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Dickens Street, George Town, Penang

Dickens Street, George Town

Dickens Street is a short one-way street within George Town's UNESCO World Heritage Site. It links Transfer Road to the west with Penang Road to the east, with traffic flowing from east to west.

The street was named after a British magistrate who was appointed to be the first judge on Penang Island (then known as the Prince of Wales Island) at the turn of the 19th. century. However, he found that his services were not required upon arriving in George Town, as the British East India Company had already set up a Recorder's Court for their new island colony.

Today, Dickens Street runs along the rear of the Penang Police Headquarters, which was built in the early 20th. century.

Dickens Street sign, George Town, Penang

Dickens Street sign

Etymology

Dickens Street was named after John Dickens, a British magistrate who was sent to the Prince of Wales Island at the turn of the 19th. century to provide legal services on the newfound British colony. However, upon arriving at George Town in 1801, he discovered that his services were no longer required, as the British East India Company had already established a Recorder's Court for the new settlement.

The Chinese called the street Lim Leng Cheak Chu-Pi, meaning 'the street next to Lim Leng Cheak's house' in Penang Hokkien. It referred to the mansion of Lim Leng Cheak, a rice miller and philanthropist, which was located at the spot where the Penang Police Headquarters now stand.

History

Throughout the 19th. century and into the 20th. century, Dickens Street was merely a footpath linking Penang Road and Transfer Road.

It was here where Lim Leng Cheak had his mansion built. Later on, in the 1930s, the mansion gave way to the Penang Police Headquarters, which was completed just before World War 2. Simultaneously, Dickens Street was paved, becoming the street we see today.

The police headquarters took some damage during the war and was subsequently repaired by Indian workers after the war.

Penang Police Headquarters, Penang Road, George Town, Penang

Penang Police Headquarters, fronting Penang Road

Notable Landmark

  • Penang Police Headquarters

Political Representation

Penang State Government

N.28 Komtar State Assemblyman : Teh Lai Heng (Democratic Action Party)

Malaysian Federal Parliament

P.049 Tanjong Member of Parliament : Ng Wei Aik (Democratic Action Party)

References

  1. Khoo S.N., 2007. Streets of George Town, Penang. Areca Books, Penang.
  2. http://www.penang-traveltips.com/dickens-street.htm
  3. http://wongchunwai.com/2013/06/colonial-law-stalwarts/

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