iv)Janet Irving. v)Archibald Irving(1872-1893). vi)Miles Irving(1876-1962)married 1stly to Gertrude Edith Clarke,2ndly to Margaret Mary Crick and 3rdly to Emily Elspeth Grace Baillie. His issue - ai)Mary Catherine Irving married to Maurice Henry. aii)Dorothea Bethia Irving married to James Samuel Montgomerie. aiii)Margaret Graham Irving. aiv)Hilary Minden Irving married Louis Joseph Pratt.

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