District 06 - Beach Rd, High Street
Before Orchard Road started flourishing as the main shopping district in Singapore, popular shopping destinations like Beach Road, High Street and City Hall of District 06 satisfied the shopping needs of Singaporeans. Now an eclectic mix of historical monuments, shopping hotspots, hotels, clubs and bars remain in the district.
Beach Road acquired its name because it was a coastal road fronting the sea coast during the early settlement of the British colonials. It was one of the early roads developed in Singapore and was illustrated in George Drumgoole Coleman’s 1836 Map of Singapore. Up until the 1870s and 1880s, the sea reached up to Beach Road. At the time, seaside villas stood majestically in the area just like Stamford Raffles envisaged when he laid out his 1822 Town Plan. Raffles had planned for Beach Road to be the home of European merchants. 20 such buildings were built by the year 1825, earning the place the name ji chap keng or “Twenty House Street” in Chinese. One of the houses was bought over by the Sarkies brothers from the house owner W.R. George and was converted into the Raffles Hotel. One by one, the 20 houses each turned into hostels and restaurants to cater to the flow of travellers by the 1880s. Here, the Singapore Cricket Club was born. There used to be a sandy beach in front of Raffles Hotel and the water would come up over on Beach Road at high tide but the land has since been reclaimed. Land reclamation first began alongside Beach Road in 1843 to build the Alhambra and Marlborough Cinemas, a police station, the Singapore Volunteer Corps Headquarters and Drill Hall. In the 1880s, more land was reclaimed, costing Beach Road its original beach frontage entirely. Nicoll Highway, Marina Square and Suntec City were built over the years on the reclaimed land, pushing Beach Road even further inland. There are a number of landmarks in Beach Road including the Golden Mile Complex and Golden Mile Tower, Golden Mile Food Centre, Masjid Hajjah Fatimah, Saint John Headquarters, The Concourse, Parkroyal on Beach Road, Raffles Hotel, Fairmont Singapore, Civilian War Memorial and War Memorial Park, The Gateway and others.
In 1821, manual convict labourers constructed High Street, the first street built in Singapore. It began from the foot of Fort Canning and ran down to the sea. It was not prone to flooding as it was located on high topographical ground. High Street was the place to be for shopping right until the 1970s. The oldest buildings in the country such as the original Parliament House, Attorney-General’s Chambers and old Supreme Court Building still stand there today. High Street used to be filled family businesses, dealing with retail or import/export trading activities until the 1970s. One of the famous landmarks in High Street, High Street Centre is a leasehold commercial/residential tower located along North Bridge Road, in the Central Business District.
Gazetted on 14th February 1992 as a national monument in Singapore, the City Hall was designed and built by architects of the municipal government, A. Gordans and F.D. Meadows from 1926 to 1929. It is situated in front of the historical Padang and is beside the Supreme Court of Singapore. Formerly known as the Municipal Building until 1951, when Singapore was granted city status by King George VI. Nearby, the vibrant City Hall MRT Station, Raffles City Shopping Centre and underground CityLink Mall bustle with activity every day.