Friday, 2 May 2014

Dr Hutton

A British doctor, Dr Hutton was the only registered physician in Penang in 1805. Hutton Lane is named after him. The road has been renamed to Jalan Hatin. The mosque on this road has been named Masjid Jamek Jalan Hatin.

There are many interesting stories told of Hutton Lane but not the doctor. Ami Aziz lived here with his Japanese wife after the war. Dr Kamil Ariff had his clinic around the left corner on Penang Road, a photo of which appears in a book by Salma Khoo Nasution. The second site of the Chowrasta Malay School is across the road from the mosque, and exists here till today. Among the Malay doctors who attended this Malay school was Dr Abdul Aziz bin Omar, a Penangite who moved to Kota Bharu, Kelantan, whose second child (son) recently passed away in KL.

Hutton Lane or Jalan Hatin is still important to Penang. It has a large old Malay house called the Tea House, which is now a Malay gallery. I have given information about the early Malay doctors to be included for display at the Tea House, especially information about the Hajj where Penang port served as the most important port for the Malay Peninsula till 1963.

I have walked down Hutton Lane a few times and peered into some of the deserted dilapidated shop houses. It feels sad that stories of this place have disappeared along with its original inhabitants. The doors, windows and floor tiles of the shop houses tell of a thriving business here long ago. An interesting find is the shop houses are small and short compared to the shop houses of Malacca around Jonker Street area. The front lobby or living-room is very small and fits a table. Then, there is a staircase which is covered at the sides. I could not see beyond the staircase as I did not enter the locked premises. I just wondered, the shop owners must have operated in very small spaces, and must have made it great. I could not figure out where Dr Hutton had his clinic if indeed it was in Hutton Lane in 1805.

Related books:

  1. City Council of Georgetown, Penang. Penang Past and Present, 1786-1963. 1966. Ganesh Printing Works. 17 pp.  
  2. Committee of Penang Festival ’86. Well-Known Persons. In: Historical Personalities of Penang. Phoenix Press Sdn Bhd, Penang. 1986. Pp. 173-179.
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