Scotts Road

Scotts Road is located in the central region of Singapore. It stretches from its junction with Orchard Road till it meets with Newton Circus. It was named after Captain William G. Scott, Harbour Master and Post Master of Singapore in 1836, who owned property and plantations on and around the area where Scotts Road now stands.

William G. Scott (b. 3 May, 1786 - d. 18 December, 1861, Singapore) was a first cousin of the famous novelist Sir Walter Scott, and Harbour Master Attendant and Post Master of Singapore in 1836. One of the most respected residents here at the time, he was known for his benevolence, hospitality, kind-heartedness. He owned Claymore plantation, the third largest in Singapore and one that boasted of sea-cotton, arrowroot, cocoa, betelnut, and all kinds of fruit including, rambutan, chiku, mangosteens and durians. The plantation stretched from the Orchard Road/Scotts Road corner (Shaw House stands here today) to where the Tanglin Club is now. Scott also owned property within the locality. Claymore was also the name given to his house. In 1848, he was said to have had the second largest nutmeg plantation in Singapore, with about 5,200 trees. His home was a small attap house called "Hurricane Cottage". An active member of the Freemasons' Zetland Lodge, his portrait hung in their premises for a great many years. He died on 18 December 1861, and was buried at the Old Christian Cemetery in Fort Canning. 

Scotts Road became an upmarket residential area after 1840s, as plantation lands around the area gave way to private houses, mainly bungalows with the old peranakan style. Up until 1984, grand villas occupied the area and their early 20th century architecturewith porte-cochere for horse-drawn carriages, high ceilings and verandah made for a distinctive and splendid streetscape. 

Being at the heart of the Orchard Road district, the street host distinctive buildings like the old Lido Cinema and Shaw House which was officially declared opened on 22 November 1958.  Before this building was constructed, the plot at which it stood on was vacant with only an Esso patrol station. The land was part of Grant No. 23 from the East India Company to William Scott on 2 April 1845 . The old Lido has since been renovated into the current 22-storey Shaw House (Lido Theatre) that opened in 1993 after three years of reconstruction. Another post-war oldie that however did not survive was the Tropicana, Singapores first theatre restaurant and nightclub, and it stood where Pacific Plaza, a retail-cum-office block, is today.  

Today, the street is dotted with many five-star hotels like the Goodwood Park Hotel, the Grand Hyatt Hotel and the Singapore Marriott Hotel (formerly the Dynasty Hotel). Popular shopping and entertainment complexes include Tangs, the Far East Shopping Centre and the Far East Plaza, and others like The American Club and the Scotts Tower (built in 1985). A few of the old bungalows still stand nearer towards the Newton Circus section.

Vernon Cornelius-Takahama

Buckley, C. B. (1984). An anecdotal history of old times in Singapore: 1819-1867 (pp. 310-311, 406,437). Singapore: Oxford University Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 BUC)

Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places (p. 252). Singapore: Times Books International.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 EDW)

Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. St. J. (Eds.). (1991). One hundred years of Singapore (Vol. 1, p. 491; Vol. 2, pp. 113, 652). Singapore: Oxford University Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE)

Further Readings
Samuel, D. S. (1939). Malayan street names: What they mean and whom they commemorate. Ipoh: Mercantile Press
(Call no.: RSING 959.5 RAJ)

(1861, December 21) [Microfilm: NL 5558]. The Straits Times, p. 1.

(1861, November 19) [Microfilm: NL2207]. Singapore Free Press p. 1, 3.

The information in this article is valid as at 2005 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
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