11 Jul Trad or Fad: pre-war homes received RM3mil facelift
Kimberley Street; named after John Wodehouse, the Earl of Kimberley, who was the British Colonial Secretray in the 1870s. Stretched from Penang Road to Carnarvon Street, this street is thought as the heart of the traditional Chinatown of George Town. Populated by Teochews from Swatow in the 19th century, bihun and mee suah were once made by drying them in the open at the street here.
Currently six heritage shophouses on this street owned by the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) will be receiving a fresh new look. This RM3million restoration project launched by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on 4 May 2017 is a cooperative effort by the state government, together with MBPP and GTWHI, Think City Sdn Bhd, Penang Heritage Trust and Penang Apprenticeship Programmes For Artisans (Papa) in taking more proactive steps in the preservation of heritage buildings.
Besides the restoration and physical repair work, the project is also to generate intangible heritage activities and maintain the traditional lifestyle appropriate for the buildings
Located in George Town World Heritage Site’s buffer zone and listed as Category 2 heritage buildings, the six units of two-storey shophouses would then create a total of eight new compartments. Allowing local craftsmen to continue operating here with sustainable rentals, GTWHI is currently working on a plan and programme to rent out the restored premises.
“We are not looking at it as only a space for artisans but we want to generate a model or formula for traditional traders to work their craft and compete in the market in sustainable ways,” said GTWHI general manager Ang Ming Chee.