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Temple Street is a one-way street connecting South Bridge Road to New Bridge Road. It is flanked on either side by and runs parallel to Pagoda Street and Smith Street. Its name was derived from the Sri Mariamman Temple located nearby. Temple Street lies in the heart of Chinatown.
Temple Street was originally called Almeida Street after Joaquim d'Almeida who owned land at the junction of Temple and Trengganu Streets. There were 2 other streets named after members of the Almeida family during that time as well - D'Almeida Street at Raffles Place and Almeida Road near Mount Victoria. In 1908, Almeida Street was renamed Temple Street. The renaming exercise came after a fire incident on D'Almeida Street which caused confusion with the 2 other similar sounding streets. To avoid any further mix-up, Almeida Road was renamed as well - as Balmoral Road, while D'Almeida Street remained. Temple Street got its name from the Sri Mariamman Temple located at the junction of Temple Street and South Bridge Road. It is also probable that the street was named Temple Street due to the presence of many temples in the vicinity of the road around the area and not necessarily after Sri Mariamman Temple. Sri Mariamman Temple, built in 1827, is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore.
In the 19th century, the area around Temple Street was home to the Chinese although there were also Malay and Indians homes, thus explaining the presence of Muslim and Hindu places of worship in the vicinity. Indians and Malays lived in large numbers on the nearby Cross Street and Chulia Street. Temple Street was popular for Cantonese Operas until 1927 notwithstanding the fact that it was supposed to be a Teochew enclave. There was a famous theatre called Lai Chun Yuen Theatre, located on nearby Smith Street. The area bound by Temple Street and Smith Street was also popular for tinsmith shops. Temple Street It had a lucky streak as it was unharmed by bombs during the World War II.
Currently, Temple Street is lined with quaint 2-storey baroque style shophouses, some of which have been rebuilt or renovated as part of the Chinatown conservation plans. In 1997, a part of Temple Street was converted into a pedestrian mall.
Naidu Ratnala Thulaja
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(Call no.: RSING 779. 995957 CHI)
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(Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN)
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(Call no.: RSING 959.57 EDW)
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(Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV)
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(Call no.: RSING 338.634095957 SUL)
Chan, K. S. ( 2001, May 21). Chinatown's non-Chinese legacy. The Straits Times, Life, p. 12.
Leong, W. K. (1998, March 28). Opera group moves to Smith Street. The Straits Times, p. 61.
Old shophouses put to new uses. (1995, April 29). The Straits Times, Money, p. 46.
Street closed to make way for pedestrian mall. (1997, June 27). The Straits Times, Home, p. 57.
List of Images
Chinatown: An album of a Singapore community (pp. 88-93, 96-99). (1983). Singapore: Times Books International: Archives and Oral History Dept.
(Call no.: RSING 779. 995957 CHI)
Tyers, R. K. (1993). Ray Tyers' Singapore: Then and now (p. 183). Singapore: Landmark Books.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE)
The information in this article is valid as at 2003 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
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