A bungalow on the Hill

loading A front view of Lomond; several house servants are in evidence, circa 1884.

Sanatorium. Retreat. Home. The bungalows up on the Hill played different roles throughout Penang’s history.

The first structures to appear on top of Penang Hill were almost certainly a flagstaff for signalling the arrival of shipping, together with a small building to house a military detachment. These were in place by 1793, with the soldier’s task being to maintain a lookout and send signals to the town, although they were able to spend their considerable free time cultivating a garden. Occupants of George Town looked to the top of the Hill for news of the arrival of shipping, so naturally, it became known as Flagstaff Hill, or Bukit Bendera. Ten years later, in the first years of the 19th century, the cool temperatures and expansive views at the Hill’s summit had attracted a governor’s residence and a sanatorium for East India Company employees.

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