Adventures at Home: Rediscovering the Singapore River, Lifestyle News
What are your fond memories of the Singapore River? Maybe it’s hanging out after dark with the brothers at Clarke Quay? Maybe you had your first date with bae at Robertson Quay?
Our nation’s history is closely linked to the Singapore River – it was at the mouth of the river that Stamford Raffles first entered our island and where Sang Nila Utama discovered the mythical lion who gave his birth. name to our city.
And hey, we remember the Singapore River forever every time we sing our 98 NPD song, Home …. And now the song is stuck in our heads.
The Singapore River of the past was certainly not the poster child for cleanliness – our Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew called for the troubled waterways to be cleaned up in the late 1970s. Now it’s so clean that otter families have made their home there.
With the National Heritage Board’s Singapore River Walk in hand, we rediscover how it has contributed to the growth and development of our country over the years.
Visit the bridges that line the Singapore River
You know you’ve come to the right place when you see this sign. If you are wondering, three quintals is about 152 kg. The bridge therefore only allowed pedestrians to cross. No pets!
The Cavenagh Bridge is Singapore’s oldest suspension bridge. It opened to the public in 1869, connecting government offices on the north bank of the river to the commercial and commercial area across the bridge (now Raffles Place).
Before this bridge was built, people had to pay a ¼ cent toll to cross a temporary walkway – probably the first LES that our ancestors had to pay.
The bridge was built in Scotland and tested with a load 4 times its weight before being shipped to Singapore to ensure it was confirmed and cut safely.
It was named in honor of Sir William O. Cavenagh, Governor of the Straits Settlements from 1859 to 1867.
What do you do when a bridge has traffic jams? Make another Oh. This steel bridge was opened in 1909 to facilitate heavy traffic on the Cavenagh Bridge.
It was named after Sir John Anderson, Governor of Straits Settlement and High Commissioner for the Federated Malay States from 1904 to 1911.
The Elgin Bridge was completed in 1929 and was the fifth bridge to be built there – the same site where the very first bridge was built over the Singapore River in the 1820s.
North Bridge Road and South Bridge Road were named after this bridge.
The Elgin Bridge was named in honor of Lord James B. Elgin, Governor General of India from 1862 to 1863.
Look for medallions with a palm tree and a lion (symbol of old Singapore) and cast iron lamps – these were designed by Italian sculptor Rudolfo Nolli.
You can find the same symbol at the Victoria Theater and Concert Hall and at the Central Fire Station.
The Cavenagh Bridge, Anderson Bridge and Elgin Bridge have collectively been listed in the Official Journal as our 73rd National Monument.
Speaking of national monuments, there is an exhibition highlighting these iconic structures currently taking place at the National Museum.
This bridge was first built in 1840, then replaced in 1886 by a cast iron and steel bridge. It was named after its designer, Irish architect George Dromgold Coleman, who also designed the Armenian Church and the Old Parliament.
The current Coleman Bridge retains its shallow arches, old gas chandeliers, and Victorian-style railings.
Read the bridge
We cross this bridge to get to Clarke Quay, but when it opened in 1889, it was a gathering place for Teochew workers who listened to traditional storytellers in the evenings.
Read Bridge was named after businessman William Henry Macleod Read who was active in Singapore’s political and social scene at the time.
It underwent extensive repairs and was converted into a pedestrian bridge in 1991 by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
Nothing to do with ORD ya – although this bridge connects River Valley Road to Magazine Road, where ammunition was stored in the past.
Ord Bridge was opened in 1886 and is named after Sir Harry St George Ord, the first Governor of Singapore after the island became a Crown Colony.
It used to be green in color, so people called it the “green bridge” in their local languages. It was also given the name “Toddy Bridge” because there were many shops selling toddy (palm liquor) in the area until the 1970s.
Unlike previous bridges, the Alkaff Bridge is fairly new. Built in 1997, it has the shape of a tongkang (traditional river boat).
The bridge is named after the area of Alkaff Quay, which was named after Syed Shaik Alkaff – the original owner of Alkaff Mansion who also funded the construction of the Alkaff Upper Serangoon Mosque, a national monument .
The eclectic colors of Alkaff Bridge are the masterpiece of international artist Pacinta Abad. Bae will surely want to pose for the gram here, surely.
Go for a pint at Clarke Quay The River House and The Cannery
Clarke Quay is where the party takes place after dark – but you might not know it’s home to the largest cluster of riverside warehouses and plenty of traditional buildings, many of them have been around since the 19th century.
The River House is a Teochew-style mansion built in the 1880s, making it the oldest building in the area. It was restored in 1993 and won the Urban Redevelopment Authority Architectural Heritage Award in 1995.
It was built by Teochew’s first businessman, Tan Yeok Nee, and was once the seat of a secret society. Today you can dine at Mimi Restaurant or have a drink at Yin – or even have your wedding at the mansion.
Another historical landmark at Clarke Quay is The Cannery, an 1891 warehouse. Before housing the Zouk as well as several bars and restaurants, it was actually a pineapple cannery.
Dine by the Singapore River at Boat Quay
Just around the corner from Clarke Quay, is one of the best makan in Singapore – come at dusk for spectacular views of the Singapore River while dining at the restaurant.
Boat Quay is actually Singapore’s first land reclamation project by Sir Stamford Raffles to turn the embankment into stores and warehouses. Many of these traditional shops have been restored to modern stores and riverside restaurants.
If you fancy something local, grab a bite to eat at 109 Teochew Yong Tau Foo. This place has been around for over 30 years! Avoid the lunchtime crowds and order the laksa sauce.
For something more chic, head to the Braci rooftop restaurant for the stunning views, or try the adventurous menu at The Dragon Chamber.
Nightly rendezvous at Robertson Quay
The quieter of the three docks, the tranquil atmosphere of Robertson Quay is perfect for a romantic evening.
Before it became a place to dine and have a drink, the old Robertson Quay was a bustling area dominated by shipyards and warehouses.
Take bae on a surprise date at Publico Ristorante which serves excellent Italian cuisine, or book a table at Po for an Asian dining experience.
Your Insta-Walk checklist here:
Masjid Omar Kampong Melaka
Singapore is home to many beautiful mosques. This one, in particular, might not sound like much, but Masjid Omar Kampong Melaka has the unique distinction of being the oldest mosque in the country.
The original structure was built in 1820 – a year after Raffles set foot on our island. A larger building on the same site was completed in 1855, then remodeled decades later in 1981.
This slice of history remains hidden in the middle of Clarke Quay – see you can find it! The NHB classified Masjid Omar Kampong Melaka as a historic site in 2001.
Former Thong Chai Medical Institution
It was the first traditional Chinese medical clinic to offer free treatment to the poor and needy of all races. The building on Eu Tong Sen Street, completed in 1892, retains its traditional Cantonese-style architecture.
Currently, it serves as the Singapore office for the Forever Living Products aloe vera store, so you can window shop while marveling at the elaborate carvings and calligraphy inscriptions adorning the walls.
The current Thong Chai medical institution moved to Chin Swee Road in 1979 and still provides free health care to people from all walks of life.
Art by the river
There are a number of statues installed along the Singapore River. The most famous is that of Sir Stamford Raffles next to Empress Place, where it is believed to be his original landing spot.
It was cast in 1972 and is a replica of a bronze sculpture by Thomas Woolner – the original still stands at the Victoria Theater and Concert Hall.
Near the Cavenagh Bridge, you’ll find these young boys jumping into the Singapore River, sculpted by cultural medallion winner Chong Fah Chong.
Even the great Salvador Dali has a sculpture in the area. It is called “Homage to Newton” and is located near the UOB Plaza, paying homage to Sir Isaac Newton’s discovery of gravity.
The passing story Asia
If you want to explore the rich history of the Singapore River, you can take the NHB’s Singapore River Walk.
Get your trail map and guide here.
This article first appeared in Wonderwall.sg.