South Bridge Road is a major road of the Chinatown area of Singapore, which is just next to the Tanjong Pagar area. Famous attractions along the section of South Bridge Road near to Tanjong Pagar are:
- the new buddhist temple (very impressive architecture)
- Sri Mariamman Temple (famous Hindu temple)
- Masjid Jamae
- Maxwell Road hawker centre
The old Yan Kit swimming complex used to be a famous swimming complex in Singapore but has been abandoned for many years now. In fact, it was one of the first swimming complexes on the island and retained the old architecture. This remains of this swimming complex is along Yan Kt Road off Craig Road, and the best views are from the top of the multi-storey car park located at blocks 2,3 and 4 of the housing flats along Tanjong Pagar Road.
Jinrikisha Station was built in 1903 on the corner of Neil Road and Tanjong Pagar Road. Its name still remains cut into one side of the building. At one time, it was used as a family planning clinic.
The first rickshaws arrived from Shanghai in 1880 and quickly became a distinctive part of Singapore street life. In 1919, there were 9000 jinrikishas daily plying the streets for hire with 20,000 people who gained their livelihood by pulling them. These people had a tough life. They lived in cramp cubicles and had little chance of changing their situations or improving their fortunes. Many took to opium as a form of relaxation.
The Jinrikisha Station is now restored by the government of Singapore.
Tras Street is a street located in the Tanjong Pagar area. The road connects Enggor Street and Gopeng Street to Cook Street, and is intersected by Wallich Street.
The Chinese name for this street, zu shi gong kou, takes after the temple on this street. It is known as cho su kong khau in Hokkien, which means "mouth of the Cho Su Kong temple".
Peak Seah Street is a street located in Tanjong Pagar area near to the Tanjong Pagar MRT sub-way station and Amara Hotel. The road connects Gopeng Street and Tras Street to Maxwell Road, and is intersected by Wallich Street.
Peck Seah Street was named after Seah Peck Seah, son of Seah Eu Chin and brother of Seah Liang Seah. He was the proprietor of Ho Hong Steamship Company and a partner of the Chin Huat Hin Oil Trading Company. He also served as a Justice of Peace. The Seah family was prominent in the Ngee Ann Kongsi and controlled it for many years.
Kreta Ayer Road is a road located in the Chinatown area just next to Tanjong Pagar. The road links Neil Road to New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street, and is intersected by Keong Saik Road.
In the olden days, water drawn from a well near Ann Siang Hill was taken down in bullock carts, hence the name Kreta Ayer, which means "water cart road" in Malay. The Hokkiens refer to this area as gu chia chui, and the Cantonese call it ngow chay shui also meaning "bullock water cart road". Kreta Ayer Road was officially conferred in 1922.
When you are at Kreta Ayer Road, you will notice some historical houses with stairs in the front of the houses (see photos).
Craig Road is a road located in the Tanjong Pagar area. The road links Neil Road and Tanjong Pagar Road, and is also accessible via Duxton Road. Craig Road was named after Captain James Craig, a member of the Merchant Service Guild and an officer of the Freemason's Zetland Lodge, a club. The road was the living quarters of Chinatown's poor in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Neil Road is a famous road at the Tanjong Pagar area near to Chinatown. The road starts at the junction of South Bridge Road, Maxwell Road and Tanjong Pagar Road and ends at Jalan Bukit Merah which then merges into the latter. At the end of the road, it is a conservation area of several shophouses and a three storey Victorian style school building, which was the former site of Fairfield Methodist Girls' School. In the Tanjong Pagar area of the road, it is home to rows of conserved shophouses for various purposes.
Dr J.W. Montgomerie, the first owner of Duxton Hill, cultivated nutmeg plantations on its slopes. Montgomerie died in 1856 and his land on Duxton was auctioned off. Fourteen acres went to Arab Syed Abdullah bin Omar Aljunied, who divided them into four lots which were leased to wealthy Chinese developers. By the 1890s, the developers had built two- and three-storey shophouses in Duxton Hill and the more affluent Chinese moved to the area.
Nowadays, you can still see the historical shophouses at Duxton Hill, many of them are well-preserved and converted into offices, hotels, restaurants and pubs.
Tanjong Pagar Plaza, the site of a complex of which replaced pre-war shophouses along Tanjong Pagar Road, was formerly Cheng Cheok Street after Khoo Cheng Cheok. It was once an important crossroads for traffic between the warehouses along the Singapore River and the wharves. Bullock carts and hand carts streamed through the area carrying goods from one point to the other.
Nowadays, Tanjong Pagar Plaza consists of flats, shophouses and a market and food centre. The food centre is famous for its local dishes such as nasi lemak and fish soup, and there are as many as four stalls selling nasi lemak, and five stalls selling fish soup.
Years ago, Tanjong Pagar was a place for thousands of Chinese and Indian dock workers who had migrated to Singapore. With the traffic between the docks and the town, Tanjong Pagar was also lucrative ground for rickshaw pullers awaiting clients. In 1904, the government of Singapore established a Jinricksha Station at the junction of Tanjong Pagar Road and Neil Road.
From the time the docks began operations in 1864, land values in Tanjong Pagar rose, attracting wealthy Chinese and Arab traders to buy real estate there. The increase in workers led to overcrowding, pollution and social problems such as opium smoking and prostitution. Tanjong Pagar soon deteriorated into a ghetto. By World War II, Tanjong Pagar was a predominantly working class Hokkien area with an Indian minority.
In the mid-1980s, Tanjong Pagar was gazetted under the government's conservation plan. When the conservation project was completed, many of the area's shophouses were restored to their original appearance. Nowadays, Tanjong Pagar has become a happening district filled with cafes, bars and restaurants.