by Renuka, M.
Meyer Road stretches from Tanjong Rhu Road to Tanjong Katong Road. Today, Meyer Road is a prime residential district with private houses as well as condominiums. A stone's throw away from the East Coast Park, Meyer Road is easily accessible by the East Coast Expressway extending from the city to Changi International Airport.
It is named after Sir Reuben Manasseh Meyer (1846–1930), the Jewish businessman who built the Chesed-El Synagogue and owned the old Sea View Hotel facing the road. It is said that the road was named by him, but it was established during a 1921 street-naming exercise “with a view to simplify the house numbering of the town”. Manasseh Meyer was known for his philanthropic efforts which included the Manasseh Meyer Trust. Meyer owned several properties in Singapore and named a few after himself, such as Meyer Chambers in Raffles Place.
Fort Road runs between Meyer Road and the East Coast Parkway. The famous Katong Park sits here.2 This park used to house a fort during the pre-war years. The tunnels led to different directions with the fort facing the sea, defending the island against a possible sea attack.3 However, the fort was abandoned and buried by the British after 1901. In the 1960s, Katong Park was built atop the fort.4 Other landmarks along this road include the Katong Park Hotel, previously known as the Duke Hotel or the Ambassador Hotel.5 In 1963, a bomb exploded in Katong Park during the Confrontation with Indonesia. The windows of the Ambassador Hotel at Meyer Road were shattered during the explosion.6 Meyer Road was nicknamed the “Little India of the East Coast” due to a large number of North Indians residing in the area, creating an “instant community”.7
The earliest flats in Singapore were thought to be built by Manasseh Meyer: Crescent Flats in 1909 and Meyer Apartments in 1928. The buildings were seen as the earliest examples of luxury, beach-front apartments. The crescent curve of the flats is supposedly based on a similar design of terrace houses in Bath, United Kingdom.8
1. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 255. (Call no.: RSING 915.570014 SAV-[TRA]); Municipal Commission (1921, February 26). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 389. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
3. Tay, T-W. (2004, October 25). Work begins to unearth fort. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Yong, J. A. (2006, April 9). Fort Tanjong Katong, Buried, dug up – and buried again. The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Corfield, J., & Corfield, R. (2006). Encyclopedia of Singapore. Singapore: Talisman Publishing, p. 51. (Call no.: RSING 959.57003 COR-[HIS])
6. This Day in History. (2005, September 24). The Straits Times, p. 50. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Mulchand, A. (2001, November 14). (East) India Company. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Save historic Meyar Road flats, urged readers, experts. (1991, October 31). The Straits Times, p. 23; Meyer Road flats to make way for condo. (1991, October 21). The Straits Times, p. 22. 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.