Ann Siang Road

Ann Siang Road in Chinatown begins from a road known as Ann Siang Hill and connects to Kadayanallur Street.1 It is named after Chia Ann Siang (1832‒1892) who was a wealthy Chinese businessman.2

Ann Siang Hill was originally known as Scott’s Hill and was owned by Charles Scott who cultivated a nutmeg and clove estate on it.3 He sold it to John Gemmill who christened it as Gemmill’s Hill. The hill became known as Ann Siang Hill after it came to be owned by Chia Ann Siang who built his house and estate on the site. A Cantonese burial ground, one of the oldest Chinese burial grounds in Singapore, was located at the foot of this hill where it met Mount Erskine and was in use until 1867. This graveyard was exhumed in 1907 and a portion of it was developed as  part of the Telok Ayer reclamation project.4 In the 1890s, a Malay college that provided education to young tungkus and ungkus, moved to Gemmill’s Hill from Telok Blangah.5

Situated on the hill, both Ann Siang Road and Ann Siang Hill are lined with elegantly restored shophouses and richly decorated terraces. Most of these buildings were constructed between 1903 and 1941.6 Ann Siang Hill Park located at the end of Ann Siang Road is surrounded by shophouses near Ann Siang Road, Amoy Street and Club Street.7 The first Anglo-Chinese School in Singapore is located at 70 Amoy Street, near Ann Siang Road. Started by Methodist missionaries on 1 March 1886, it is now called ACS House and has been marked as a historic site by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.8 Another historic site, the original building of the Pondok Peranakan Gelam Club or Pondok Gelam, is located at Club Street near Ann Siang Hill. Home to a Bawean-Malay community from 1932 to 2000, this last pondok building (communal home) in Singapore was declared a historic site in 2000.9

Variant names
Chui-lan teng (Hokkien) and Sui-lan theng (Cantonese), meaning “Chui-lan pavilion”. A club named Chui-lan used to be situated on this hill.10


Naidu Ratnala Thulaja

1. Mighty Minds Street Directory (Singapore: Angel Publishing Pte Ltd., 2014), 13, Map 132D. (Call no. RSING MMSD-[DIR])
2. Victor R. Savage and Brenda S. A. Yeoh, Singapore Street Names: A Study of Toponymics (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2013), 20. (Call no. RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
3. Norman Edwards and Peter Keys, Singapore: A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places (Singapore: Times Books International, 1988), 452. (Call no. RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
4. Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 20.
5. Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 135.
6. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 452.
7. “Facelift for Two More Parks in Chinatown,” Straits Times, 22 June 2002, H2. (From NewspaperSG)
8. Peter K. G. Dunlop, Street Names of Singapore (Singapore: Who’s Who Publishing, 200), 7 (Call no. RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS]); “Heritage Schools,” Urban Redevelopment Authority (Singapore), accessed 1 July 2016.
9. Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 87; Siti Andriane, “Singapore’s Last Pondok Named a Historic Site,” Straits Times, 31 January 2000, 42. (From NewspaperSG)
10. H. W. Firmstone, Chinese Names of Streets and Places in Singapore and the Malay PeninsulaJournal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 42 (February 1905): 56­–57. (Call no. RQUIK 959.5 JMBRAS)

Further resources
Chinatown: The Debate,” Straits Times, 8 February 1999, 35. (From NewspaperSG)

Koh Buck Song, “Where Do You Stay?” Straits Times, 20 July 1992, 7. (From NewspaperSG)

Monica Gwee, “World Class? Dunno Lah,” Straits Times, 29 April 1999, 6. (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 project. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.


Historic sites--Singapore
Street names--Singapore
Streets and Places