Fort Cornwallis to be fully restored by early 2025

After restoration works started at the poorly maintained storerooms of Fort Cornwallis in 2016, George Town Conservation and Development Corporation Sdn Bhd (GTCDC) revealed that the first phase of its refurbishment is now complete.

During a walkabout with Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow on its grounds yesterday, Think City board director Laurence Loh said that the only surviving intact mercenary fort in Malaysia now has a high-value proposition.

Just a stone’s throw away from the fort is a port that can accommodate six cruise ships at any one time. This amounts to an easy footfall of between 1,000 and 5,000 people.

“If we play our cards right, and when Penang Port Commission has redone the godowns, these visitors will not dissipate from the area. And so we can get half a million visitors a year.

The process of its restoration saw desk research, site and building assessments, physical investigations, archaeological works, testing and experimentation, pilot demonstrations, mock-ups and full project implementation. Consultations were made with specialists, including historians, archaeologists, conservation architects, structural engineers and master builders with expertise in traditional construction.

The ten fort storerooms have been conserved in their former state. Their bricks were reinforced with breathable concrete made and tested locally to prevent the occurrence of mould. Several parts of the original brick forms that have collapsed are preserved for public showcase.

The Penang government funded RM4.5 million while Think City funded RM1.3 million for the project.

During the excavations that happened from December 2018 to September 2019, approximately 30,000 artefacts were found in the storage rooms that were restored and also in the south moat. Among them were four cannons, bullet shells and other everyday items used by the Japanese occupiers and the British colonialists in their respective eras.

GTCDC, Think City and Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) will be looking at filling all these rooms with panels to educate visitors on its history, heritage value and artefacts found within the vicinity.

Phase 1A will proceed once the storerooms are filled with the reinstatement of the original moat. The initiative is expected to start at the end of 2022 and it is expected to complete in 2024.

According to the Technical Advisor of AKTC and Think City, Francesco Siravo, excavation will continue at both locations where the moat will be reinstated; that is on the south and the west of the fort.

“Based on the map drawn in the 19th century, the moat will be in the exact position and we are going to continue excavating slowly until we reach 1.8m deep.

The Fort Cornwallis Project is guided by three key documents including the George Town Special Area Plan, the George Town Strategic Master Plan (Public Realm Addendum), and the Fort Cornwallis Conservation Management Plan.

The initiatives are part and parcel of the wider North Seafront Improvement Programme that covers 14 projects and demonstrates the advantages of a culture-based approach toward sustainable socio-economic development of George Town’s valuable heritage and environmental assets.

This includes the seawall featuring a two-tiered walkway, along with a trench which would take in water from outside the seawall during high tide.

Source: TheVibes.com

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