North Bridge Road
Comments on article: InfopediaTalk
North Bridge Road is one of the earliest and longest roads in Singapore. Today it runs through the downtown core, Rochore and Kallang areas in the central region. North Bridge Road, with reference to Elgin Bridge over the Singapore River, stood to its north. The road begins at Crawfurd Street and ends where Elgin Bridge crosses into South Bridge Road.
With the help of Convict labourers, High Street (first street in Singapore), North Bridge Road and Hill Street, were the first three streets carved out of jungle, by Lt. Henry Ralfe, Royal Navy Gunnery Officer, on one of the escort vessels that accompanied Sir Stamford Raffles when he first arrived in Singapore. In Lt. Phillip Jackson's 1823 Plan of the Town of Singapore, published in 1828, we see the existence of North Bridge Road. So the road or track-path then, though not properly made up, was already in use long before 1833, when Mr George Coleman, Superintendent of Public Works headed the construction of North Bridge and South Bridge Roads, with the help of convict labourers. Back then North Bridge Road ran from Arab Street to the Singapore River. Extended in 1925, the road thereafter began from Crawfurd Street by the Rochore River, right up to the Singapore River. North Bridge Road was the main road of this small town (see Chinese names). It was a major road which for a long time was the only link road between the East Coast and the Town.
On this street, there were five movie theatres namely, Theatre Royal, Diamond Theatre, (both Indian Cinemas), Jubilee Theatre, Odeon Theatre and Capitol Theatre. Of these only Capitol Theatre building still stands. There was too, a huge and imposing "neonlight" tower structure with a big "N" advertising for National Products which stood on today's Capitol Centre. Along North Bridge Road there are still some very distinctive buildings like the rear of Sultan Mosque, CHIJMES, and Raffles Hotel; and the fronts of Golden Landmark Buildings, Blanco Court, Bugis Junction, Hotel Intercontinental Singapore, Bras Basah Complex, Odeon Tower, Raffles City Complex, Singapore Mass Rapid Transit, Capitol Building, Peninsula Plaza, Adelphi Building, Funan Centre, Colombo Court (demolished 1999), Treasury Building, Parliament Complex, and High Street Centre.
(1) Seoh Poh meaning "small town" in comparison to South Bridge Road which is Twa Poh or "big town" because the south had more shops and was the location of Chinatown.
(2) Seoh Poh Twa Beh Lor or "main road of the small town".
(3) Chui-sien mng meaning "Water-fairy gate" (possibly because of the Public Bath in Bain Court, a lane off North Bridge Road).
(4) Sio-po hue-chhia lo meaning "Small town tramway".
(5) Lo-ma pano-jiang toa be-chhia lo meaning "'Rumah Panjang' big horse-carriage road" (Rumah Panjang derived from Malay term for "Long House").
(6) Chwi Sian Moi Hui Chia Lo literally means "Water fairy door fire cart road".
(1) Kam-pong taik ma meaning "Kampong (Glam) big horse-carriage road".
Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places (p. 504). Singapore: Times Books International.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 EDW)
Goodwood Journal, 1st Qtr., 7 (1978).
(Call no.: RSING 052 GHCHJ)
Firmstone, H. W. (1905, February). Chinese names of streets and places in Singapore and the Malay Peninsula. Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 42, 114-117.
(Call no.: RSING 959.5 FIR-[IC])
Sheppard, M. (Ed.). (1982). Singapore 150 years (pp. 215, 219). Singapore: Times Books International.
(Call No.: RSING 959.57 SIN)
The information in this article is valid as at 2000 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.