Parsi Road

Parsi Road connects Anson Road and Shenton Way.1 The road, a part of the Central Business District, is associated with the early Parsi community, which began forming in Singapore from as early as the mid-19th century. The first Parsi was a convict brought to Singapore in 1819 when Singapore was still a penal colony. There were reportedly six Parsis in Singapore in 1900.2 The road is closely associated with Palmer Road, where the Parsis’ first local cemetery was located.3 The Parsi Cemetery, which existed from 1848 to 1934, had about 30 graves.4

The Parsis, a small community of merchants who follow the religion Zoroastrianism began to grow in Singapore from the mid-19th century. The earliest known Parsi in Singapore was a convict named Muncherjee, who arrived in 1819.5 An enterprising group of people, the Parsis in Singapore included Cursetjee Framjee, the founder and partner of John Little & Company,6 and Navroji Mistri, who established the Phoenix Aerated Water Works7 and donated $950,000 to the General Hospital (later renamed Singapore General Hospital) for a new building, the Mistri Wing, for sick children.8 In 1864, Byramjee Hormusjee Cama, a Parsi, started a school in Tanjong Pagar.9 Some roads have also been named in honour of a few Parsis who were philanthropists and contributed to the economic prosperity of Singapore. Parsi Road was officially named in 1954.10 Parsi Road runs parallel to a part of Palmer Road and is linked to Palmer Road by Mistri Road.11 The Parsi Cemetery used to be located on Palmer Road, and was later moved to Choa Chu Kang.12

Anson Centre, located at the junction of Anson Road and Parsi Road, is a commercial-cum-residential complex built in 1971.13 Flanked by Prince Edward Road and Parsi Road, Springleaf Tower is a 37-storey office-cum-service apartment complex completed in 2002.14 The site of the tower was previously occupied by a Shell kiosk.15 The MAS Building, which houses the Monetary Authority of Singapore, is located at the junction of Prince Edward Road and Shenton Way, with its back facing Parsi Road.16 Built in 1985, the MAS Building features louvered facades terminating in the cantilevered cornices of the top three floors.17


Naidu Ratnala Thulaja

1. “Section of Anson Road to Be Made One-Way,” Straits Times, 10 February 1979, 12; Tan Ban Huat, “The Pioneers of Tanjong Pagar,” Straits Times, 5 April 1989, 5. (From NewspaperSG)
2. “Singapore Minority Groups,” Straits Times, 24 August 1986, 12 (From NewspaperSG); P. B. Chacha, “The History of Parsis in Singapore,” in 50 Years of Indian Community in Singapore, ed., Gopinath Pillai and K. Kesavapany (Singapore: World Scientific, 2016), 121. (Call no. RSING 305.89141105957 FIF)
3. Norman Edwards and Peter Keys, Singapore: A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places (Singapore: Times Books International, 1988), 469 (Call no. RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA]); Victor R. Savage and Brenda S. A. Yeoh, Singapore Street Names: A Study of Toponymics (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2013), 288 (Call no. RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA]); Ng Tze Yong, “No Vultures, No Mountains, No Sky Burial,” New Paper, 18 August 2005, 7. (From NewspaperSG)
4. “Parsee Lodge Cemetery Singapore,” Straits Times, 14 June 1957, 12. (From NewspaperSG)
5. “Singapore Minority Groups”; IIsa Sharp, “An Ancient But Living Faith Striving to Look Ahead,” Straits Times, 21 March 1979, 14. (From NewspaperSG)
[6. Seto Nu-Wen, “Small Community, Big Parsi ‘Family’,” New Paper, 22 September 2003, 8. (From NewspaperSG)
7. “Aerated Waters,” Straits Times, 6 July 1925, 5. (From NewspaperSG)
8. “Lady Black Opens Hospital Wing,” Straits Times, 15 October 1955, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
9. “Annual Retrospect, 1864,” Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1835–1869), 12 January 1865, 3. (From NewspaperSG)
10. “The Dining Parsis,” Straits Times, 30 January 1955, 3. (From NewspaperSG)
11. Mighty Minds Street Directory (Singapore: Angel Publishing Pte Ltd., 2015), map 132D. (Call no. RSING 912.5957 MMSD)
12. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 469.
13. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 468.
14. Fiona Chan, “Property Midas Who Lost His Touch,” Straits Times, 12 June 2004, 12; Kalpana Rashiwala, “Ban Hin Leong’s Space May Go under Receivership By UOB,” Business Times, 15 October 2002, 9; “How It All Started...,” Straits Times, 12 June 2004, 12. (From NewspaperSG)
15. Chan, “Property Midas Who Lost His Touch.” 
16. Mighty Minds Street Directory, map 132D.
17. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 470.

The information in this article is valid as of 2011 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 material

Street names--Singapore
Streets and Places