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THE SINGAPORE STORY
Sir Stamford Raffles had his residence built at Fort Canning in 1823. It was also here that Singapore's first botanical garden was established in the same year. In 1824, the Raffles’ residence was extended and redesigned to be used by other residents and Governors of Singapore as the Government House, hence the location gained the name Government Hill.
By 1859, the absence of harbour defence led to the hill being used for a military role. The governor's residence was demolished, and a fort with an arms store, barracks and a hospital were built. The fort was completed in 1861, and was named Fort Canning after Viscount Charles John Canning, who was then Governor-General and the first Viceroy of India.
However, the fort could not serve its intended purpose and was demolished in 1907, leaving behind the gateway of the fort and two nine-pound cannons. The area eventually became known as Central Park in 1972 when the land previously used by the British armed forces was combined with King George V Jubilee Park.
The park was subsequently renamed Fort Canning Park on 1 November 1981 by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, and converted into a historical park.
The mouth of the Singapore River was the old Port of Singapore, and the city of Singapore initially grew around the port where the river mouth was once the centre of trade, commerce and finance.
Bumboats once dotted the Singapore River and Clarke Quay, Boat Quay and Robertson Quay generated trade and extensive demand for services with the boats that docked at the quays. Shophouses and warehouses flourished around the quays but presently house various bars, pubs, restaurants and old shops.
When Sir Stamford Raffles landed in Singapore in 1819, he called for the north bank to be drained for government buildings. Since then, there was heavy traffic on the Singapore River due to rapid urbanization and expanding trade. This also brought about much water pollution caused by the disposal of garbage by street hawkers and vegetable whole sellers, waste from pig and duck farms, sewage and other by-products of industries located along the river banks. Waste, oil spills and wastewater from the boats and lighters on the river worsened the water pollution.
In 1977, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew called for a clean up of Singapore's rivers, which included the Singapore River and the Kallang River. The clean up cost the government $300 million and involved a relocation of about 4,000 squatters, hawkers and vegetable sellers.
Today, the river is part of the Marina Reservoir after it was dammed up at the river mouth to create a new reservoir of fresh water. The dam is known as Marina Barrage. Singapore River's economic role has shifted away from one of trade, to tourism and aesthetics for the nearby commercial zone.
[What if you could own a piece of this history?]
Two of Singapore’s most renown developers - CDL and CapitaLand present to you Canninghill Piers & Canninghill Square, an integrated development comprising 2 towers of 696 residences that comes with a mall, direct access to the Fort Canning MRT station, serviced apartments and a hotel. This development will take the site of the former Liang Court, which is nicely nestled between Fort Canning Hill and the Singapore River. The 48-storey (180 metres tall) residential tower facing the riverside will be the tallest residential development along the Singapore River, while the 24-storey residential tower overlooking the Fort Canning Hill stands at 100 metres tall. The 2 towers are connected by an iconic sky bridge at level 24, filled with a wide range of facilities such as the Sky Gym, Infinity Lap Pool, Sky Gourmet, Flexi Lounge and Function Room offering unobstructed views of the Singapore River, Fort Canning Hill, CBD area, Marina Bay and beyond. With an iconic landmark like this, CDL and CapitaLand are inviting you to create new history for our future generations.
The Singapore Story continues.
Would you like to ink the next chapter?
Pen me a message if you’d like to make history.
P.S. You don’t have to be a Historian for this.
Senior Marketing Director
ERA Realty Network Pte Ltd