Dunlop Street


Dunlop Street is in Little India, a one-way road connecting Jalan Besar to Serangoon Road. Named after Colonel Samuel Dunlop, the most significant landmark along this street is the Abdul Gaffoor Mosque.

The street was probably named after Colonel Samuel Dunlop who served in Singapore as the Inspector-General of Police of the Straits Settlements in 1875 and as a member of the Municipal Commission in 1887. It is also probable that this street was named after A.E. Dunlop, Secretary of the Race Course Committee of the Serangoon area. Before the 1870s, this street was known as Rangasamy Road. This street is a part of the Urban Redevelopment Authority's conservation area of Little India. 

Key features

The street is mostly lined with modest two-storey shophouses, selling anything from textiles to terracotta pots. They are good examples of terrace shophouse architecture. A few decorative houses are also present. The last charcoal shop in Little India was located on this street. The eateries on the bylanes of this street serving a wide variety, continue to be frequented by tourists and locals.  Abdul Gaffoor Mosque, one of Singapore's oldest mosques, was originally built in 1881. The old mosque was demolished and a new mosque with architecture in Saracenic and Roman themes was erected at the same site in 1910. 

Renovated in 2001, the mosque used to serve the religious needs of South Indian Muslims, mostly the Tamils.  Abdul Gaffoor, a trustee of the mosque in the late 1880s, was instrumental in constructing shophouses along Dunlop Street to financially assist in the mosque's maintenance. It was gazetted as a national monument in 1979.

Another endearing landmark that used to be on the street was the P. Govindasamy Pillai (PGP) building.  Pillai was a wealthy Indian businessman who also donated generously for the good of his fellow Indian community in Singapore.  By late 1998, the PGP store had closed, much to the sadness of many Indians in Singapore who remembered the man, his store and kind deeds fondly.  Other buildings situated on this street are the Madras Hotel and Jothi's Building.

Variant names

Chinese names: 
(1) In Hokkien, Kam-kong ka-poh huo koi or Kam-kong ka-poh toa koi.
(2) In Cantonese, Kam-pong ka-pok wang kai or Kam-pong ka-pok tai kai.
Both mean "Kampong Kapor Cross (or big) street". It is only presumed that this was the biggest street in Kampong Kapor as no specific Chinese names were given to streets in Kampong Kapor.


Thulaja Naidu

Dunlop, P. K. G. (2000). Street names of Singapore (p. 70). Singapore: Who's Who Publications.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN)

Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988).
Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places (pp. 115 129, 130, 136). Singapore: Times Books International.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 EDW)

Lee, E. (1990).
Historic buildings of Singapore (p. 75). Singapore: Preservation of Monuments Board.
(Call no.: RSING 720.95957 LEE)

Samuel, D. S. (1991).
Singapore's heritage: Through places of historical interest (p. 201). Singapore: Elixir Consultancy Service.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 SAM)

Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2003).
Toponymics: A study of Singapore street names (pp. 112-113). Singapore: Eastern Universities Press.
(Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV)

Firmstone, H. W. (1905, January). Chinese names of streets and places in Singapore and the Malay Peninsula.
Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 4, 86, 87.
(Call no.: RSING 959.5 FIR)

Bachtiar, I. (1994, September 11). Help wanted: Funds to restore a little mosque.
The Straits Times, Sunday Plus, p. 24. 

The information in this article is valid as at 2003 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.

Street names--Singapore
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings
Streets and Places
Arts>>Architecture>>Religious buildings
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places
History>>Asia>>Southeast Asia>>Singapore

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