My son and I took a trishaw around Penang Esplanade and at the intersection of Light Street, Beach Street (Lebuh Pantai) and King Edward’s Place (Persiaran King Edward), we saw a clock tower.We managed to see part of the inscription written on the tower ‘This clock tower was presented to Penang….‘
After doing some reading online, I learned the name of the tower; The Jubilee Clock Tower.
Previously known as QueenVictoria Memorial Clock Tower, the clock tower is a free-standing clock tower at the intersection of Light Street, Beach Street (Lebuh Pantai) and King Edward’s Place (Persiaran King Edward). Completed in 1902 in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, the clock tower rises to 60 feet to mark the 60-year reign of Queen Victoria.
The full inscription on the tower reads ‘This clock tower was presented to Penang by Cheah Chen Eok in commemoration of Her Majesty Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee 1937-1897‘.
This clock tower comprises of 4 tiers; the base is octagon-shaped and the following two tiers comprise four distinct sections with elaborate windows, balconies and a clock face on each side. The topmost tier is rounded off with Roman pillars and topped with a golden dome cupola.
The total cost of construction came to$35,000, a princely sum in those days, borne by Cheah Chen Eok, a wealthy businessman. Chen Eok was also a Justice of Peace, Municipal Commissioner of Penang, member of the Chinese Advisory Board, a trustee of the Penang Free School and member of all local clubs. Chen Eok regarded himself as a loyal British subject and when Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, he offered to fully fund the erection of a clock tower in commemorating the event.
During the Second World War, many bombs were dropped around the nearby government buildings and interestingly, this resulted in the slight lean of the clock tower.