History of Tanjong Pagar
Tanjong Pagar is one of the historic districts of Singapore. It is situated in the downtown southern part of central Singapore. The former exclusively fishing village has transformed to become the lively business and commercial town it is today.
Formerly known as Salinter, Tanjong Pagar is a term in the Malay language that implies “cape of stakes”. The name was inspired by the fishing that used to happen here. Other explanations suggest that the name came about due to the presence of kelong constructed along the coast running from Tanjong Malang to the present day Tanjong Pagar. Kelongs are fishing traps made using wooden stakes and cross pieces.
In the 1600s, an area situated between the town and the docks was home to thousands of Indian and Chinese dock workers. Lots of traffic happened between the docks and the town which made Tanjong Pagar a profitable ground for rickshaw pullers. Due to the prevalence of rickshaw pullers in the area, the government developed Jinricksha Station at the intersection of Neil Road and Tanjong Pagar Road. Tanjong Pagar became a significant transportation node with the construction of Jinrikisha Station, which was the main depot for rickshaws. Rickshaws were an important transportation means that facilitated the commercial activities between the town and the docks then.
In 1932, the government developed the Singapore railway station later renamed to Tanjong Pagar Railway Station on reclaimed land along Keppel Road. The station became a critical link allowing trains to access the Malayan hinterland.
Towards the end of the 19th century, lots of transformations happened in Tanjong Pagar, making it more urbanized. Hill like Mount Palmer and Mount Wallich were levelled, and roads enhancing access to the town were developed, and residential and commercial properties increased in the area. The areas around Tanjong Pagar, Anson, Raffles Places Cecil, Maxwell, Clifford Pier and Philip formed the planning zones of the CBD within the Downtown Core Planning Area.
Around the 1980s, Tanjong Pagar was gazetted through the government’s conservation plan. It was the first area of Singapore to be gazetted. Upon the completion of the conservation project, many shophouses in the area were restored to their original looks. A few traces of the old Tanjong Pagar including the odd street cobble and the old swimming pool still stand in the area. However, the present-day Tanjong Pagar doesn’t resemble the early Tanjong Pagar. It has changed to become a fashionable district with flourishing businesses such as restaurants, bars, and cafes.
The future of Tanjong Pagar is promising. There are plans under the Greater Southern Waterfront project that will transform the area to become about 3 times the size of Marina Bay. The preliminary conceptual plan by The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) under the drat Master Plan includes 30 km stretch of waterfront promenade that links Gardens by the Bay and Labrador Park. Also, a new reservoir will be developed between Tanjong Pagar and the offshore island alongside new commercial and residential districts along the coastline.