Anson Road

Singapore Infopedia

by Naidu Ratnala Thulaja


Anson Road is located in the Tanjong Pagar area and begins near a carpark around Keppel Road, then bifurcates into two roads – one merges into Keppel Road while the other proceeds as a one-way road connecting to the junction of Robinson Road and Maxwell Road.1 It is named after Major General Sir Archibald E. H. Anson.2

In 1879, the government levelled hills along the coast to reclaim land from the sea. The levelled land where Mount Wallich once stood is where Robinson Road and Anson Road were built.3 Anson road was named after Major General Sir Archibald E. H. Anson who was the Lieutenant-Governor of Penang and a Major-General in Singapore. He was assigned the task of administering the Straits Settlements during the interim periods between governors in the 1870s.4 He retired in 1882.5 It is also probable that the road was named after Commodore George Anson, who served as the Naval Commander of Far East Squadron in 1815.6 Among the Chinese, the road was known as lau tua pek kong hit tiau in reference to an old temple in the Tanjong Pagar area.7

Buildings around Anson Road
There were several significant landmarks that have stood along this street in the past. In 1922, an exhibition called the Malaya-Borneo Exhibition was opened at the Anson Road grounds by the Duke of Windsor. After the exhibition ended, the site was converted into an amusement centre called Happy Valley.8 However, competition in show business led to the closure of the amusement centre and a football stadium known as the Anson Road Stadium was built in its place.9

Anson Centre is a 14-storey commercial-and-residential building built in 1971. It is one of the early examples of “tower and podium” development in Singapore, where the podium comprises shopping and showroom facilities.10 Springleaf Tower, at the junction of Parsi and Anson roads,11 is a 37-storey office-and-service apartment complex built on a 38,000 sq ft area completed in 2002. The site was previously occupied by a Shell kiosk.12 International Plaza is a 50-storey office-and-residential complex completed in 1976. It was one of the first buildings to have multiple operations in a single mixed-use development.13 IBM Towers is a 38-storey commercial building that used to house IBM. The building was renamed Fuji Xerox Towers in 2004 when Fuji Xerox became the main anchor tenant.14

Variant names
HokkienLau toa peh kong hit tiau, “old idol street” a reference to an old temple in Tanjong Pagar; and Ti ku pa-sat khi Tan-jong Pa-kat hai-ki hit-tion meaning “the street that goes to Tanjong Pagar along the shore from the old market”.15

Naidu Ratnala Thulaja

1. Mighty Minds Street Directory (Singapore: Angel Publishing Pte Ltd., 2014), map 132D, 13. (Call no. RSING MMSD-[DIR])
2. Peter K. G. Dunlop, Street Names of Singapore (Singapore: Who’s Who Publishing, 200), 8. (Call no. RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS])
3. Norman Edwards and Peter Keys, Singapore: A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places (Singapore: Times Books International, 1988), 457. (Call no. RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
4. Dunlop, Street Names of Singapore, 8; Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 21.
5. Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 21.
6. Dunlop, Street Names of Singapore, 8.
7. H. W. Firmstone, Chinese Names of Streets and Places in Singapore and the Malay PeninsulaJournal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 42 (February 1905): 56–­57 (Call no. RQUIK 959.5 JMBRAS); Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 21.
8. Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 21.
9. Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 21; Chan Kwee Sung, Anson Road Alive with Sound of Soccer,” Straits Times, 1 January 2000, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
10. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 468.
11. Mighty Minds Street Directory, map 132D, 128.
12. “Developer Feeling the Heat Over Springleaf: Sources,” Business Times, 25 January 2002, 9; Kalpana Rashiwala, “Ban Hin Leong to Build Office Tower on Shell Kiosk Site,” Straits Times, 16 August 1995, 36. (From NewspaperSG)
13. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 467.
14. Kalpanan Rashiwala, “Fuji Xerox to Move to IBM Towers: Sources,” Business Times, 17 February 2004, 9; Kalpana Rashiwala, “Fuji Xerox’s US$15M New Offices,” Business Times, 24 June 2004, 9. (From NewspaperSG)
15. Firmstone, Chinese Names of Streets and Places in Singapore and the Malay Peninsula, 56–57.

List of images
Ray K. Tyers and Siow Jin Hua, Ray Tyers' Singapore: Then & Now (Singapore: Landmark Books Pte Ltd, 1993), 140. (Call no. RSING 959.57 TYE-[HIS])

The information in this article is valid as at 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.


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