Penang Happenings | Campbell Street
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Campbell Street

Campbell Street, or Lebuh Campbell to locals, lies within the buffer zone of George Town’s Heritage Site, running from Penang Road to the junction of Carnarvon Street and Buckingham Road. The street is renowned as one of the best-preserved roads housing Straits-era buildings within George Town. Once an infamous red-light district, the street became the most important shopping district for local Penangites with a variety of clothes outlets, watch shops, shoe shops, jewelry shops, and goldsmiths. The business declined by the mid-70s, and today most of them have been taken over by wholesalers.

A quick waltz to the Campbell Street of today and tourists may find themselves spoilt for choice when it comes to both shopping and food. Although many of the old shops are gone, some of them still function as they originally intended – in particular the shoe shops and jewelry shops. Numerous shop houses, though, have been retrofitted as new nostalgia-themed cafes and restaurants, such as the Kim How jeweler which now currently serves as the Kim Haus café, a popular café amongst the youth and the Penang art/music scene who hold regular performances and stand-up comedy shows there. The café still houses some of Kim How’s old jewelry-making equipment as part of its nostalgia theme.

In short, the Campbell Street that the old used to know may be gone, but in its place stands a new generation that is determined to keep its legacy amongst George Town’s heritage alive and well, with new and renewed vigor.