Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pykett Avenue(拜吉路) & Rev George F Pykett

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Lebuhraya Pykett or Pykett Avenue(拜吉路) is located between Jalan Westlands (Westlands Road) and Jalan Burma(Burmah Road). It is the side road of Burmah Road, just opposite Wesley Methodist Church. The only side road of Pykett Avenue is Lorong Pykett or Pykett Lane, which lead to a housing estate. Pykett Avenue and Pykett Lane were named after the Rev. G. F. Pykett, former headmaster of the Anglo-Chinese School, Penang (1892-1932).

The prominent building in the avenue is Pykett Methodist School(Sekolah Kebangsaan Pykett Methodist).

Wesley Methodist Church is at the junction of Jalan Burma and Jalan Larut, just opposite the entrance of Pykett Avenue at Burma Road. The English-style church building was constructed in 1911-1912. Rev Pykett was from the Methodist Mission, which started Angli Chinese School Penang(now Methodist Boys' School)& Pykett Methodist Schoo in 1891, and Methodist Girls' School(MGS)in 1892. The nearby Union Chinese Primary School(SJK (C) UNION, 协和国民型华文小学) at Burma Road, was also set up by some charitable Christian believers in 1928.

The Mansion of Khaw Sim Bee was formerly located at 20, Pykett Avenue, but it was demolished on 26-7-2010. The area, including Westlands Road, Khaw Sim Bee Road and Union Chinese Primary School nearby, was formerly owned by the family.

The road was a quiet street. Prior to the opening of resident houses at Lorong Pykett, the place was bushes, opposite it is the school field. The only activities was when the Pykett school students going to school in the morning, and leaving the school in the afternoon. Occasionally there may be some boys playing football at the field.

Rev. G. F. Pykett(George Frederick Pykett)

Pykett & MBS(ACS)

The name of Pykett is related to MBS or Methodist Boys' School in Penang. The Methodist Boys' School, Penang, known as the Anglo-Chinese School, Penang (ACSP) at its inception, had a humble beginning at a little shop house in Carnavon Street, opposite Carnavon Lane. Its founder, Rev. B. H. Balderstone, a native of Prince Edward Island, came to Penang (then a British Straits Settlement) after nearly two years in Singapore to start on a mission work. Rev. Balderstone opened the school doors on May 28, 1891. Rev. Balderstone was joined by Rev. D. D. Moore, also a Canadian, a few months later to teach in the school. The Moores established the Methodist Girls' School in 1892.

Due to failing eyesight, Rev. Balderstone was forced to resign on April 10, 1893. The Moores left two years later.

Rev Pykett & MBS(1893 to 1932)

Rev. G. F. Pykett arrived in 1892 to replace Rev. Balderstone. Pykett was born on December 20, 1864 in Lincolnshire, England. His absolute dedication to the school deservedly earned him the title of founding father of ACSP. He was with ACSP for most of the years from 1893 to 1932.

The school had 173 pupils and was housed in three shophouses in Carnavon St. when Pykett came to take over. As a teacher, Rev. Pykett took great interest in his pupils. Despite having to supervise the whole school, he also taught in the Cambridge classes daily.

Under Rev. Pykett's direction, the school grew, it expanded to 5 shophouses. A site at Maxwell Road, now the location of Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak (KOMTAR), was purchased in 1895. Two years later, 456 pupils were moved into the new premises, which then became the headquarters of ACSP. The school was opened on 1-1-1897.

The first Junior Cambridge Class (today's equivalent of Form Four) was established during the Pykett era. MBS earned a good reputation among the merchants and Chinese community. The school-leavers were highly praised by prospective employers.

The local Chinese community gave full support to the educational work done by Rev. Pykett. Among those notable for their contributions were Mr Khoo Hun Yeang, Mr Foo Choo Choon and Mr Khoo Cheow Teong.

In 1906, a School Union was organized to promote closer relationships among ex-pupils and teachers, and to render mutual help in various ways. A Cadet Corps was established in the same year, and for many years the pride of ACSP until 1931 when it was abolished by Pykett in line with the mission of peace and harmony. In 1907 the Boarding School was instituted and grew under the management of Mrs Pykett.

At about the same time, the Normal Class was started for promising students who had completed their Cambridge Senior Class (equivalent to today's Form Five). They were to be trained as teachers and eventually sat for the Normal examinations conducted by the Government. The Normal class became an important source of teachers to ACSP in the years to come.

The first school magazine, The Scholar's Own was published in 1909. Publication ceased in 1911 when editors Mr Ung Ban Hoe and Mr Goh Huan Ho left for further studies. Publication resumed in 1924.

The first Scout Troop was organized 1910 but was only registered in 1916, making it the oldest scout troop in Penang.

Due to increasing number of students, ten shophouses along Penang Road were bought and used as classrooms. By 1920, the school building was so congested that it was necessary to obtain another place for pupils. The building at 422 Chulia Street was rented and about 600 of the Primary and Middle School students were housed there.

Pykett and YMCA(1905-1957)

The YMCA in Penang was founded in 1905 by the Reverend G.F. Pykett of England and Principal of the ACS now known as the MBS (Methodist Boys School). In 1907, St. John’s Ambulance classes in First Aid were organized, and in 1910, the first Boy Scouts Troop in Penang was formed by the Penang YMCA. Both movements play an important role in the activities of the State and the Y can proudly claim to have been the moving spirit behind their early establishment respectively.

Unfortunately, this early YMCA was closed down because of World War II. After the war, two attempts to revive it were made in vain due to the lack of a suitable building to house the Association.

Pykett & Medan

In 1905, as District Superintendent of Methodist Church, Pykett sent a Tamil lay preacher Salomon Pakianathan to supervise a private school owned by Hong Teen, a young baba Chinese who have been a student at ACS in Penang. This open a way to open a mission in Medan. Salomon Pakianathan become a pioneer of Methodist Church in Medan, and Pykett was the one that instrumented the founding.

Mrs Pykett(Mrs Amelia Young)

IT WAS in the year 1891 that our Mission Conference decided to extend our work. A Mr Moore almost at once began to visit in wealthy Chinese homes. His desire was that the bright little girls should be taught as well as their brothers. He soon became acquainted with a prominent Chinese citizen, Mr Cheah Teck Soon, whose sister was persuaded to have her little girls taught with their brothers.

So a small private school was begun in No. 1 Penang Road, where the missionaries lived. Mr Moore writes in his first report from Penang:

"We only had two girls, but that seemed to us a great thing after all our labour for it and our discouragements."

Miss Emma Norris was the first teacher. A little later, Mrs Young(Amelia Young), a widowed lady, came into the work of the Penang Mission. She played the organ for the Sunday services that were held in the old Armenian church. Mr Moore, finding how capable Mrs Young was, persuaded her to take charge of the school which was held in the home of Mr Teck Soon in Farquhar Street. Soon after, other children joined.

Mrs Young did all she could in making the school attractive and also in visiting Chinese homes. The school grew to twenty pupils, when the missionaries moved to a large house by the sea named "The Priory". This home meant much to our Penang work in those early days. With the Chinese lady's consent, the girls' school was moved to "The Priory", where it became more stable and continued to grow. Of the religious teaching at this time, Bishop Thoburn remarked, "Everyday is a Sunday School here."

Rev G.F. Pykett came to Penang, where he and Mrs Young were married in January 1894. How much of our Mission work in Penang has revolved round Rev and Mrs Pykett in the thirty years they have lived there! Through the years, Mrs Pykett has held to her first duty in the Mission, playing the organ at English, Tamil and Cantonese services …

1892 Mrs. G. F. Pykett became the first principal of ACGS. There were only 2 pupils and the school was in Northam Road.

Pykett & personal life (1864- 1932)

Pykett, his full name was George Frederick Pykett, born on December 20, 1864 in Brandon village, Grantham, Lincolnshire, England.
Grantham is a market town within the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England. It bestrides the East Coast Main Line railway (London-Edinburgh), the historic A1 main north-south road, and the River Witham. Grantham is located approximately 26 miles (42 km) south of the city of Lincoln, and approximately 24 miles (39 km) east of Nottingham.

Rev Pykett was educated at Hough, 7 miles away from Grantham. The name Hough is Old English haga, or 'enclosure'. Now it is called Hough-on-the-Hill, It is not clear when the 'le Hill' or 'on the Hill' suffix was added. The quaint village of Hough-on-the-Hill lies approximately seven miles due north of Grantham in Lincolnshire, England. The parish is still named Hough Parish.

Teaching- England
He was Asst Master at Rawmarsh Free Grammer School, Rotherham; and All Saints, Plumstead, Woolwich.

Rotherham is a town in South Yorkshire, England. It lies on the River Don, at its confluence with the River Rother, between Sheffield and Doncaster. Rotherham, at 6 miles (10 km) from Sheffield City Centre, is surrounded by several smaller settlements. Rawmarsh is a large village at Rotherham.

Plumstead and Woolwich are districts of south London, England, located in the London Borough of Greenwich.

1889 - He was recruited by William Girdlestone Shellabear in 1889 while he was in England. He resign from British Army Commission. Shellabear was a Commanding Officer with Royal Engineers at Pulau Brani(now Sentosa Island) in 1886, who returned to England in July 1889 to resign from his commission. He accepted the offer to become a printer in setting up Mission press in Singapore.

1891 - Singapore
Come to Singapore as teacher in ACS Singapore on Feb, 1891

1892 - Penang
The year 1892 was wrongly reported by many sources as the year Rev. G. F. Pykett arrived at Penang to replace Rev. BH Balderstone as Head Master of ACSP. But in 1892 Rev. BH Balderstone still working as staff. On 22-3-1893, he was given the Diary as the staff of the school , the name of Rev Pykett was not mentioned as a staff. He was compelled to return to Canada due to illness in 1893. (Ref: The Anglo Chinese School Magazine 1904 No 13 Vol V, Pg xix)

1893 Penang

Rev Pykett was appointed as Principal of ACSP on 10-4-1893(The Strait Times dated 24-9-1932 & The Anglo Chinese School Magazine 1904 No 13 Vol V, Pg xix).

Rev G F Pykett were conversant in Hokkien(The Church as a Multi-racial Community(2004), by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon, pg 67,

Rev G.F. Pykett and Mrs Young were married in January 1894.
In 1894 the Tamil work was started in Penang by the Pyketts

1896 - MBS Penang moved to Maxwell Road, Penang(current location of KOMTAR)

1-1-1897, the school moved to Maxwell Road. Rev Pykett went on leave for March 1897

1898- Rev Pykett returned form leave on July 1898

13/2/1903 Rev GF Phykett and Mrs Phykett attended the ME Malaya Conference at Singapore(The Straits Times, 13 February 1903, Page 5)

15/2/1903 Mr Hoover ordination at ME Church yesterday, performed by Bishop FW Warne, assisted by Rev GF Pykett and Rev. H.C Stuntz, B.F. West. H.L.E. Luering (The Straits Times,16/2/1903)

The YMCA in Penang was founded in 1905 by the Reverend G.F. Pykett

NST 1-2-1906, reported Pykett attended Methodist Conference at Singapore and requested the next conference to be held at Penang.

1914 - appointed as Headmaster of Methodist Boys's School, Kuala Lumpur, until 1919( Earnest Lau, 2008).

1919 - Return to ACS Penang(MBS)

Ipohr April 25 1924. The sad and unexpected death has occurred, at Taiping Hill, of Miss Elizabeth Pykett, youngest surviving daughter of the Rev. G. F. Pykett and Mrs. Pykett, of the Wesleyan Mission. She was staying at the Nest on the Hill for holidays. She was suddenly taken ill, and was taken down the hill but died before reaching Taiping Hospital(The Strait Times, 25-4-1924).

Retired in April 1932 after illness and medical check up in Singapore.

Rev. Pykett left for England in 1932 but died on 9th Sept. 1932 at Bedford Park, London. Mrs Pykett died earlier in June(Pg 2 & Pg 31, The Strait Times dated 24-9-1932) . His demise was mourned by all. Rev. Pykett was considered a leading power in the Methodist mission as were his contemporaries. He was recognised as one of the forerunners of education in Malaya. In tribute to his good work, the MBS rightly honours him as the man who "came to blaze the trail.".

He leave 2 sons, George Pykett and Dick Pykett, step daughters Mrs McDonald of ACS Primary School, Mrs Keymer of ACS Continuation School, Mrs JM Hoover of Sibu, Borneo.

Two memorial services in Penang, one in ACS, Maxwell Road for all pupils of Methodist Mission Schools,and old pupils of Rev Pykett. Another in Wesley Church.

Annual Methodist Conference in Singapore conducted a memorial service for both Mr & Mrs Pykett(The Strait Times 7-1-1933)

To remember Rev. G. F. Pykett, a road between Burma Road and Westland Road was named after him. The school located there was also named after him, Pykett Methodist School(Sekolah Kebangsaan Pykett Methodist). Later, a side road from Pykett Avenue was also named Pykett Lane.

Related articles
1. The Anglo Chinese School Magazine 1904,
2. ACS Ipoh,,_Ipoh
3. Methodist Boys' School(MBS),
4. Wesley Methodist Church Penang,
6. From mission to church: the evolution of the Methodist Church in Singapore(2008),by Earnest Lau, published by Genesis Book, Singapore. Pg 18 & 19 ( A photo of Rev Robert Sparke Hutchings can be seen in Pg 18).

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