Ellenborough Market

Singapore Infopedia


Ellenborough Market, market and trading centre in Ellenborough Street by the Singapore River, located in the Central Region of Singapore. It was named after Ellenborough, Lord, the Governor-General of India (1841-1844). The original Ellenborough Market was first built in 1845 but was later extended with another structure by its side in 1899. Fire gutted the market in 1968, and the building was demolished sometime later.

While Ellenborough Street was being laid, construction of the first Ellenborough Market began in May 1845, built by Captain Charles Edward Faber. In April 1846, he was criticised for the bad construction, as cracks in several places were found on the walls of this new market. A cast iron structure from an Edinburgh (Scotland) exhibition was purchased in its entirety. It was dismantled and reconstructed as a building extension in 1899, set up by the side of the original market. Both were open-sided buildings.

The Malays called it Pasar Bahru meaning "New Market". Teochews populated the area, and as a result, the market was nicknamed "Teochew Market", and nearby hawker-stalls specialised in well-known Teochew food. It was a wet market noted for its fresh fish and dried seafood products. A fire destroyed the Ellenborough Market on 30 January 1968 resulting in the loss of approximately S$253,000 and affecting 1000 hawkers and stall-holders. The remains of the market were demolished sometime later, and Housing Development Board flats were constructed on the site in the early 1970s.

Ellenborough Street and Fish Street by the Singapore River, were on either side of the Ellenborough Market.

Variant names
Malay name: Pasar Bahru in Malay means "New Market".
Chinese names: 
(1) In Hokkien, Sin Pa Sat Khau meaning "The mouth of the New Market".
(2) In Hokkien, Sin Pa-sat Pi, or in Cantonese, San Pa-sat Pin meaning "Beside the New Market".


Vernon Cornelius

Charles Burton Buckley, An Anecdotal History of Old Times in Singapore (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1984), 430, 441, 452. (Call no. RSING 959.57 BUC-[HIS])

Ray Tyers and Siow Jin Hua, Ray Tyers’ Singapore: Then & Now (Singapore: Landmark Books, 1993), 20–21. (Call no. RSING 959.57 TYE-[HIS])

Walter Makepeace, Gilbert E. Brooke and Roland St. J. Braddell, One Hundred Years of Singapore, vol. 1 (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1991), 20–21, 333. (Call no. RSING 959.57 ONE-[HIS])

Further resources

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): 86, 88. (Call no. RQUIK 959.5 JMBRAS)

Mubin Sheppard, ed., Singapore 150 Years (Singapore: Times Books Internationa, 1982). (Call no. RSING 959.57 SIN)

“Plan to Help 1,000 Hawkers,” Straits Times, 5 May 1975. 10. (From Factiva via NLB’s eResources website)

Singapore Year Book (Singapore: Government Printing Office, 1966–1970), 224. (Call no.: RCLOS 959.57 SIN)

The information in this article is valid as of 1999 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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