If you’ve ever been around Singapore, you’d know that we’ve got some pretty interesting street names. Here’s how some of the them got their names, with stories and legends extending back to colonial Singapore!
1. Joo Chiat
It’s named after plantation magnate Chew Joo Chiat, nicknamed “King of Katong”.
2. Zubir Said Drive
An homage to the man who wrote our national anthem—Zubir Said aka Mr Mari Kita.
3. Jalan Kayu
We skipped naming the street after British planner C.E Wood and instead went for the Malay word for wood.
4. Kent Ridge Park
After WWII, the former Pasir Panjang Park was renamed after the Duchess of Kent and her son.
5. Jalan Boon Lay
Named after Chew Boon Lay, a plantation owner who owned large plots of land in Jurong.
6. King’s Road
Named after King George V, who was the Duke of York and the Prince of Wales before he became King.
7. Bukit Merah
Meaning Red Hill, the road is named after a jealous sultan who sent soldiers to kill a young boy.
8. Clarke Quay
Named after Sir Andrew Clarke, the man behind Treaty of Pangkor in 1874 that let the British rule the Malay States.
9. Mount Sophia
Captain William Flint, married to Raffles’ favorite sister, Maryanne, named this hill after his daughter.
10. Bukit Timah
What was meant to be “temak”—a tree that grows in the area—became “timah”, which means tin in Malay.
11. Desker Road
Yet another one of the streets named after a businessman, Desker Road shares its name with a charitable butchery businessman Andre Filipe Desker, whose sheep pens used to line the streets.
12. Aljunied Road
Named after Syed Ali bin Mohamed Al-Junid, a descendent of Prophet Mohammed, who gave five acres of land to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
13. Bugis Street
The area was once populated by the “Buginese people” who settled at the original Bugis Kampong.
14. Finlayson Green
Named after the famed John Finlayson, manager of Messrs Boustead & Co., the second oldest European company in Singapore.
15. Choa Chu Kang
Once Chinese immigrants who lived by the Sungei Berih River, the name comes from the name of the clan (Chu) and the word for river.
16. Nee Soon Road
Named after philanthropist Lim Nee Soon who was a prominent rubber and pineapple planter.
17. Bukit Ho Swee
Tay Ho Swee took over his father’s business where his opium, gambier and pepper plantations occupied much of Bukit Ho Swee and Outram Hill.
Ann Siang Hill
18. Ann Siang Hill
Once known as Scott’s Hill and Gemmill’s Hill, it was bought over by wealthy businessman Chia Ann Siang.
19. Keong Saik Road
Named after Tan Keong Saik, who championed education for Chinese girls and was appointed Justice of Peace and Municipal Commissioner.
20. Jiak Chuan Road
Named after Tan Jiak Chuan, who left behind large sums of money for the Raffles Institution and Tan Tock Seng Hospital after his death.
Singapore Street Names with Interesting Origins
So, there you have it. These are some of the most interesting street names, with stories reaching back into Singapore’s past. The next time you drive past with your friends, you have a fun fact you can share with them. There are plenty more roads and streets with their names originating in early Singapore, so look out for them when out and about!