Kampong Glam (c.1830 Campong Gelam), estate, one of 10 sub-zones of the Rochore area located in the central region. Kampong Glam covers 56 acres of land located to the east of the 19th century European town in Singapore, between the Rochore River and the sea. On 7 July 1989, Kampong Glam was gazetted a conservation area, and will become a “Malay Heritage Centre” preserved as a historic part of town.
Kampong Glam was land set aside for Sultan Hussein Mohammed Shah and 600 family members in 1823, upon his signing the treaty ceding Singapore to the East India Company. He instructed the Temenggong Abdul Rahman to build his palace here – a large attap-roofed istana or “palace”. Aside from the Sultan’s family, residents of the area included the Bugis, Arabs, Javanese and Boyanese, and by 1824, at least 1/3 of the residents were Chinese. Immigrants of Muslim faith who were allocated to reside at Kampong Glam. These migrants settled amongst their own ethnic groups, which gave rise to different “mini-kampongs” such as Kampong Bugis, Kampong Java and Kampong Malacca. Raffles himself donated S$3,000 for a “respectable mosque” which served the community until 1924 when the current landmark, the Sultan Mosque was built. The location of Kampong Glam caused a rift between Raffles and Farquhar, the latter believing that the land would be better used as the island’s business centre. Kampong Glam was developed in 1831 by 200 convict workers in 8 months, at a total cost of S$500.
At the founding of Singapore, there was a village by the sea where the Orang Laut from the Glam tribe resided. According to Wah Hakim, this was known as Seduyong before it gained the name Kampong Glam, after the tribal group of the Orang Laut. The bark of the Glam Tree was used by the Orang Laut to make awnings and sails. Its timber was often used for constructing boats and served as firewood. Its fruit was ground and used as pepper – mercha bolong; and its leaves boiled and concocted into the Cajeput Oil, a medication for rheumatism and cramps.
By the 1920s, the Kampong had descended into notoriety so much so that it was famed more for its red-light district than its distinctive community. The elegant, Moorish-influenced Sultan Mosque was rebuilt in 1924, and continues to be an important beacon for Muslims.
The phenomenal presence and influence of the early Arab migrants are registered on street names like Muscat, Bagdad, Bussorah etc., all namesakes of Arabian cities. The wealthiest of these Arab familes have contributed to the building and maintenance of mosques and religious schools, the most notable of these were the Alsagoff Arab School (1912) and the Madrasah Aljunied Al-Islamiah School.
On 7 July 1989, the historic district of Kampong Glam was gazetted a conservation area. In 1993, the Singapore Government first announced its plan to develop the Istana Kampong Glam, as it was in the 16 ha Kampong Glam Conservation area. Residents were informed of this and given ample time to make their own housing arrangements. Then on 12 March 1999 it was announced that the Istana would be converted into a “Malay Heritage Centre”
Within the area also stand significant buildings like Bendahara House (1920s) at No. 73, Sultan Gate; and Pondok Java, a drama house where traditional cultural arts of Javanese migrants e.g. Wayang Kulit (“shadow puppet plays”), Wayang Bangsawan (“drama acting”), were performed.
(1) In Hokkien means Sio Po or “small town”.
(2) Kampong Glam Beach, in Hokkien Twa Che Kha refers to “The foot of the big well”.
There used to be an old well in the middle of the road at Sultan’s Gate.
(3) Sultan’s Gate in Hokkien is known as (a) Ong Hu Khau refers to “The mouth of the Palace ” or (b) Phah Thi Koi refers to “The street of the Iron-smiths.
(4) Sultan Road/Jalan Sultan in Hokkien Sio Po Phah Thi Koi refers to “Small Singapore’s Iron-smiths” street.
Malay name: Kampong Glam refers to “The Glam Tree” (Malaleuca leucadendron from the Greek words melas meaning “black” and leukos meaning “white”).
Indian name: Sultan’s Gate in Tamil is Raja Kottei means “Rajah’s Palace”.
Beach Road (Chinese: 美芝路; Malay: Jalan Pantai) is a road located within the Kallang Planning Area and Downtown Core in Singapore.
The road starts at its junction with Crawford Street in Kallang Planning Area in the north, runs in a generally southerly direction, enters the Downtown Core at its junction with Ophir Road, and ends at its junction with Stamford Road and Saint Andrew’s Road to the south.
Etymology and history
Beach Road is one of the early roads developed in Singapore and appears in George Drumgoole Coleman’s 1836 Map of Singapore. The road was actually a coastal road fronting the sea coast in the early decades of the British colonial city — hence its name.
The Chinese used to call the road thih pa sat khau, meaning “the street to which the iron market opens or faces”, a reference to Clyde Terrace Market, which was taken over and run as a public market by the Municipal Commissioners in 1910. Clyde Terrace Market, also known as Beach Road market, had its foundation stone laid on 29 March 1873, with Masonic honours. Costing $37,889, the building was completed in 1874. It was demolished in 1983 to make way for the The Gateway twin office towers, designed by architect, I.M. Pei, which stand now on this site.
Beach Road was also known as sio poh kai ki in Hokkien, which means “small town seashore”. Sio poh is “small town”, referring to that part of Singapore to the north of the Stamford Canal Road, as opposed to tua poh or “big town”, the Singapore River end of the town.
Beach Road was known as kadalkarai sadakku or “seaside road” in Tamil.
Up till the 1870s and 1880s, the sea came right up to Beach Road. At the time, large seaside villas stood here — just as Stamford Raffles had envisaged when he laid out his 1822 Town Plan. Raffles reserved Beach Road for the residences of the European merchants. By 1825, there were 20 such buildings. These luxurious homes earned the street its Chinese name ji chap keng or “Twenty House Street”. In 1886, one of these 20 houses, owned by W.R. George, was bought over by the Sarkies brothers and later became the Raffles Hotel. By the 1880s, these houses were turned into hostels or eating places to cater to the increasing flow of travellers and Beach Road ceased to be a prestigious residential district.
Apart from houses, there were hotels, clubs and bars as well. The Singapore Cricket Club had its roots here. The area was also the scene of frequent brawls, as in the days before Tanjong Pagar became the port area, European sailors on shore leave would make for Beach Road. Brawls and other unruly behaviour were the reason why Mrs Balestier, the first American consul’s wife, presented the historic Revere Bell to Saint Andrew’s Church in 1843. The bell was intended not only for church service but also to be struck in the afternoon to warn seamen to return to their ships before darkness fell.
A sandy beach once existed in front of Raffles Hotel on the Beach Road side, and may account for the few steps which today lead to the lobby, as apparently it was common for the water to come up and over Beach Road at high tide, before the land now in front of Beach Road was reclaimed.
The first land reclamation beyond the foreshore line of 1843 alongside Beach Road was to provide land to build the Alhambra and Marlborough Cinemas, a police station and the Singapore Volunteer Corps Headquarters and Drill Hall (later converted to the Singapore Infantry Regiment Headquarters). Further land reclamation began around the 1880s, gradually robbing Beach Road of its sea frontage. Over the years, Nicoll Highway and later Marina Square and Suntec City were built on reclaimed land, pushing Beach Road even further inland.
The prominent landmarks located along Beach Road include (from north to south):
- DUO, a contemporary twin-tower integrated development comprising residences, offices, a 5-star hotel and retail gallery
- Golden Mile Complex and Golden Mile Tower
- Golden Mile Food Centre
- Masjid Hajjah Fatimah
- Saint John Headquarters
- The Concourse
- Parkroyal on Beach Road
- The Plaza
- The Gateway
- Shaw Tower
- Old Beach Road Police Station
- South Beach, planned complex comprising the former Beach Road camp and the former NCO Club
- Raffles Hotel
- Civilian War Memorial and War Memorial Park
- Raffles City with Swissôtel The Stamford and Fairmont Singapore