Craig Road

Singapore Infopedia


Craig Road begins from the junction of Neil Road and Keong Saik Road and ends at Tanjong Pagar Road. Named after Captain James Craig, an officer in the Merchant Service Guild and member of the Freemason Zetland Lodge, the road was where the poor people in Chinatown lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.1

The area around Craig Road was originally a nutmeg plantation owned by the medical doctor, William Montgomerie. His plantation, which included a portion of the current Tanjong Pagar Road, comprised 13 ha of land and 1,800 trees with two properties known as Craig Hill and Duxton nestled amongst the trees.2 In 1856, following Montgomerie’s death, the whole plantation, including the houses, was auctioned off to Ker, Rawson & Co. Craig Road, along with two other nearby roads, Duxton Road and Duxton Hill, were presumably constructed after the 1856 sale and named after the aforementioned dwellings.3

In the years that followed, Craig Road became a residential area for the poor. Rickshaw pullers, prostitutes, dock workers and triad gangsters set up home along the street.4 However, rapid urbanisation that followed after Singapore’s independence in 1965 saw Craig Road gain an image makeover. Currently part of the Tanjong Pagar Conservation Area, the road has become a posh locale populated with shops, restored shophouses, eating places, terrace buildings, pubs, private residential units, hotels, commercial units and a few Housing and Development Board blocks of flats. Other big commercial-cum-residential units found on the road are Craig Place and Chinatown Plaza. Duxton Plain Park and the Poo Thor Jee temple, which used to accept patients on behalf of the Singapore Buddhist Free Clinic, are also nearby. The Tanjong Pagar branch of the Singapore Buddhist Free Clinic relocated to Craig Road in 1997.5

Variant names
Hokkien: gu chia chui kia, meaning “next to Kreta Ayer”.6 To avoid confusion with similar sounding roads located around Kreta Ayer, Craig Road was also called ka-lek lut, which has only phonetic significance and was used to mean Craig Road and the road where the Peranakans lived.7
Cantonese: san yiong tai uk pin, meaning “beside San Yiong’s big house”. San Yiong was a Peranakan who owned a big house on this road.8


Naidu Ratnala Thulaja

1. Peter K. G. Dunlop, Street Names of Singapore (Singapore: Who’s Who Publishing, 2000), 61. (Call no. RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS])
2. “Page 3 Advertisements Column 5,” Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1835–1869), 9 October 1856, 3 (From NewspaperSG); Norman Edwards and Peter Keys, Singapore: A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places (Singapore: Times Books International, 1988), 459. (Call no. RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
3. “Page 3 Advertisements Column 5”; Charles Burton Buckley, An Anecdotal History of Old Times in Singapore (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1984), 636. (Call no. RSING 959.57 BUC-[HIS])
4. Chan Kwee Sung “Volatile Mix in Tanjong Pagar,” Straits Times, 9 April 2001, 8. (From NewspaperSG)
5. “A Brief History of SBFC,” Singapore Buddhist Free Clinic, accessed 3 June 2016.
6. Victor R. Savage and Brenda S. A. Yeoh,
Singapore Street Names: A Study of Toponymics (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2013). (Call no. RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
7. H. W. Firmstone, “Chinese Names of Streets and Places in Singapore and the Malay Peninsula,” Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 42 (February 1905): 82. (Call no. RQUIK 959.5 JMBRAS)
8. Firmstone, “Chinese Names of Streets and Places, 83.

The information in this article is valid as of 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.

Rights Statement

The information on this page and any images that appear here may be used for private research and study purposes only. They may not be copied, altered or amended in any way without first gaining the permission of the copyright holder.

More to Explore

Keppel Road


Keppel Road is located in the Tanjong Pagar sub-zone of the Bukit Merah Planning Area within Singapore’s Central Region. The road was developed through the reclamation of mangrove swamps and mudflats that stretched from Tanjong Pagar to Telok Blangah, and was named after Captain (and later Admiral) Henry Keppel (1809–1904)....

Eu Tong Sen Street


Eu Tong Sen Street begins from a stretch of road formed by the meeting of two roads, Jalan Bukit Merah and Kampong Bahru Road, and ends at the junction of Hill Street, Fort Canning Rise and Coleman Street. An artery of the Chinatown hub and a shopping haven, the street...



Kallang is bounded by the northeastern boundary of the Central Area, the Central Expressway, the Pan Island Expressway, the proposed Kallang Expressway, Mountbatten Road and the East Coast Parkway. It covers nine subzones and a total area of 920.7 ha. Some of Singapore’s earliest settlers lived in Kallang. They were...

Jinrikisha Station


Located at the junction of Neil Road and Tanjong Pagar Road, the Jinrikisha (also spelt as “Jinricksha”) Station was built in 1903 and opened the following year, serving as the main depot for rickshaws. Following the 1947 ban on rickshaws in Singapore, the building was used for several other purposes,...

Hotel van Wijk


Hotel van Wijk, one of the early Dutch hotels in Singapore, was established in the late 19th century. At the time, hotels were set up to cater to the needs of the growing overseas mercantile communities. Hotel van Wijk was located at the hotel belt along Stamford Road – at...

Phillip Street


Phillip Street (or Philip Street) is a short one-way street in Chinatown that connects Chulia Street to Church Street. It was named either after William Edward Phillip, the governor of Penang (1820–26) or after Charles Phillip, the superintendent of the Sailors’ Home....



Outram is a planning area in Singapore’s Central Region. It is bounded by Havelock Road and Pickering Street to the north, Telok Ayer Street, Peck Seah Street and Stanley Street to the east, Gopeng and Kee Seng streets to the south, and Cantonment Road and Outram Road to the west....

Selegie Road


Selegie Road is a continuation of Dhoby Ghaut that joins Serangoon Road. Selegie in Malay refers to a wooden spear sharpened and hardened by fire. Another variant spelling for selegie is seligi, which is the nibong palm used in flooring and fishing stakes. The area was probably named after a...



Tuas is an area located in the southwestern region of Singapore. Landmarks in the district include the Tuas Industrial Estate, Second Link and Tuas Naval Base. The construction of the megaport known as Tuas Terminal is currently underway and expected to be completed in the 2020s....

Pickering Street


Pickering Street is located in the Downtown Core, within the Central Region. It was named after William Alexander Pickering, the first Protector of the Chinese, and head of the Chinese Protectorate. He was popular amongst the Chinese population for his ability to speak four Chinese dialects plus Mandarin. Pickering Street...