Guilds that Built Penang

loading The 82nd anniversary of Kim Tin Seah.

Penang became a regional entrepot in the early nineteenth century and with it, various kinds of constructions sprung up to meet the needs of public development and the large influx of immigrants. To cater for practitioners in the industry, various builders’ associations were formed to provide working opportunities and welfare.

Penang Monthly looks at two of the myriad guilds that, while playing different roles, contributed significantly to Penang’s development.

Kim Tin Seah

The rebuilding of Master Lu Ban Temple.

Formed in the mid-nineteenth century, Kim Tin Seah was initially an association for house builders in Penang. Registered in 1893, its inception was to commemorate Tan Kim Tin, a nineteenth-century contractor who solved the flooding problem at Esplanade by building an embankment.1 By 1904, it already had 291 members.2

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