A couple of fascinating images of Chulia Street, showing early modes of public transport.

A trolleybus turning out of Chulia Street onto Penang Road passing by Leith St Police Station, circa 1926 - Postcard photograph provided by Ric Francis, from his book Penang Trams, Trolleybuses and Railways

A tram cruising along Chulia St circa 1918 – Thanks to Ric Francis for this postcard image from his collection; also appeared in his book Penang Trams, Trolleybuses and Railways

This section of Chulia Street is likely to be between Chulia Lane and Love Lane. Notice the wide pavement for pedestrians. Unfortunately, the pavement is no longer there and instead, the space is used for car park bays. It’s a fascinating image. (Click twice to enlarge it to full-screen view.) Notice that a few people are wearing light-coloured shirts or vests and even white pants.

This photos has been circulating in cyberspace. I am not sure what year or even decade this is. Perhaps a pre-war image? This must be the section of Chulia Street between Love Lane and Chulia Lane.

Says mabis60 via twitter:

The road hasn’t changed very much except cars have replaced the rickshaws and the trolley bus elec lines have disappeared. I think the pic was taken somewhere near Cheapside A short lane where you can buy knife, axe, parang, changkul. I rode in one of those rickshaws during my young days in the early 1950s.

Yes, those were the days when the eco-friendly trams cruised up and down the streets.

Did you know a map of George Town in the late 18th century shows paddy fields located on part of present day Chulia Street? Most likely to provide the staple food for the early community of George Town, some of whom arrived from the Kuala Kedah area.

The majority of the early settlers at Chulia Street were South Indian Muslim traders while Chinese shopkeepers arrived in the late 19th century.

tunglang reminisces about old Chulia Street:

As I stare at this photo of Old World Charm Penang, I cannot help but go back to that photographic moment and savour the sights, the sounds and the smells of inner city George Town.

Standing at the junction of Love Lane looking down the street of old Chulia in the comfortable heat of the one o’clock in the afternoon, I am alerted by the sudden ringing of bicycles leisurely traversing from the side lane famed for Cantonese Carpenter’s Guild (Lo Pan Hang) towards the opposite side of main Chulia Street. It is lunch time and these carpenters on bicycles are so hungry for their favourite lunch at the Campbell Street Market as can be seen by their shaky, snaky pedalling.

The main traffic in this thoroughfare consists of rickshaws with running legs and two huge wheels. The quick-footed running and slow approach from the opposite direction as if rooted to the road really amuse me. But once it is 20 feet near, the speed of the rickshaw is amazing. I can hear the puffing of the rickshaw puller, face red with perspiration, like the horse power of the future car. Plus the rolling sound of hard wheel-rubber on hard road makes him look like the Six Million Dollar Man of the 1970s TV series. Not a minute passes by without the sight of this wonderful invention of the Chinese before the advent of the horse-power engines.

Already red faced from the heat of the afternoon, I walk to the five-foot way (Goh Kha Kee) to take in the cool breeze rushing along the corridor. I am now delighted to hear the cracking sounds of a British-made radio playing Cuban Cha Cha music from a Chinese medical hall. In rhythm with the music, I watch the rhythmic walking pace of pedestrians with black umbrellas going about their business. Even the sleepy dog beside me is wagging its tail to the tempo.

As I walk along the corridor, I am surprised by a familiar hawker’s call and the heavenly smell of the wan than mee. This hawker on a bicycle is precariously balancing his ride with one hand holding his bowl of hot mee and another flipping the twin bamboo sticks. Before he stops just in front of me, I can now see a rattan basket being lowered from a third-storey window above. I hear the half-yelling of a Canto Ah Mah Cheh.

Nodding and saying “Lei Loh” the hawker gingerly places his heavenly cuisine into the basket while taking the bronze coins in payment for the affordable Wan Than Mee.

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