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From The Light Letters Collection: Correspondence Between Sultan Abdullah Mukaram Shah And Francis Light

Sultan Abdullah Mukaram Shah ruled Kedah from 1778 until 1797. During his time, Pulau Pinang was occupied by Francis Light. A treaty was concluded between the East India Company and Kedah in 1791. The close relationship between Sultan Abdullah Mukaram Shah and Light cannot be denied. We find more than 130 letters sent by Sultan Abdullah to Francis Light from 1785 to 1794. These letters, written in the Jawi script, are very well preserved in the Archives and Special Collections, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) Library, University of London with the reference number MS 40320. The letters were transliterated and a summary of each letter is provided in Bahasa Melayu as well as in English. The contents of the letters are invaluable to understand the early history of Pulau Pinang, Kedah and the region.

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Historic Building Plans, MPPP Collection

The Jabatan Warisan - Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang, The Heritage Department of the Municipal Council of Penang Island, is the source of a protected collection of historic building plans, submitted, over the years, by owners or their architects and draftsmen to the then approving authorities. Currently the earliest digitalised plan is 1904.

Since 2008 MPPP has been digitalising the Historic Building Plans (HBP) and with the assistance of GTWHI, carried out a paper conservation programme, allowing the more delicate drawings to be conserved and photographed for further digitalisation.

The programme of conservation and digitalisation is on going therefore a search request to the Heritage Department may discover further drawings and documents, relevant to your search.

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JUPEM - Kelly Maps Collection

Jabatan Ukur dan Pemetaan Pulau Pinang (JUPEM) is The Penang State Survey Office, is the source of a collection of historic surveys, including the famous Kelly Maps.

The early survey maps of George Town, Penang Island and Penang Mainland (Province Wellesley), were originally pioneered by the Surveyors Department in India, with the first Trigonometrical Surveys taking place in Balik Pulau in 1885 by Messrs Laseron & Peters, surveyors (1885-1890).

Between 1891 and 1893 F W Kelly, Superintendent of Surveys took over the earlier survey work and went on to supervise the block surveys of the entire state of Penang. Kelly also updated the original 1885 Laseron and Peters' surveys. Between 1893 and 1897 Kelly's block surveys were put together in a grid forming sheets. Although not signed by Kelly these, together with the block surveys, are locally referred to as the Kelly Maps.

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The CG Boutcher Collection

Charles Geoffrey Boutcher (1884 -1964) FRIBA, trained at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in 1901 and around 1907 joined the Architectural Association, London. He arrived in Malaya in 1913 and began a captivating career, using his talents in architecture, art and photography to leave behind a tangible legacy of the tastes, desires, wealth and fascination in inventive and novel technology reflecting the society, cultures and religions of his adopted country.

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The RGS-IBG, VOP collection

The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) / RGS-IBG, London UK, holds a vast collection of records that spans 500 years of geography, travel and exploration. These include over 2 million documents, maps photographs, paintings, periodicals, artefacts and books. Information on these records can be accessed through the RGS with IBG online catalogue,

The watermarked images uploaded to Visions of Penang, comprise photographs researched specifically for VOP, and show life in in Penang from bygone eras.

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The KSN Collection

Author, historian and publisher Khoo Salma Nasution nee Khoo Su Nin, presents her collection of photographs for the Visions of Penang, my heritage my Penang online archive. These photographs were taken mainly between 1991 and 1993 when she was compiling her popular and oft quoted book Streets of George Town.

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The National Archives UK, VOP Collection

The National Archives in the United Kingdom, holds a vast collection of records relating to Britain and the areas of the world of her various historical administrations. These records can be explored on their website catalogue or at their archive centre in Kew, Surrey, UK.

The watermarked images uploaded to Visions of Penang, comprise drawings researched specifically for VOP and include those from the government public works department, or its forerunner, for George Town and Penang Island. These include proposal for Weld Quay and Prangin Canal, as well as maps of both Penang Island and the mainland.

Although the images are shown individually they were often part of a set of drawings for included in reports. Those extracted from other documents have been noted as such and the reference for the main documents is given. The main documents have not been included on VOP and access to these documents should be checked with the National Archives UK

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The Penang State Library Collection

The Penang State Library Collection is a collection of photographs for public reference. It consists of images of Penang Island and Province Wellesley from as early and 1869. These photographs show the buildings, streets, everyday life and grand occasions. Research is on going to provide accurate data alongside each image, and further images for your research.

The originals of these images can be found in the Rare Books Room of the Penang State Library. The Library has an on going programme to digitalise their collection of rare books, newspapers and photographs.

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The Wade Collection

The Wade Collection refers to the collection of postcards assembled by Malcolm Wade for publication in Wade, M., and Khoo, S. N. (2003) Penang Postcard Collection 1899-1930s, published by Janus Print and Resources and republished by Areca Books. These postcards show the buildings, streets, everyday life and grand occasions on Penang Island and mainland – Province Wellesley between the boom years of 1899 and 1930s.

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