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Fascinating Stories Behind Bridges Along the Singapore River

March 30, 2021
Singapore bridges

The heart of many cities has a gently flowing mighty river. The iconic river of the popular island city-state, Singapore, is the Singapore River and several historic bridges span the river. The bridges along the Singapore river connect the Clarke Quay to Boat Quay; Civic District to the Commercial District; and many more. National Heritage Board gazetted three of the most architecturally sound bridges like the Elgin Bridge, Cavenagh Bridge, and Anderson Bridge as the seventy-third National Monument of Singapore.

Here are some interesting stories about the bridges along the island city-state. 

Elgin Bridge of Singapore 

Elgin Bridge

Even though the Elgin Bridge was opened to the public in 1929 in its finished concrete form, it dates back to 1819 when Sir Stamford Raffles visited the shores of Singapore. It is one of the oldest bridges in Singapore which was a simple wooden footbridge in the beginning. Elgin Bridge was the only bridge to cross the Singapore River during ancient times. It linked the Indians on the North bank and Chinese on the South bank. 

Singapore then replaced the bridge with a simple and temporary wooden drawbridge known as Presentment Bridge or Jackson Bridge. Singaporeans also used to call it as the Monkey Bridge affectionately. People needed monkey-like energy to get through the narrow bridge in a crowd. Later, they installed an iron bridge in its place in 1862. It was named after the eighth Earl of Elgin as well as the Governor-General of India - James Bruce. They concreted the final version of Elgin Bridge. Later a famous Italian sculptor named Cavaliere Rudolfo Nolli created cast-iron lamps to decorate the bridge.

Cavenagh Bridge 

Cavenagh Bridge of Singapore

Cavenagh Bridge is the oldest bridge in the island city-state that exists in its original form. It is the only suspension bridge that links the Civic District on the Northern bank to the Commercial District on the Southern bank of the Singapore River. The bridge was built back in 1869, and it was originally named as Edinburgh Bridge after the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh. It was later named after Orfeur Cavenagh, the last India-appointed Governor of the Straits Settlement. There was no entry for As per the vintage police vehicles, cattle and horses as per the vintage police notices.

Read Bridge 

Read Bridge of Singapore

Read Bridge, completed in 1889, is located at the heart of Clarke Quay, and it stands there with some great tales to tell. It is named after William Henry Macleod Read, who was a prominent figure in Singapore and Consul to the Netherlands during that time. The Bridge also called Malacca Bridge because of its closeness to Kampong Malacca at Merchant Road. People also used to call it the Green Bridge because of its colour during that period. But above all that, it was called The Bridge since it was a popular meeting and drinking spot for night partygoers, and several labourers used to listen to Teochew storytellers there.  

Alkaff Bridge 

Alkaff Bridge of Singapore

The kaleidoscopic Alkaff Bridge in Singapore opened in 1999 gets its name from a well-known Arab family. It is a tongkang-shaped pedestrian bridge, and the major highlight of the bridge is that it is visible from far because of its vibrant colours. These colours gave the bridge another name - Singapore Art Bridge. A team of rope pros and a Philippino artist named Pacita Abad painted these colourful hue stripes on the bridge in 2004, and it is in fifty-five different shades. Alkaff Bridge is one of the most popular spots in Singapore, especially for the Instagram money shot.

Anderson Bridge

This popular vehicular bridge gets its name of Sir John Anderson - the Governor of the Straits Settlements and High Commissioner for the Federated Malay States then. It is located in the Downtown Core Planning Area of Singapore’s Central Asia. The bridge was officially opened on 12th March 1910 and has a pathological past. Soldiers hung severed heads of criminals and spies on the Anderson bridge. The exterior of this famous bridge looks like something taken out of a dystopian flick.

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Take time off your busy schedule to visit Singapore’s historic bridges along the Singapore River. Sighting these bridges after learning about the fascinating history behind them would surely be a unique experience.

Let Sendhelper take care of your household chores - cleaning, cooking, laundry, aircon & handyman. Use your free time to explore our island-city-state and marvel at its rich history.

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