In Penang, Malaysia, the Suffolk House refers to two early residences built on the same site located some four miles west of George Town, Penang, on the banks of the Air Itam River (Black Water River in the Malay language). The earliest of the two buildings is notable for serving as the residence of Francis Light, the founder of the British settlement on the Prince of Wales Island, commonly known as Penang Island. Following Light's death in 1794, and with Penang becoming the fourth presidency of India in 1805, a newer Suffolk House replaced the original house, assuming multiple roles and was later neglected before its current restoration.
The mansion and the estate it was built on, the Suffolk Estate, is presumably named after Suffolk county in England. Light was born in Dallinghoo, Suffolk in East Anglia. The original Suffolk House served as Francis Light's residence and has been described as a simple Anglo-Indian Garden House style of timber and attap construction, built within his pepper estate called Suffolk. Light settled in the estate until his death in 1794.
On the purchase of the land from Light's estate in 1805, William Edward Phillips began the works of a Georgian-styled mansion called Suffolk Park. He was not, at the time of the mansion's construction, governor to the island, but became so in later years. It was an ostentatious statement in a settlement with barely 120 European residents, many of whom were trades people and merchants.