Liang Seah Street
Liang Seah Street, located in the Civic District, links North Bridge Road with Beach Road.1 Built in the old European residential town during colonial times, it was named in 1927 after the well-known Teochew millionaire, Seah Liang Seah of Chin Choon and Chin Giap, a pineapple-canning venture.2
The Municipal Commission first approved for the new road to be constructed from North Bridge Road to Beach Road in June 1926.3 Liang Seah Street was officially named on 2 December 1927 after Seah Liang Seah.4 The second son of Chinese pioneer, Seah Eu Chin, Liang Seah was himself a wealthy pepper and gambier merchant who owned Chin Choon and Chin Giap, a pineapple-canning company.5
However, a Syed Abdul Rahman bin Shaikh contested the name, claiming that since he owned 38 houses along the street it should be named after him instead.6 In 1927, he submitted an appeal to the Municipal President through Allen & Gledhill arguing his case.7 The president of the street name committee, however, pointed out that streets should bear the name of persons or citizens who had served on Legislative and Municipal Councils, and had done useful work for the town, rather than after those who owned the largest amount of property on a particular street.8 Seah, in this case had served on both the Legislative and Municipal Councils and was therefore well-placed to receive the honour.9 It was even posited in the appeal that his close acquaintance with Sir Laurence Guillemard and other European officials might have influenced the committee to name the street after him in the European enclave.10 The nearby Seah Street is named after the noteworthy Seah family as well.11
Liang Seah Street was conferred conservation status on 27 May 2009. It contains five units of four- to five-storey shophouses built between the 1920s and 1940s. In particular, No. 516 and No. 496 North Bridge Road, built in 1929 and 1927 respectively, are mirror-images of each other in their neo-classically influenced facades. Together, they create a landmark gateway into Liang Seah Street.12
As of 30 Sep 2014, 32 shophouse units have been restored.13 As Liang Seah street is located opposite the Bugis Junction shopping mall, the street comprises a lively mix of restaurants, bars, shops and commercial units.14
Vernon Cornelius & Naidu Ratnala Thulaja
1. Durai Raja-Singam, Malayan Street Names: What They Mean and Whom They Commemorate (Ipoh: The Mercantile Press, 1939), 118. (Call no. RQUIK 959.5 RAJ)
2. Peter K. G. Dunlop, Street Names of Singapore (Singapore: Who’s Who Publishing, 2000), 185–6 (Call no. RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS]); Raja-Singam, Malayan Street Names, 118.
3. “Municipal Commission,” Straits Times, 8 June 1926, 9. (From NewspaperSG)
4. Dunlop, Street Names of Singapore, 185–6.
5. Victor R. Savage and Brenda S. A. Yeoh, Singapore Street Names: A Study of Toponymics (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2013), 225 (Call no. RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA]); Raja-Singam, Malayan Street Names, 118.
6. Dunlop, Street Names of Singapore, 185–6.
7. Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 225; Dunlop, Street Names of Singapore, 185–6.
8. Raja-Singam, Malayan Street Names, 118.
9. Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 225.
10. Tan Nee Choo, Street Names in Selected Areas of Singapore: A Study in Historical Geography (Singapore: [s.n], 1976), 29–30. (Call no. RCLOS 959.57 TAN)
11. Tan, Street Names in Selected Areas of Singapore, 29–30; S. Ramachandra, Singapore Landmarks, Past and Present (Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, 1961), 46. (Call no. RCLOS 959.57 RAM)
12. “Beach Road (includes North Bridge Road No. 490 to 496 and 516),” Urban Redevelopment Authority, accessed 1 December 2016.
13. “Conservation Guidelines,” Urban Redevelopment Authority, accessed 1 September 2016; “Restored Buildings,” Urban Redevelopment Authority, accessed 1 September 2016.
14. “Buy Meat from Cold Storage Opposite, Borrow Milk Next Door,” Straits Times, 20 September 1998, 3; “Liang Seah Street,” Straits Times, 20 September 1998, 3. (From NewspaperSG)
The information in this article is valid as of 2016 and correct as far as we can 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.