Penang Heritage Tip :: Convent Light Street

The Convent Light Street, or Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus, a girls’ school established by a French Sisters’ Mission in 1852.

Within the walled complex is one of the oldest buildings in George Town, the bungalow of Francis Light which dates back to around 1793. As the seat of the Penang Government in the early 19th century, it was called the “Government House”. Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore, worked here from 1805 to 1810 as Deputy Secretary to the Governor of Penang.

In the early days, Convent Light Street also functioned as an orphange, taking in unwanted babies of every race and background. In addition, it also functioned as a boarding school, and some of the boarders are from the upper class of society, daughters of royal families and wealthy families from as far as Thailand. As the school grew, it soon become necessary to move to bigger premises. In 1859, the Holy Infant Jesus Mission acquired the Government House, and seven-acre site surrounding it. And it was here that the Convent Light Street school complex developed. Among the extensions added were the Old Chapel (1867), the Old Hall, cloisters and classrooms (1882) and extensions in 1901, 1929 and 1934, by which time, there was no more room to grow.

Today, Convent Light Street has fully adopted mainstream education, the halls, corridors and cloisters still echo the memory of those early nuns who sacrificed their all for the education of the girls in far-away lands.

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GPS Coordinates: 5 25’16.76″N 100 20’19.29″E Geotag Icon Show on map