Anson Road

Anson Road is located in the Central Business District. The road begins near a carpark around Keppel Road, then it bifurcates into two roads  one merges into Keppel Road while the other proceeds as a one-way road to connect to the junction of Robinson Road and Maxwell Road. It is named after Major General Archibald E. H. Anson, a colonial official. 

In 1879, in order to reclaim land from the sea, the government levelled hills along the coast. The levelled land where once Mount Wallich stood was where Robinson Road and Anson Road were built. Anson road was named after Sir Archibald Anson who served as Lieutenant-Governor of Penang and a Major-General in Singapore. He was assigned the task of administering the Straits Settlement during the interim periods between governors (Sir Henry George 2nd, Sir William Jervois and Sir Frederick Weld) in the 1870s. He retired in 1882.  It is also probable that the road was named after Commodore George Anson, who served as the Naval Commander of Far East Squadron in 1815.  Among the Hokkiens, the road was known for an old temple in the vicinity of Tanjong Pagar.

Buildings around Anson Road
There were several significant landmarks that have stood along this street in the past. In March 1922, an exhibition called the Malaya-Borneo Exhibition was opened at the Anson Road grounds by the Duke of Windsor. After the exhibition ended, the site was converted into an amusement centre called Happy Valley. However, competition in show business led to the closure of the amusement centre and a football stadium known as the Anson Road Stadium was built in its place.

Anson Centre, built in 1971, is a commercial-cum-residential tower and podium unit. Springleaf Tower, at the junction of Parsi Road and Anson Road, is a 37-storey office-cum-service apartment complex built on a 38,000-square-foot area in the 1990s. The site was previously occupied by a Shell kiosk. International Plaza, a 52-storey building, at the junction of Choon Guan Street and Anson Road, is an office-cum-residential complex. Built in the 1970s, the Plaza is popular for the number of employment agencies housed within it. It underwent renovation work in the 1980s and was fitted with a glass façade. IBM Towers that used to house the computer giant company, IBM, stood within four roads - Tanjong Pagar Road, Bernam Street, Keppel Road and Anson Road.  The building is now called the Fuji Xerox Towers. 

Other buildings along the road are Anson House, Apex Towers, Tanjong Pagar Complex, Temasek Tower, and the M Hotel, which was previously known as the Copthorne Harbour View Hotel but was renamed the M Hotel in 2002. 

Variant names
Chinese names: 
(1) Lau toa peh kong hit tiau (Hokkien), a reference to an old temple revering the Toa Peh Kong god in the vicinity of Tanjong Pagar.
(2) Ti ku pa-sat khi Tan-jong Pa-kat hai-ki hit-tion (Hokkien), meaning "the street that goes to Tanjong Pagar along the shore from the old market".

Naidu Ratnala Thulaja

Dunlop, P. K. G. (2000). Street names of Singapore (p. 8). Singapore: Who's Who Publications.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN)

Edwards, N. & Keys, P. (1996). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places (pp. 457, 468). Singapore: Times Books International.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 EDW)

Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2003). Toponymics: A study of Singapore street names (p. 40). 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, 56, 57,59.
(Call no.: RSING 959.5 FIR-[IC])

Chan, K. S. (2000, January 1). Anson Road alive with sound of soccer. The Straits Times, Life, p. 4.

Chia, S. (2002, October 14). It's off to the Plaza, to look for a job. The Straits Times.

Gan, S. E. (1981, June 8). Anson Rd plaza to get new look. New Nation, Energy Conservation, Commercial Development.

Parkway, Shell plan to build complex in CBD. (1991, July 13). The Straits Times, p. 43.

Rashiwala, K. (1995, August 16). Ban Hin Leong to build office tower on Shell kiosk site. The Straits Times, Money, p. 36. 

Tee, H. C. (2002, February 16). Dial M for modern comfort. The Straits Times, Life.

List of images

Tyers, R. (1993). Ray Tyers' Singapore: Then and now (p. 140). Singapore: Landmark Books Pte Ltd.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE) 

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
Commercial buildings
Streets and Places
Architecture and Landscape>>Building Types>>Commercial Buildings
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places
Geography>>Population>>Urban Planning
Law and government>>National development>>Urban development
Reclamation of land--Singapore
Urban planning
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings

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