Source of the Singapore River



The Singapore River is about 2.95 km long, starting from Kim Seng Bridge to its mouth at the Esplanade, where it empties into the Marina Reservoir. A comparison of the old map of the river with a current one seems to show more sources and the river seems longer in the past.1

History
Before modern developments, many river sites upstream were swampy fields overrun by tidal currents.2 As economic activities grew near the mouth of the Singapore River and expanded upstream, these swamps were partially filled by 1850. By the turn of the 19th century, the upper reaches of the river had become fairly well developed with the establishment of godowns and a mix of industries.3 As population and trade burgeoned, development of the river gradually extended upstream. By the late 1890s, there were Chinese villages, Malay kampongs, godowns, ricemills, sawmills, Chinese-owned boat yards specialised in building and repair of bumboats,4 and an assortment of other trades5 and home industries. By the 1930s, the areas upstream from Robertson Quay, the former Ho Puay Quay (site of the present King’s Centre6) and Kim Seng Bridge were already heavily industrialised, with many godowns and shophouses built there.7 After the River Clean-up Campaign in 1983,8 these old warehouses in the area were restored and converted for entertainment use.9


Description
The present demarcated start of the Singapore River is at Kim Seng Bridge, but the actual source of the river today is the Alexandra Canal.10

Today
Now, along the upper reaches of the Singapore River, new hotels and condominiums stand alongside old restored warehouses that have been converted into bars, clubs and restaurants.11



Author
Vernon Cornelius-Takahama



References
1. Joshi, Y., Tortajada, C., & Biswas, A. K. (2012). Cleaning of the Singapore River and Kallang Basin in Singapore: Economic, social and environmental dimensions. International Journal of Water Resources Development. 28(4), 1-1, p. 2. Retrieved from Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy website: http://lkyspp2.nus.edu.sg/iwp/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2013/04/Cleaning-of-the-Singapore-River_Intl-Journal-Wtr.pdf
2. Dobbs, S. (2003). The Singapore River: A social history, 1819–2002. Singapore: Singapore University Press, [map 6]. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 DOB-[HIS])
3. Singapore lifeline: The river and its people. (1986). Singapore: Times Books International, p. 36. (Call no.: RSING 779.95957 SIN)
4. Berry, L. (1982). Singapore's river: A living legacy. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, p. 92. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 BER-[HIS])
5. Auger, T. (2015). A river transformed: Singapore River and Marina Bay. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, pp. 62–63. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 AUG)
6. Dobbs, S. (2003). The Singapore River: A social history, 1819–2002. Singapore: Singapore University Press, [map 6]. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 DOB-[HIS])
7. Singapore lifeline: The river and its people. (1986). Singapore: Times Books International, pp. 34–35, 40. (Call no.: RSING 779.95957 SIN)
8. Joshi, Y., Tortajada, C., & Biswas, A. K. (2012). Cleaning of the Singapore River and Kallang Basin in Singapore: Economic, social and environmental dimensions. International Journal of Water Resources Development. 28(4), 1-1, p. 11. Retrieved from Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy website: http://lkyspp2.nus.edu.sg/iwp/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2013/04/Cleaning-of-the-Singapore-River_Intl-Journal-Wtr.pdf
9. Singapore beckons the waterway. (2007, March 8). The Business Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Joshi, Y., Tortajada, C., & Biswas, A. K. (2012). Cleaning of the Singapore River and Kallang Basin in Singapore: Economic, social and environmental dimensions. International Journal of Water Resources Development. 28(4), 1-1, p. 2. Retrieved from Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy website: http://lkyspp2.nus.edu.sg/iwp/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2013/04/Cleaning-of-the-Singapore-River_Intl-Journal-Wtr.pdf
11. Singapore beckons the waterway. (2007, March 8). The Business Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2012 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.

 

Subject
Arts>>Architecture>>Area planning
Rivers--Singapore
Urbanization--Singapore
Streets and Places
Singapore River (Singapore)
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places
History>>Asia>>Southeast Asia>>Singapore