Read Bridge



Read Bridge is a beam structured bridge that straddles the central part of the Singapore River.1 The bridge was officially opened by then Governor Cecil Clementi Smith on 18 April 1889.

History and description
Read Bridge was named in honour of merchant and political and social activist, William Henry Macleod Read, who laid the first cylinder for the bridge on 28 February 1887.2


It was constructed to replace an earlier bridge, Merchant Bridge at the same site, so as to allow tongkang (bumboats) to pass under it along the river. Merchant Bridge, built in the 1880s and designed by Captain Charles Edward Faber of the Madras Engineers, was not high enough for the bumboats to pass through.3

Read Bridge crosses the uppermost limit of Boat Quay, and was also called Green Bridge because of its colour at the time.4 In the early days, the area around Read Bridge was a mainly Teochew enclave whose residents included coolies and boatmen. Up to the 1960s, the bridge was a popular venue for night entertainment where storytellers plied their trade and street operas were staged.5 In the early 1990s, the government spent S$8.4 million to rebuild the bridge.6

Connected to Read Bridge is Read Street that forms the boundary between Clarke Quay and North Boat Quay.7 Read Street was also named after William H. Read.8

Variant names
Malay name: Jembatan Kampong Melaka, which means “Malaccan Village Bridge” as it was located where the original Kampong Melaka or “Malaccan Village” once stood.9

Chinese name: Kam-kong ma-la-kah kio (Hokkien) and Kampong ma-lak-kak kiu (Cantonese), which mean “Kampong Malacca Bridge”.10



Author

Vernon Cornelius



References
1. Jalelah Abu Baker. (2015, April 6). Know more about Singapore’s new Jubilee Bridge and older iconic bridges. The Straits Times. Retrieved 2016, September 30 from The Straits Times website: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/know-more-about-singapores-new-jubilee-bridge-and-older-iconic-bridges; SG & Singapore Map. (n.d). Read Street. Retrieved 2016, September 30 from Street Directory website: http://www.streetdirectory.com/sg/read-street/106327_1.html
2. Tyers, R. K. (1993). Tyers’ Singapore: Then and now. Singapore: Landmark Books Pte Ltd, pp. 26–27. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE); Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 322–324. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA]); Wan, M. H. (2009). Heritage places of Singapore. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 15. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 WAN)
3. Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 506. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW); Tyers, R. K. (1993). Tyers’ Singapore: Then and now. Singapore: Landmark Books Pte Ltd, pp. 26–27. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE)
4. Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 506. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW); Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 322–324. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
5. Wan, M. H. (2009). Heritage places of Singapore. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 15. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 WAN); Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 506. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW)
6. Tyers, R. K. (1993). Tyers’ Singapore: Then and now. Singapore: Landmark Books Pte Ltd, pp. 26–27. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE); Jalelah Abu Baker. (2015, April 6). Know more about Singapore’s new Jubilee Bridge and older iconic bridges. The Straits Times. Retrieved 2016, September 30 from The Straits Times website: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/know-more-about-singapores-new-jubilee-bridge-and-older-iconic-bridges
7. SG & Singapore Map. (n.d). Read Street. Retrieved 2016, September 30 from Street Directory website: http://www.streetdirectory.com/sg/read-street/106327_1.html
8. Jalelah Abu Baker. (2015, April 6). Know more about Singapore’s new Jubilee Bridge and older iconic bridges. The Straits Times. Retrieved 2016, September 30 from The Straits Times website: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/know-more-about-singapores-new-jubilee-bridge-and-older-iconic-bridges
9. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 322–324. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA]); Dunlop, P. K. G. (2000). Street names of Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub, p. 261. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS])
10. 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, p. 142. (Call no.: RQUIK 959.5 JMBRAS)



The information in this article is valid as at 1997 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
Commerce and Industry>>Transportation
Architecture
Historic bridges--Singapore
Architecture and Landscape
Transportation
Arts>>Architecture>>Architectural structure

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