Located in the Civic District, Queen Street is a one-way street that connects Arab Street to the junction of Stamford Road and Armenian Street. Named after Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the street was part of the Eurasian enclave in Singapore’s past, and had several distinguished schools clustered around it.1
Starting at Arab street, Queen Street forms major junctions with Ophir Road, Rochor Road, Middle Road and Bras Basah Road, before terminating at the junction of Stamford Road and Armenian Street. Queen Street, along with Waterloo Street, became an Eurasian enclave; it was also called Eurasian Street. The first Catholic church, Church of the Good Shepherd, was built on Queen Street in 1846 and many schools of high regard came to be established here. The area around Stamford Canal, Dhoby Ghaut and Selegie Road also became known for the laundry services provided by the Indian dhobies (laundrymen).2
Today, Queen Street is part of the Bras Basah.Bugis Precinct, the arts, culture, learning and entertainment district in the city’s centre. In 2012, design proposals to enhance Queen Street’s sidewalks to provide more space for arts and cultural activities received strong support from residents and stakeholders. Work began in early 2013 and completed in August 2014.3
The Church of the Good Shepherd, founded by French priest Father Jean-Marie Beurel, was built on Queen Street, next to St Joseph’s Institution, in 1846. It was consecrated as the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd in 1897, and has been a national monument since 28 June 1973. French missionary, Pierre Paris, added another Catholic church to this street in 1870 – the Church of Saints Peter and Paul.4 This church was gazetted as a national monument on 10 February 2003.5 Francisco de Silva Pinto i Maria, a Portuguese missionary, built St Joseph’s Church in 1853 but it was demolished in 1906. A new building for the church, in Gothic architecture, was erected at the same site in 1912.6 Other churches on this street are the Kum Yan Cantonese Methodist Church and the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes.7 St Joseph’s Church and the Church of our Lady of Lourdes were both declared national monuments on 14 January 2005.8
The oldest Sikh temple in Singapore, the Central Sikh Temple, was built on this street in 1921, but was pulled down in the 1980s to make way for development. The temple moved to Towner Road, and flats and shops were built on the original Queen Street site.9
In early Singapore, schools along Queen Street included Raffles Girls’ School, St Joseph’s Institution (SJI), Catholic High School, St Anthony’s Boys’ School, St Anthony’s Convent Secondary School, Waterloo Primary School and Stamford Girls’ School. Some schools no longer exist while others moved to different locations. The SJI building now houses the Singapore Art Museum.10 The site of the former Raffles Girls’ School has been marked as a historic site.11 On 26 November 1993, the area encompassing St Joseph’s Church, St Anthony’s Convent, and the buildings of the old St Anthony’s Boys’ School and St Anthony’s Girls’ School was designated a conservation area called the Queen Street Conservation Area.12
Other buildings on Queen Street include the Oxford Hotel, BOC Plaza, Midlink Plaza, Albert Centre, Fu Lu Shou Complex, and some shophouses.13
Sek-a-ni koi and Sek-kia-ni-koi. Sekani in Hokkien means Eurasian, reflecting the presence of Eurasians in the area.
San ma lu, which means “the third horseway”.
Se zai nian jie, which means Eurasian Street. This refers to the fact that the street was a part of the Eurasian enclave.
Tamil names: Dhoby kampam and Vannan teruvu, which mean “street of the dhobies”.15
Malay name: Kampong dhobi, a reference to the laundrymen that dominated the area.16
1. Peter K. G. Dunlop, Street Names of Singapore (Singapore: Who’s Who Publishing, 200), 256 (Call no. RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS]); Victor R. Savage and Brenda S. A. Yeoh, Singapore Street Names: A Study of Toponymics (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2013), 315–16. (Call no. RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
2. Norman Edwards and Keys Peter, Singapore: A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places (Singapore: Times Books International, 1988), 286 (Call no. RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA]); Dunlop, Street Names of Singapore, 256; Dhoraisingam S. Samuel, Singapore’s Heritage: Through Places of Historical Interest (Singapore: Elixir Consultancy Service, 1991), 149. (Call no. RSING 959.57 SAM-[HIS])
3. Bras Basah.Bugis, Precint Map, map, accessed 30 June 2017; Valerie Yeo, “Queen Street Gets a New Look,” Skyline (March–April 2012), 20 (From BookSG); “Queen Street Makeover: Wider Walkways, Public Art and a Play Space,” Today, 19 August 2014. (From Factiva via NLB’s eResources website)
4. Edwin Lee, Historic Buildings of Singapore (Singapore: Preservation of Monuments Board, 1990), 30, 150, 152 (Call no. RSING 720.95957 LEE); Preservation of Monuments (Consolidation) Order 1973, S.228/1973, Government Gazette. Subsidiary Legislation Supplement, 1973. (Call no. RSING 348.5957 SGGSLS)
5. “Queen Street Church to Be Preserved,” Straits Times, 11 February 2003, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
6. Samuel, Singapore’s Heritage, 149–50, 152.
7. “Queen Street,” Streetdirectory, accessed 26 October 2016.
8. Tracy Sua, “Four New Heritage Sites,” Straits Times, 14 January 2005, 10. (From NewspaperSG)
9. Surinder Singh, “Oldest Sikh Temple to Make Way for Development,” Straits Times, 2 January 1980, 8 (From NewspaperSG); “Central Sikh Temple,” Central Sikh Gurdwara Board, accessed 26 October 2016.
10. Samuel, Singapore’s Heritage, 149–50, 152; Survey Department, Singapore, Singapore: Guide and Street Directory (Singapore: Survey Department, 1961), 47. (Call no. RCLOS 959.57 SIN)
11. “Other Historic Places,” New Paper, 3 September 1999, 19. (From NewspaperSG)
12. Edwards and Peter, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 268; Dunlop, Street Names of Singapore, 256; “Conservation Area in Queen Street Designated,” Straits Times, 27 November 1993, 30. (From NewspaperSG)
13.Streetdirectory, “Queen Street.”
14. H. W. Firmstone, “Chinese Names of Streets and Places in Singapore and the Malay Peninsula,” Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 42 (February 1905): 122–23 (Call no. RQUIK 959.5 JMBRAS); Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 315.
15. Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 315.
16. Edwards and Peter, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 268; Dunlop, Street Names of Singapore, 256; Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 315.
“About,” The Eurasian Association Singapore, accessed 21 October 2016.
Alexius A Pereira, Eurasians (Singapore: Institute of Policy Studies: Straits Times Press Pte Ltd, 2015). (Call no. RSING 305.809095957 PER)
Eurasian Association, Singapore, Our City, Our Home: Singapore Eurasians 1965–2015 (Singapore: Eurasian Association, 2015). (Call no. RSING 305.80405957 OUR)
The information in this article is valid as at 2017 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.