New Bridge Road



New Bridge Road is a one-way street that begins from the Coleman Bridge on the south of the Singapore River and ends at the junction of Eu Tong Sen Street and Kampong Bahru Road.1 

History
Built in 1842, New Bridge Road obtained its name from Coleman Bridge, which was then a new bridge constructed in 1840 over the Singapore River.2 The bridge links Hill Street on the north of Singapore River with New Bridge Road, which lies on the south of the river.3 Located near New Bridge Road was a large triangular block of two-storey shophouses known as Ellenborough Buildings. These shophouses were built for Tan Tock Seng, one of Singapore’s early pioneers, by John Turnbull Thomson between 1845 and 1847.4 About half of the block was demolished in 1986 to make way for the approach to the new Coleman Bridge.5 The rest of the Ellenborough Buildings were demolished in the mid-1990s to make way for the Clarke Quay Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Station.6


In 1975, flats built by the Singapore Improvement Trust in 1938 in the area were demolished and replaced by the Kreta Ayer Centre, which comprised Kreta Ayer Complex (now Chinatown Complex), Kreta Ayer Community Centre and People’s Theatre. The present Oriental Plaza on New Bridge Road was originally a theatre called the Palacegay, which was the called Toho Gekizyo during the Japanese Occupation (1942–45).7 The theatre was the first in Singapore to screen Chinese movies with sound in 1927. It was renamed Oriental Theatre in 1946, when the Shaw Brothers bought it after World War II.8

In the late 1980s, an eight-lane dual-carriageway was constructed to merge Eu Tong Sen Street and New Bridge Road.9 New Bridge Road, which is situated in the Bukit Pasoh and Kreta Ayer district of Chinatown, was accorded conservation status on 7 July 1989.10

Description
Well-known Cantonese clan associations on New Bridge Road include the Kong Chow Wui Koon (previously located at Upper Chin Chew Street but re-established at New Bridge Road in 1924), as well as the Singapore Poon Yue Association that was established in 1879 with financial assistance from prominent Chinese merchant, Hoo Ah Kay.11

Hong Lim Park, developed on New Bridge Road in 1876, was one of the first neighbourhood parks in Singapore. Originally called Dunman Green, it was later renamed Hong Lim Green and then Hong Lim Park, in honour of Cheang Hong Lim, a prominent Chinese who bought and donated the land.12 In September 2000, the park was designated as the venue for the Speakers’ Corner.13 The Chinatown MRT Station, which was opened in 2003, is situated beneath New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street.14

Variant names

Sin pa-sat ma-ta chhucheng (Hokkien) and Sin pa-sat ma-ta liuchhin (Cantonese), both meaning “in front of the new market police station”.15 

Gu-chhia-chui
 (Hokkien) and Ngau-chhe-shui (Cantonese), meaning “Kreta Ayer”, a reference to the fact that New Bridge Road is a part of Kreta Ayer in Chinatown.16


Yi-ma-lo (Cantonese), which means “second horse-carriage road”.17




Author

Naidu RatnalaThulaja



References
1. Mighty minds street directory. (2014). Singapore: Mighty Minds Publishing, p. 37. (Call no.: RSING 912.5957 MMSD-[DIR])
2. Tyers, R. K. (1993). Ray Tyers’ Singapore: Then & now. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 189. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE-[HIS]); Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 269. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
3. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 269. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
4. Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 399. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA]); Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 113. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA]); Dhoraisingham, K. D. & Samuel, D. S. (2003). Tan Tock Seng: pioneer: his life, times, contributions and legacy. Kota Kinabalu: Natural History Publications (Borneo), p. 23. (Call no.: RSING 338.04092 KAM)
5. Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 399. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
6. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 113. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA]); Chandran, K. (2006, December 13). Historic buildings no bar to progress. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. HDB to build $12 m Kreta Ayer complex. (1978, February 3). The Straits Times, p. 28; Kreta Ayer Complex gets new name. (1984, September 29). The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Chinatown: An album of a Singapore community. (1983). Singapore: Times Books International: Archives and Oral History Dept., pp. 128–129. (Call no.: RSING 779.995957 CHI); Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 503. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA]); National Heritage Board. (2016).Palacegay Theatre. Retrieved 2016, October 24 from National Heritage Boardwebsite: https://roots.sg/Roots/learn/collections/listing/1016559
8. Chinatown: An album of a Singapore community. (1983). Singapore: Times Books International: Archives and Oral History Dept., pp. 128–129. (Call no.: RSING 779.995957 CHI)
9. New $17m 8-lane carriageway. (1987, September 25).The Straits Times, p. 16; Traffic alert. (1988, March 19). The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (2016, July 28). Chinatown (includes Maxwell No. 38 and 89 Neil Road). Retrieved 2016, October 24 from Urban Redevelopment Authority website: https://www.ura.gov.sg/uol/conservation/conservation-xml?id=CNTWN
11. Chinatown: An album of a Singapore community. (1983). Singapore: Times Books International: Archives and Oral History Dept., pp. 124, 127. (Call no.: RSING 779.995957 CHI)
12. Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, p.401. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA]); Death of Mr Cheang Hong Lim. (1893, February 11). The Straits Times, p. 2.; S. Ramachandra. (1959, May 17). The story behind Hong Lim Green. Sunday Standard, p. 21; A to Z of Cheang Hong Lim. (2000, April 29). The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Yap, C. W. (2000, August 11). Speakers’ Corner to open on Sept 1. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Leong, C. T. (2003, May 25). Staying on the line. The Straits Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Firmstone, H. W. (1905). Chinese names of streets and places in Singapore and the Malay Peninsula. Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 42, 53–208, pp. 112–113. (Call no.: RQUIK 959.5 JMBRAS)
16. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 219, 269–270. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
17. Firmstone, H. W. (1905). Chinese names of streets and places in Singapore and the Malay Peninsula. Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 42, 53–208, pp. 118–119. (Call no.: RQUIK 959.5 JMBRAS)



The information in this article is valid as at 2003 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
Immigrants--Singapore
Streets and Places
Ethnic Communities
Heritage and Culture
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places
Street names--Singapore
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings
People and communities>>Social groups and communities