Newton Circus



The 22.3-hectare Newton Circus is one of the six subzones in the Newton planning area, a prime residential district located near Orchard Road in central Singapore.1 Home to some very exclusive old houses and high-rise residential developments, such as Newton One and Park Infinia,2 Newton Circus is also well known for its wide range of local delicacies at the nearby Newton Food Centre.3

History

Originally known as Syed Ali Road, Newton Circus/Road was renamed in 1914 after assistant municipal engineer Howard Newton (1877–18964) to prevent confusion with Syed Alwi Road in Little India.5

The Newton Circus roundabout was constructed in 1933 to manage the heavy traffic of the eight roads converging there.6 It was built as a 40-foot-wide circular carriage way with two sidewalks and two concrete bridges each measuring 40 ft wide.7 Traffic lights that were operational only during peak hours were introduced to Newton Circus on 6 May 19878 when the “give way to the right principle” was no longer effective in easing the traffic congestion.9

Newton Circus also used to be the site of a railway station, part of the route traversed by the Malayan Railway, which opened in 1903. The route ran from Tank Road and passed by several places, including Orchard Road and Newton Circus, before ending in Kranji.10 The railway lines in town were removed in the 1930s to make way for new roads in the area.11

Description
Newton Circus is a roundabout with eight roads converging on it: Bukit Timah Road towards the north and from town, Clemenceau Avenue, Dunearn Road, Scotts Road, Newton Road, Keng Lee Road and Kampong Java Road. As a reference to this, the Tamils also refer to Newton Circus as ethumuchandi, meaning “eight-junction place” in Tamil.12

Newton Food Centre
Located next to Newton Circus is Newton Food Centre, which was built in 1971 to accommodate hawkers resettled from Cuppage and Koek roads.13 The hawker centre has proven to be a well-loved eating spot among locals and tourists.14


Recent developments
Since March 2011, the traffic lights at Newton Circus have been adjusted to work 24 hours to manage traffic demand.15 Following a three-month renovation this year, the Newton Food Centre was reopened in late April 2016. The newly revamped eatery now features more spacious aisles, energy-efficient LED lighting and new restrooms, tables and chairs.16



Author

Vernon Cornelius



References
1. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1994). Newton planning area: Planning report 1994. Singapore: The Authority, p. 6. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN); Urban Redevelopment Authority (2016, July 28). Newton. Retrieved 2016, August 13 from Urban Redevelopment Authority website: https://www.ura.gov.sg/uol/guidelines/urban-design-guidelines/design-guidelines/planning-area/newton.aspx
2. Sim, A. (2006, September 14). Newton One almost sold out in 6 months. The Business Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1994). Newton planning area: Planning report 1994. Singapore: The Authority, pp. 9, 12. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN)
3. Tee, E. (1997, July 6). Regulars sorry Newton stalls' days are numbered. The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History. (2016, October 21). Alfred Howard Vincent Newton. Retrieved 2016, October 21 from Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History website: http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Alfred_Howard_Vincent_Newton
5. Savage, V., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 277. (Call no.: RSING915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
6. Municipality’s satisfactory year. (1934, August 4). The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Savage, V., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 277. (Call no.: RSING915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
7. Municipality’s satisfactory year. (1934, August 4). The Straits Times, p. 6; Singapore's new bridges. Wide and graceful structure at Chancery Lane. (1936, August 15). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Dhaliwal, R. (1987, March 30). Peak hours traffic lights at Newton. The Straits Times, p. 24; Newton Circus traffic lights to operate from tomorrow. (1987, May 5). The Straits Times, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Looi, M. F. (1984, August 24). More lanes at Newton Circus would lead to further confusion. The Singapore Monitor, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Tyers, R. (1973, May 25). Our heritage railway: How it all began. New Nation, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tyers, R. K. (1993). Ray Tyers’ Singapore: Then and now. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 70. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE)
11. Tyers, R. (1973, May 25). Our heritage railway: How it all began. New Nation, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Ramachandra, S. (1961). Singapore landmarks, past and present. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, p. 36. (Call no.: RCLOS 959.57 RAM); Savage, V., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 277. (Call no.: RSING915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
13. A–Z guide to people & things Singaporean. (1992, August 9). The Straits Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Savage, V., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 277. (Call no.: RSING915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
15. Round the clock traffic lights at Newton Circus. (2011, September 9). Singapore Government News. Retrieved from Factiva.
16. Jalelah Abu Baker & Chia, R. (2016, May 5). Newton food centre reopens after revamp. My Paper, p. A2; Teo, C., & Menon, M. (2016, June 11). Newton still pricier than other food centres. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva.



Further resources
Newton Circus is worth preserving. (1998, July 29). The Straits Times, p. 31. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.


Newton hawkers to go only when land needed. (1998, August 8). The Straits Times, p. 57. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Smoot, K. (1997, January 3). Preserve popular Newton Circus, please. The Straits Times, p. 42. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



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
Street names--Singapore
Peddlers and peddling--Singapore
Cookery>>Food
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings
Streets and Places
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places

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