Raffles Town Plan (Jackson Plan)



The Raffles Town Plan, also known as the Jackson Plan, refers to Stamford Raffles’s plan for the town of Singapore formulated in late 1822. Lieutenant Philip Jackson drew up a plan according to Raffles’s vision and the resultant plan was published in 1828. The town plan focused on the downtown area, particularly around the Singapore River, and spanned from Telok Ayer to the Kallang River.1 It was based on the vision that Singapore would be “a place of considerable magnitude and importance” and, as such, “an economical and proper allotment of the ground intended to form the site of the principal town [was] an object of first importance”.2

Concept
Raffles developed the town plan out of learning lessons from colonial towns where he had been, such as Georgetown in Penang (then known as Prince of Wales Island). There, the communes of Indian and Chinese immigrants were integrated into the formal town plan, unlike the colonial plans in India which left them to develop separately, thus resulting in poor sanitation and haphazard growth. Raffles also picked up traits common in Indian colonial towns such as Calcutta, where a fort dominated the plan. In Singapore, Fort Canning (labelled “Singapore Hill” in the plan), was Raffles’s choice for the seat of government. To give the impression of prosperity, Raffles emphasised on having greenery, a feature also shared with Calcutta. Greenery was added through parklands and gardens such as the Padang and the Botanic Gardens.3


History
As early as June 1819, Raffles had given clear instructions to the first Resident of Singapore, William Farquhar, on the allocation of land in the town – “to keep the ground near the river where the public offices are… and to give the European merchants the land next to it as far as the Rochor river”.4 When Raffles returned to Singapore in October 1822, however, he was displeased to find that Farquhar had not followed his planning instructions and accused the latter for leading to the haphazard growth of the settlement.5

Raffles then set up a town committee comprising Captain Charles Edward Davis of the Bengal Native Infantry as president, civil servant George Bonham and merchant A. L. Johnston.6 Raffles also tasked Jackson with drawing up the plan according to his instructions, and the resultant Plan of the Town of Singapore by Lieut Jackson was published in 1828.7

Outline
Raffles emphasised communal harmony and ease of trade as important ingredients for the growing town. In a letter that Raffles addressed to Davis, Bonham and Johnston, he outlined the town plan by allotting land to each segment of society:8

Government: Raffles reserved the area stretching from Fort Canning to the Singapore River and the sea beyond the Padang (labelled “Open Square” in Jackson’s plan) for government use. Individuals were not allowed to build residences in this area.

Europeans and merchants: The European town stretched from the seafront east of the cantonment to the southwest bank of the Singapore River. This area also included accommodation for other merchants.

Chinese: The Chinese settlement was planned to be southwest of the Singapore River, above the intended bridge and the road leading from the bridge to the existing Chinese kampong (village).

Malays: Emphasising accommodation for Bugis settlers and Arab merchants, the area around the residence of the sultan, known then as Kampong Glam, was to be developed. The Malays were already residing around the temenggong near Panglima Prang.

Indians: Tentatively, land for the Chulias were set aside upstream of the Singapore River.

In addition to giving instructions for establishing the Telok Ayer market and a church, Raffles added that it would be necessary to segregate the people according to their provinces, distinguish between residents and temporary residents, as well as resident merchants from itinerant traders.9



Author

Bonny Tan



References
1. Pearson, H. F. (1969, July). Lt Jackson’s plan of Singapore. Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 42(1)(215), 161–165. Retrieved from JSTOR via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
2. Buckley, C. B. (1984). An anecdotal history of old times in Singapore: From the foundation of the settlement ... on February 6th, 1819 to the transfer to the Colonial Office ... on April 1st, 1867. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 81. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 BUC-[HIS])
3. Lim, J. (1991, March 20). Town and country. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Survey Department, Singapore. (1828). Plan of the Town of Singapore by Lieut Jackson [Map accession no. SP002981]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline
4. Buckley, C. B. (1984). An anecdotal history of old times in Singapore: From the foundation of the settlement ... on February 6th, 1819 to the transfer to the Colonial Office ... on April 1st, 1867. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 75. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 BUC-[HIS])
5. Pearson, H. F. (1969, July). Lt Jackson’s plan of Singapore. Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 42(1)(215), 161–165, p. 161. Retrieved from JSTOR via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
6. Buckley, C. B. (1984). An anecdotal history of old times in Singapore: From the foundation of the settlement ... on February 6th, 1819 to the transfer to the Colonial Office ... on April 1st, 1867. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. 74–75, 81. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 BUC-[HIS])
7. Pearson, H. F. (1969, July). Lt Jackson’s plan of Singapore. Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 42(1)(215), 161–165. Retrieved from JSTOR via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; Survey Department, Singapore. (1828). Plan of the Town of Singapore by Lieut Jackson [Map accession no. SP002981]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline
8. Buckley, C. B. (1984). An anecdotal history of old times in Singapore: From the foundation of the settlement ... on February 6th, 1819 to the transfer to the Colonial Office ... on April 1st, 1867. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. 82–85. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 BUC-[HIS])
9. Buckley, C. B. (1984). An anecdotal history of old times in Singapore: From the foundation of the settlement ... on February 6th, 1819 to the transfer to the Colonial Office ... on April 1st, 1867. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. 84–85, 88. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 BUC-[HIS])



The information in this article is valid as at 2016 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
Urban planning
Geography>>Population>>Urban Planning
History>>Asia>>Southeast Asia>>Singapore
Singapore--History
City planning--Singapore
Law and government>>National development>>City planning