Anderson Bridge



Anderson Bridge straddles the mouth of the Singapore River and connects Empress Place with Collyer Quay.1 It was named after John Anderson, Governor of the Straits Settlements and High Commissioner for the Federated Malay States (1904–11), who officially opened the bridge on 12 March 1910.2

History
The history of its construction can be traced to 1901 when the Singapore River Commission proposed building a new bridge as a potential solution to the inadequacies of the existing Cavenagh Bridge.3 In use since 1869, Cavenagh Bridge could no longer accommodate the growing vehicular and pedestrian traffic that came with the town’s rapid development.4 Moreover, the bridge was designed without the appropriate height allowance that would have enabled vessels to pass under it at high tide.5

In 1904, the government of the Straits Settlements tasked the municipality to prepare the plans and estimates for a new bridge to be erected over the mouth of the Singapore River instead of enlarging or reconstructing Cavenagh Bridge.6

Description
Designed by the municipal engineer, Robert Pierce, and his assistant D. M. Martin, Anderson Bridge has a basic arched structure comprising three steel arches with powerful ribs, two rusticated archways and a fluted pier at each end.7 It was constructed between 1908 and 1910 by the Public Works Department at the total cost of some $450,000 Straits dollars, or about £50,000, shared between the government of the Straits Settlements and the municipality.8 The Singapore Tramways Company contributed £3,000 towards the laying of lines for electric trams across the centre of the bridge to link the existing services at Tanjong Pagar and Bras Basah.9


The superstructure was constructed by Howarth Erskine Ltd and the abutments by The Westminster Construction Company Ltd.10 The steelwork was fabricated in Britain and shipped over to Singapore while other components such as the railings, castings, rainwater channels, gully frames and covers were produced at the municipal workshops on River Valley Road.11 The plaque on the bridge is made of red granite imported from Aswan, Egypt.12 The original design for the bridge featured a pair of bronze lions but they were eventually left out for reasons of economy.13

Anderson Bridge was refurbished in 1987 as part of the master plan to beautify the Singapore River.14



Authors

Vernon Cornelius & Janice Loo



References
1. Wan, M. H., & Lau, J. (2009). Heritage places of Singapore. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 9. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 WAN-HIS])
2. Anderson Bridge formally opened today by His Excellency. (1910, March 12). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. The Anderson Bridge. (1910, March 14). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 5; Municipal Commission. (1901, March 14). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Wan, M. H., & Lau, J. (2009). Heritage places of Singapore. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 9. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 WAN-[HIS]); Cheong, C. (1992). Framework and foundation: A history of the Public Works Department. Singapore: Times Editions for the Public Works Department, p. 58. (Call no.: RSING 354.5957008609 CHE); Anderson Bridge. (1909, August 20). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Tyers, R. K. (1993). Ray Tyers' Singapore: Singapore then & now. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 95. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE-[HIS]).
6. Singapore Municipality. (1905, August 8). The Straits Times, p. 6; Anderson Bridge. (1908, July 1). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Cheong, C. (1992). Framework and foundation: A history of the Public Works Department. Singapore: Times Editions for the Public Works Department, p. 57. (Call no.: RSING 354.5957008609 CHE); Wan, M. H., & Lau, J. (2009). Heritage places of Singapore. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 WAN-[HIS]); The Anderson Bridge. (1910, March 14). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. The Anderson Bridge. (1910, March 14). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Straits Settlements. (1904-194-). Annual departmental reports of the Straits Settlements for the year 1908 (As laid before the Legislative Council) [Microfilm no.: NL 1135]. Singapore: Government Printing Office, p. 431.
9. The Anderson Bridge. (1910, March 14). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 5; Anderson Bridge. (1908, July 1). The Straits Times, p. 7; The tramway lines. (1910, February 12). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. The Anderson Bridge. (1910, March 14). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Anderson Bridge. (1910, March 12). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. The Anderson Bridge. (1910, March 14). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. The Anderson Bridge. (1910, March 14). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Tyers, R. K. (1993). Ray Tyers' Singapore: Singapore then & now. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 95. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE-[HIS]); Bridges to the past along the Singapore River. (1986, October 5). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 1999 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
Commerce and Industry>>Transportation
Streets and Places
Historic bridges--Singapore
Transportation
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places
Arts>>Architecture>>Architectural structure