Waterloo Street



Waterloo Street is a one-way street that begins at Stamford Road and ends at the Rochor Canal at Rochor Canal Road. It forms junctions with Bras Basah Road, Middle Road and Albert Street.1 Named to commemorate the 1815 Battle of Waterloo, its landmarks include the Maghain Aboth Synagogue, Sri Krishna Temple and Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple.

History
Waterloo Street was originally named Church Street after Thomas Church, resident councillor of Singapore from 1837 to 1856. As it caused confusion with another street of the same name near Raffles Place, the municipal council changed its name to Waterloo Street in 1858.The name was chosen to commemorate the Duke of Wellington’s victory over the French at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.3


Today, Waterloo Street is part of the Bras Basah.Bugis Precinct, the arts, culture, learning and entertainment district in the city’s centre.4 Part of Waterloo Street was converted into a pedestrian mall in 1998.5 In 2017, the Urban Redevelopment Authority announced that a road lane along the other half of Waterloo Street would be reclaimed for wider sidewalks and slated for completion by 2020. This is part of the government’s initiative to build a more car-lite city centre.6

Key features
For the most part, Waterloo Street runs parallel to Bencoolen Street and Queen Street.7 Religious buildings line this street, reflecting the multicultural community that had populated this area. The Hindus established the Sri Krishna Temple in 1870, while the early Jewish community built Maghain Aboth Synagogue in 1878. Then in 1884, the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple was set up by the Chinese.Originally situated at the junction of Waterloo Street and Middle Road, the Kampong Kapor Methodist Church was relocated to Kampong Kapor Road in 1930.The Church of Saints Peter & Paul, built between 1869 and 1870, however, still remains.10 The Catholic presence is also reflected in community buildings such as the Catholic Welfare Centre.11

Waterloo Street evolved into a popular location for arts organisations in the 1990s.12 The street has become home to establishments such as the Dance Ensemble Singapore, Chinese Calligraphy Society of Singapore and Stamford Arts Centre.13 The Singapore Art Museum, located at the junction of Waterloo Street and Bras Basah Road, was formerly the campus of St Joseph’s Institution.14

Other properties along Waterloo Street include the South East Asia Hotel, Waterloo Centre, Skyline Building, GSM Building, Albert Centre, Fu Lu Shou Complex, Bencoolen Building and the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisation Centre.15

Variant names
Chinese

Mang-ku-lu chai-tng koi in Hokkien, which literally means “the street in Bencoolen where the vegetarian hall is”.16

Kun-yam miu chai-thong in Cantonese, which means “the vegetarian hall near the temple of the goddess Kun Yam or Kwan Im”.17

Tamil

Krishnan kovil sadakku, meaning “street of Krishnan Temple”, a reference to the Sri Krishna Temple.18



Author

Naidu Ratnala Thulaja



References
1. Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 289. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
2. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 398. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA]); Singh, S. (1986). The encyclopaedia of the coins of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei 1400–1986. Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia Numismatic Society, p. 449. (Call no.: RSING 737.49595 SAR); Municipal commissioners. (1858, April 1). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1835–1869), p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 398. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
4. Bras Basah.Bugis (n.d.). Precinct map. Singapore: Bras Basah.Bugis. Retrieved 2018, April 3 from Bras Basah.Bugis website: http://brasbasahbugis.sg/about/precinct-map
5. Tan, H. Y. (1996, October 2). URA to build $8 million mall at Albert, Waterloo streets. The Straits Times, p. 3; Road Closure. (1997, July 14). The Straits Times, p. 23. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Urban Redevelopment Authority (2017, May 28). A “Walk Cycle Ride” City Centre Takes Shape. Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority. Retrieved 2018, April 3 from Urban Redevelopment Authority website: https://www.ura.gov.sg/Corporate/Media-Room/Media-Releases/pr17-37
7. Byrne Bracken, G. (2014). Singapore: Sketches of the country’s architectural treasures... journey through Singapore’s urban landscape. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 78. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 BYR-[TRA])
8. Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, pp. 262–263, 271, 289. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
9. Lau, E., & Jesudason, S. E. (1994). Lest we forget 1894–1994. Singapore: Kampong Kapor Methodist Church, p. 29. (Call no.: RSING 287.095957 LAU)
10. Wan, M. H., & Lau, J. (2009). Heritage places of Singapore. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 56–58. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 WAN-[HIS])
11. Catholic Welfare Centre to undergo renovation. (2012, March 25). CatholicNews62(6). Retrieved 2017, February 20 from CatholicNews website: http://catholicnews.sg/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7266:catholic-welfare-centre-to-undergo-renovation&catid=303&Itemid=473
12. Arts council gets pick of 38 ‘homes’ for artists. (1993, May 28). The Straits Times, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (2012). Bras Basah.Bugis - Celebrating the City. Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority. Retrieved from Urban Redevelopment Authority website: https://www.ura.gov.sg/Conservation-Portal/Resources/Walking-Maps?bldgid=FCCSAS
14. Byrne Bracken, G. (2014). Singapore: Sketches of the country’s architectural treasures... journey through Singapore’s urban landscape. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 78, 84. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 BYR-[TRA]); Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, pp. 273–274. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
15. Mighty minds street directory. (2015). Singapore: Angel Publishing, map 111C. (Call no.: RSING q912.5957 MMSD-[DIR])
16. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 398. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
17. Firmstone, H. W. (1905, February). Chinese names of streets and places in Singapore and the Malay PeninsulaJournal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, pp. 140—141. (Call no.: RQUIK 959.5 JMBRAS)
18. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 398. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])



The information in this article is valid as at April 2018 and correct as far as we are able to 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
Religious buildings
Street names--Singapore
Arts>>Architecture>>Religious buildings
Streets and Places
Urbanization--Singapore
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places
Architecture and Landscape>>Building Types>>Religious Buildings
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings