Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Hidden Gem at Penang Supreme Court

The wooden stairways from the rear lobby of the Penang supreme court leads to a space on the second floor which is dark if not for the light that streams down from the concavity in the ceiling above. It is a dome with peacock motif stained glass lined with copper carvings.

We'll come back to the stairs and the dome in a moment...

Penang :: Dome of the Supreme Court
Dome with peacock motif stained glass, lined with copper carvings
The Penang supreme court that stands on the plot of land in between Light Street and Farquhar Street was built by the British colonists in 1903. The architectural design was influenced by the works of Andrew Palladio, a 16th-century Venetian architect.

Penang :: Supreme Court
The newly-restored Penang supreme court, as seen from Light Street

Penang :: Supreme CourtThe building was recently renovated and a 3-story wing was added to the existing building. As part of the restoration project, Logan Memorial, which originally sat within the compound was moved to its new home across Light Street, opposite the Supreme Court.

Penang :: Logan Memorial
Logan Memorial, built in the honour of James Logan, champion of the rights of the non-white local community
The memorial was built to honour James Logan, a lawyer who fought for the rights of the local community, which was often suppressed by the whites. His death in 1869 was a huge loss for the locals. To remember him as a champion of rights, they pooled funds to erect a memorial for him.

Now, returning to the wooden stairways and the dome...

The stairways were originally covered in layers of paint. During the restoration works, the paint was carefully scraped off to reveal the original teak wood beneath. As for the dome, it was discovered when the workers were about to restore a piece of broken wood. To their amazement, hidden behind the wood was a dome with the peacock motif stained glass and copper carvings still intact. Thick layers of dust were cleaned off the dome and it has become an attraction at the supreme court since then.

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