Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow

Here are 3 boys, posing outside the Mayfair Hotel.

Does anyone know where it was? Or, is the hotel still there today? The donor of this photograph is just as stumped as we are…….maybe someone out there could tell us more!

  1. ipohgal says:

    Trying to make a guess here. Could it be at Jalan Bendahara? Opposite this hotel is Sri Maju Express Bus station and further down from this is Shen Jai High School. This hotel was later taken over by a restaurant.Not sure when.Correct me if I am wrong.

  2. felicia says:

    we’re not sure ourselves, Ipohgal. but it’s a good start. you could be right.
    would you happen to know the name of the restaurant that took over the hotel?

  3. Raz says:

    ST archives mention a Mayfair Hotel on Cowan street, after a hand grenade was thrown into the kitchen injuring one.

  4. ika says:

    I am now totally confused as I have just read another claim that the Mayfair hotel was where Foh San is today!


  5. Ken Chan says:

    This picture is the lighting rod that jolted my memory and as I turn back the pages of time, the images of the defunct Mayfair Hotel began to filter into my foggy mind. To begin with, Raz is correct because the hotel was indeed located along Cowan Street near the intersection with Leong Sin Nam Street. To put it in perspective, the three boys in the picture were by the curbside just in front of Wah Nam Coffee Shop. The Mayfair was a sprawling bungalow-style hotel that had a pretty decent in-house restaurant and it was quite well-patronized by locals as well as tourists from out of town. While the Station Hotel was the ‘numero uno’ hotel in Old Town, the Mayfair was its equivalent in New Town. The hedge shown in the picture (partially covered by the Land Rover) was Hibiscus bushes and on some days it was adorned with bright crimson blooms. Behind the hedge, there was a row of star fruit trees, and some of it actually appeared in the top left corner of the picture. At that time, Leong Sin Nam Street ended at the junction of Cowan Street. When the Mayfair was demolished in the later part of the 60’s, Leong Sin Nam Street was extended in the direction where Foh San, Ming Court and Yoke Fook Moon, the three hugely popular dim sum restaurants are located. With the hotel gone, rows of shop houses were constructed in its place. These childhood memories come to mind so readily because on many occasions, I would wander across the street to the Mayfair to pick star fruits or pluck Hibiscus flowers while my parents were still enjoying their meal in Wah Nam. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to peel away the years and revisit the past again.

  6. Yeun Yin Fong says:

    Thank you Ken and I stand corrected…although my father still insists that he was right about it being in Fair Park, haha.

  7. ika says:

    As far as I was told yesterday, there was an earlier hotel on the site of the Fair Park Hotel which a number of people agree was called the Mayfair for a while, but it was not a bungalow style building like this one. Could have been the Fair Park under another name?

    • Dave Allan says:

      It was called the Mayfair previously, My father was with the 12th Royal lancers and out there in the fifties before being shipped back for the queens coronation parade, he then returned before going back to Germany, Sadly my father has just passed away this week and as my sister went through some of his things she found a receipt from the Mayfair and conformation of his booking for a top room at the rate of 7 pence a night, sadly in the same pocket was a letter denying my mother a visa to visit him on that date… Bless him, he had both fond Memories of Ipoh and was still so proud to have served out there as difficult as it was sometimes..

  8. S.Y. Lee says:

    If I am not mistaken, the building is the Hak Sut Koong Hooi Building which was later used for the Shen Chai School. The building next to it, opposite the Sri Maju Bus Depot was the Park Hotel [not Fair Park Hotel}. This building was the former Leong Kan residence. Leong Kan was another tin miner in Ipoh

  9. Mano says:

    Much to my delight, since discovering this website a couple of weeks ago, I have never been this eager to be at the computer. As I write this, I just realised that I have become a blogger when just two weeks ago, I did’nt know what that meant! I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all those people who contribute to this site and bring back fondest memories of Ipoh. However, there is one person out there who seems to have an uncanny recollection of any part or puzzle of the towns history. Almost like he has a crystal ball but in reverse. And that’s Ken Chan!

  10. felicia says:

    glad you’ve been ‘converted’ Mano! 😉 indeed, we ourselves at Ipohworld are grateful to Ken Chan and his ‘crystal ball’….

  11. Katherine Wong says:

    Bingo Ken Chan you are right. Mayfair Hotel was located along Cowan Street near the intersection with Leong Sin Nam Street.
    Actually the one on the left and in the middle are my brothers when they were young. The boy on the right is a friend. In front was Brewster Road, now call Jalan Idris Shah I think. We stayed in the shop lot along Brewster Road. We went to Mayfair Park to play and also for the star fruits, hibiscus flower, catching spiders among the bush. Anyone know in that place a man once hung himself there. It was gruesome indeed.
    The Wah Nam fried noodles were delicious and popular. They fried the noodles outside over a charcoal stove. They used a blower to fan the charcoal fire in the stove. Many Ipohite had the supper there after the night shows. The eating shop and the tables and chairs outside were always full.
    Further down Cowan Street you will find an eating store there. One Nyona lady selling laksa there. The ice-kacang, popiah and all the food there were just scrumptious. The yesterday year food prepared by the earlier food sellers were real great cook. The ingredients they used were mostly organic and healthy. It is a pity no one inherit their skill in cooking.

  12. Ken Chan says:

    Hi Katherine,
    Sounds like you are a foodie just like me. Mayfair and its surrounding areas were indeed an interesting place for city kids who yearn for some adventure in the ‘woods’. The fried noodles were out of this world, remember they sprinkle real crab meat on the noodles before serving it to the customers. The ice kacang stall was owned by Mr. Lee and everyone of the hawkers were my favorites. The Nyonya lady’s assam laksa was comparable to the best in Penang. She would stare at me whenever I add a lot of ‘har ko’ (shrimp paste) into my bowl of laksa. The ‘har ko’ was contained in a small ‘Brands Essence of Chicken’ bottle and I use up almost half of it every time. Wow, that was such a long time ago, what a trip down memory lane!

  13. felicia says:

    Katherine, Ken…any idea what’s become of these hawkers? have they moved away to another food-haunt? or, have they sadly faded away with time?

  14. Charlie says:

    The Nyonya Laksa Lady looked to be in her 50’s or 60’s during the sixties. Sharing the same place was also a Kuay Teow Chicken Stall, that used real big prawns for making the soup, hence the red colour oil, not red palm oil they use nowadays for show only. One of his sons now operates the Chickin Tauge Shop further down and on the opposite side of Cowan Street. Anybody remember Ipoh Emporium, it was located somewhere in this locality in the sixties and seventies?

  15. Ken Chan says:

    Like most of us who originated from Ipoh, Charlie, you are a true, blue foodie! You are absolutely correct about the Kway Teow Stall’s son. He does own and operate the Chicken Taugeh Stall along Cowan Street, next to the Magnum Empat Ekor outlet. In the 50’s and 60’s they really use fresh water prawns from Tanjung Tualang to prepare the noodles and these gigantic crustaceans were hung up, on display in the stall. Even though I have been living far away from Ipoh for almost 30 years, I am still very much addicted to Malaysian food. Of course, I remember Ipoh Emporium, which was located at the corner of Leong Sin Nam Street, across from the row of shop houses where the Mayfair once stood. Ipoh Emporium was the precursor to the much bigger Perak Emporium which occupied several floors of the Lam Looking Building.

  16. PT says:

    Ken, your description of the location of Mayfair Hotel jogged my memory of the hotel. I now remember that building, having been there for supper once in 1966.
    The development of that section of Ipoh, the Excelsior Hotel and its vicinity was fairly recent. It began round about from the mid-70s.

  17. Charlie says:

    Hi Ken, I can’t claim to be a foodie, cos I always go back to the stalls that I like. Rather boring! However, my late father was someone, you could say “lived to eat”. So much so that he started his own restaurant called “Shangri-La Restoran” at 57-59 Cowan Street in the 70’s. I, myself didn’t know it well, as I was away in England at the time and it shut down in ’76 when my Dad passed away. Have you been there before?

  18. Ken Chan says:

    Hi Charlie,
    I remember Shangri-La Restaurant very well, having spent many happy moments there dining with my late father. It was a great place to savor fine Cantonese cuisine and was also my family’s favorite ‘yum char’ destination on Sunday mornings. If my memory serves my correctly, it was one of the earliest restaurant in Ipoh to offer the popular Hong Kong-style dim sum (dainty, bite-size morsels, unlike the chunky old-style variety). The restaurant was doing brisk business and parking was rather problematic, especially on weekends. During the peak hours, the street urchins were having a field day, making a fast buck by working as ‘jaga keretas’. When the restaurant folded up quite unexpectedly, connoisseurs of good Cantonese food had to satisfy their gastronomical needs in other restaurants like Fung Lum and Lee How Fook. Many years later, another very good Cantonese eatery opened up in the same vicinity and that is Oversea Restaurant, which has remained popular up to this day.

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