Macpherson Road

MacPherson is one of the five sub-zones in the Geylang Planning Area.1 MacPherson Road lies between Woodsville Flyover and MacPherson Lane.2

MacPherson Road was previously known as Jalan Klapa, as it ran through a coconut plantation.3 It was named after Lieutenant Colonel Ronald MacPherson (b. 1817–d. 1869), who was the First Captain Commandment of the Singapore Volunteer Rifle Corps, formed in 1854. MacPherson was also the first colonial secretary of the Straits Settlements in 1867, and the designer of St Andrew’s Cathedral, which was built in 1862.4

MacPherson Road was a vital road that led to Paya Lebar Airport from the airport’s opening in 1955 until it ceased civil aviation operations in 1981.5 Along the road lies MacPherson Industrial Estate where business offices, stores and warehouses are located.Also located nearby are the private residential areas of Sennett Estate and Happy Gardens Estate.7 The first batch of 10-storey flats forming MacPherson Housing Estate, totalling 11 blocks, was completed in 1961.8

A landmark near the junction of Upper Serangoon Road and MacPherson Road was MacPherson Road Market, which was built in 1955.9 The market closed down in 1990 for renovation. It re-opened as a 24-hour coffeeshop in 1991 and was renamed as Jackson Centre. The area near the market used to be known as Sar Koh Chi, which means Third Milestone in Hokkien.10

Recent developments
To improve traffic flow, Jackson Centre was torn down in 2007 to enable the construction of a tunnel stretching from MacPherson Road to Bendemeer Road. The tunnel was part of the upgrading of the Woodsville Interchange.11 Woodsville tunnel was opened to traffic on 28 January 2012.12

MacPherson Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station is an interchange station along the Circle Line and Downtown Line. MacPherson Circle Line station was opened on 17 April 2010,13 whereas the Downtown Line section was opened on 21 October 2017.14


Vernon Cornelius

1. Urban Redevelopment Authority (Singapore), Geylang Planning Area: Planning Report 1994 (Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority, 1994), 6. (Call no. RSING 711.4095957 SIN)
2. Urban Redevelopment Authority (Singapore), MacPherson Road, map, accessed 3 May 2019.
3. S. Ramachandra, Singapore Landmarks, Past and Present (Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, 1961), 45. (Call no. RCLOS 959.57 RAM)
4. Victor R. Savage and Brenda S. A. Yeoh, Singapore Street Names: A Study of Toponymics (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2013), 243–44. (Call no. RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
5. Bill Campbell, “Challenging Task of Moving Our Airport to Changi,” Straits Times, 19 March 1977, 12; “A Stretch of Paya Lebar Road Closed,” Straits Times, 26 March 1963, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
6. Chua Siew Keng, “Where Modern Living Finally Catches Up with Kampong Life,” Straits Times, 27 January 1971, 18; “3 More Industrial Estates are Developed,” Straits Times, 16 September 1962, 7. (From NewspaperSG)
7. “New Market Will Serve Thousands,” Straits Times, 13 May 1955, 12; Chua, “Modern Living Finally Catches Up.”
8. “More Homes for People,” Straits Times, 28 April 1961, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
9. “New Market Will Serve Thousands.”
10. Cephah Tan, “MacPherson Market to Be 24-Hr Coffeeshop,” Straits Times, 19 October 1990, 25; Theresa Tan, “Kopitiam Making Way for Tunnel,” Straits Times, 17 September 2007, 29. (From NewspaperSG)
11. Tan, “Kopitiam Making Way for Tunnel.” 
12. Shuli Sudderuddin, “Fire Safety Feature for New Woodsville Tunnel,” Straits Times, 28 January 2012, 10. (From NewspaperSG)
13. Maria Almenoar, “11 Circle Line Stations Open Today,” Straits Times, 17 April 2010, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
14. Ariffin Jamar, (2017, September 25). “A Sneak Peek at Downtown Line 3’s Stations,” Straits Times, 25 September 2017, 6–7. (From NewspaperSG)

The information in this article is valid as at April 2019 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.

Street names--Singapore
Streets and Places