Outram Road

Singapore Infopedia


Outram Road begins at the junction of Kim Seng Road and Havelock Road, and ends at the junction of Cantonment Road and New Bridge Road.1 It was named in 1858 after James Outram (Sir), in honour of his heroic role in the 1857 Indian mutiny.

Outram Road was known as Cantonment Road prior to 1853,2 followed by River Valley Road until 1858 when it was separated from Cantonment Road. It was then renamed Outram Road in honour of Outram for his heroic role in the 1857 Indian mutiny.3

In 1966, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) purchased the site of the former Outram Road prison for $4.5 million. Then in 1969, HDB’s Urban Renewal Department built the first public flats along the road with the typical “shops below-flats above” slab-blocks concept.4

Opened on 26 February 1906, the Outram Road School was renamed Outram School in 1939. It remained a primary school until 1954 when it was converted into a secondary school.5 Now known as Outram Secondary School, it relocated from Outram Road to5 York Hill, off Chin Swee Road, in 1968.6

Key Features
Outram Road forms junctions with Tiong Bahru Road and Seng Poh Road. At the Outram flyover, it is linked to the Central Expressway.7

As Outram Road is situated near Chinatown, a popular tourist destination, the road has many hotels in its vicinity.8 For example, hotels located at the junction of Havelock Road and Outram Road include Copthorne King’s Hotel, Hotel Miramar, as well as Hotel Novotel Apollo Singapore (presently Furama RiverFront Hotel), which was built in 1972.9

Located at the junction of Outram Road and New Bridge Road is the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), which has been in operation since 1882.10 Within the grounds of SGH are the Health Sciences Authority, Health Promotion Board, National Dental Centre, National Cancer Centre, National Heart Centre, National Neuroscience Institute and Singapore National Eye Centre.11 Built in 1958, the former Institute of Health building is now a commercial property with 17,000 sq ft of the area housing an advertisement agency.12

Other buildings along Outram Road include the YWCA Outram Centre and Tan Boon Liat Building.13

Variant names
Si-pai po in both Hokkien and Cantonese, which means “sepoy plain”, a reference to the Sepoy Lines, police station and parade ground at one end of the road.14

Si-kha teng in Hokkien, which means “four-footed pavilion”. This refers to the pavilion in the cemetery adjoining the road which was known by this name.15


Naidu Ratnala Thulaja

1. Mighty Minds Street Directory (Singapore: Angel Publishing Pte Ltd., 2015), map 132A, 132C. (Call no. RSING 912.5957 MMSD)
2. Norman Edwards and Peter Keys, Singapore: A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places (Singapore: Times Books International, 1988), 472. (Call no. RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
3. Peter K. G. Dunlop, Street Names of Singapore (Singapore: Who’s Who Publishing, 2000), 232 (Call no. RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS]); Victor R. Savage and Brenda S. A. Yeoh, Singapore Street Names: A Study of Toponymics (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2013), 282. (Call no. RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
4. Alan Lim, “Making Way for the New in Outram Park,” Straits Times, 9 February 2000, 34 (From NewspaperSG); Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 339.
5. “Opening of Outram Road Government School,” Eastern Daily Mail and Straits Morning Advertiser, 27 February 1906, 3; Eisen Teo, “The School at Outram Road,” Straits Times, 13 March 2012, 15. (From NewspaperSG)
6. “History,” Outram Secondary School, accessed 8 May 2017.
7. Mighty Minds Street Directory, map 132.
8. Mighty Minds Street Directory, map 132A.
9. “Accor Will Manage Apollo Hotel,” Straits Times, 15 October 1999, 91 (From NewspaperSG); Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 336; Mighty Minds Street Directory, map 132A.
10. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 340–41.
11. “Clinical Specialities & Centres: Department & Centres Overview,” Singapore General Hospital, accessed 20 March 2017; “Contact Us,” Health Sciences Authority, accessed 20 March 2017; Mighty Minds Street Directory, map 132C.
12. Arthur Sim, “Retro Gets a Brand New Look,” Straits Times, 23 February 2002, 6. (From NewspaperSG)
13. Mighty Minds Street Directory, map 132A.
14. 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): 118–19. (Call no. RQUIK 959.5 JMBRAS)
15. Firmstone, “Chinese Names of Streets and Places,” 118–19.

The information in this article is valid as at October 2018 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.


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