Published On: September 19, 2021- Last Updated: October 14, 2023- 7 min read-

Must see Monuments in Singapore – Part 1

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Singapore is one of the leading cities with forward-thinking infrastructure but the country is also known for preserving its culture and heritage today. Within the city, you can still find several Singapore monuments and artefacts that are kept alive since each of them hold a great historical significance to Singapore. However, not many people truly understand the meaning behind those monuments or artefacts.

Although they are of historical value, they were also chosen to symbolize the story of what Singapore has gone through and the better it has become.

You now have more places to add to your “Places in Singapore to visit’ list.

The Plaque of Anderson Bridge

The Anderson Bridge was first completed in 1910 and was named after Sir John Anderson who was, at that time, the High Commissioner for the Federal Malay States (1904-1911) and the Governor of the Straits Settlement. Located at the mouth of the Singapore River, the bridge connects Empress Place with Collyer Quay.

The history of its construction can be found back in 1901 when the Singapore River Commission proposed to build a new bridge to ease the traffic congestion on the South Bank of the Singapore River – Cavenagh Bridge. At that period of time, Cavenagh Bridge was the only bridge to facilitate trade and transportation. Rather than reconstruct the Cavenagh Bridge, the birth of Anderson Bridge came into place.

Anderson Bridge Singapore

The purpose of Anderson Bridge, therefore, allows Singapore to increase or improve its trade channel more efficiently. It was necessary to build a bridge to enable better access to the existing port island and to also illustrate Singapore’s development as a flourishing city.

Designed by a municipal engineer, Robert Pierce, Anderson Bridge was built with steelwork, manufactured from Britain and shipped to Singapore. The bridge stands tall at 204 feet (61.2m) with two pathways of 31 feet 6 inches (24.5m) wide. On the other hand, other components such as castings, railways, rainwater channels, gully frames, and covers were produced at the municipal workshops on River Valley Road.

Other materials such as red granite were imported from Aswan, Egypt. Apparently, the original design of the bridge also featured a pair of bronze lions but was removed due to economical reasons.

In 1987, the Anderson Bridge was refurbished to beautify the landscape of the Singapore River. Pushing forward to 2008, Anderson Bridge was also used as a part of a circuit in the Singapore Grand Prix. And in August 2019, Cavenagh, Anderson and Elgin Bridges were designated as a National Monument, becoming the three most historic and architectural marvels in Singapore.

To check out the Anderson Bridge, here is the address:

Address: Fullerton Rd, Singapore 049212

The Bronze Thai Elephant

In 1871, Thailand’s King Chulalongkorn made his first foreign visit to Singapore. No other monarchs have ever stepped foot outside of Thailand until King Chulalongkorn himself did, which is why he was categorised as a Modern King back then.

As a warm gesture, King Chulalongkorn gifted an elephant sculpture to the people of Singapore after his visit and tour around Singapore between 16 – 23 March 1871. He also felt immense gratitude for the hospitality he had received during his visit to Singapore.

Besides Singapore, the King continued his tour visiting Indonesia and other European countries in the total span of two years to learn advanced skills, culture, and technology for his country. This is so he can propel development and economic growth for his nation.

Singapore Monuments

Believe it or not, he was only 18 years of age when he began his tour. And his reputation still precedes him as he is still known to be Thailand’s Most Beloved King.

On the elephant statue, there are also inscriptions written in four different languages which are Siamese, Malay (in Jawi script), Chinese, and English. It reads, “His Majesty Somdetch Paramindr Maha Chulalongkorn, the Supreme King of Siam, landed at Singapore, the first foreign land visited by a Siamese Monarch on the 16th March, 1871”.

Back then, the statue was originally placed in front of the Victoria Memorial Hall in 1872, however, was later replaced with Stamford Raffles statue (the Founder of Modern Singapore) in 1919 for Singapore’s centenary celebrations. Meanwhile, the elephant statue was shifted and showcased in front of the Art House of the Old Parliament, where it remains proudly today.

To visit the Bronze Thai Elephant monument, here’s the address:

Address: 1 Old Parliament Ln 179429 Singapore

Phantom Pool

Remains of the River Valley Swimming Complex

In the early fifties, Singapore made plans to build public swimming pools for the people. In fact, there was a growing demand for public sports complexes in the city as more people spent most of their days outdoors. With that in mind, the Singapore City Council believed that having a swimming complex at King George V’s Park was wise and could be beneficial for the public.

With a green light, they proceeded to build the pool. The swimming complex was designed by a pool designer named Crocker and constructed for a total of $520,000. The pool served its purpose as an Olympic-sized pool and a wading pool. In August 1959, the swimming complex was officially opened to the public and was called River Valley Swimming Complex.

For a few years, River Valley did have a flock of people swimming and hanging out by the pool. You can even check out some old photos of River Valley being swamped with people, and the best part – the scene looked lively and cheerful. As the years passed by, the River Valley swimming complex seemed to lose its popularity.

Phantom Pool River Valley

Many believed that the rise of commercial development such as offices and shopping malls were the reason for the River Valley shortfall. Others said that the location of the River Valley Swimming Complex was not favourable to the community, as it was too far to visit the pool. After that, no one ever noticed that the pool even existed which led to the complex closure in April 2003.

In 2011, the swimming complex was knocked down to replace a car park for the district area. It’s unfortunate that the swimming complex was not refurbished to attain its once profound entertainment for people.

Address: 1 River Valley Rd, Singapore 179018.

The Old Gates to Nowhere

Singapore is a city of many contrasts and cultural differences, on the other hand, the country also has plenty of beautiful natural sceneries including a pocket full of lush greenery with little oddities. And the perfect example to prove that is the Old Gates to Nowhere at Jalan Selimang and the Hillview Gates.

If you’re as curious as Sherlock Holmes, you begin to wonder about the origin of the mysterious pair of old gates. What is the gate doing in the middle of nowhere? Was there a village or a house before? Why are these gates the only remnant left? So, we did a little research.

Based on numerous reports, the gate was the entrance to a grand seaside bungalow owned by a businessman named Chua Boon Peng (1918 – 2005). He was the chairman of Cycle & Carriage between 1957 to 1985. He was so rich and successful that he owned three properties in the city – Oei Tiong Ham Park, Sembawang, and the Hillview (the incomplete Hillview Mansion).

During 1985

The recession hit big in Southeast Asia. His company, Cycle & Carriage, began experiencing heavy losses, which only led to the collapse of his industry. Chua Boon Peng had no other choice but to liquidate many of his properties and step down from his position in the company.

Not only that, but along the coastline of Sembawang, there used to be a Malay settlement that consists of several villages. However, by the late eighties and early nineties, the site was acquired by the government and all the houses were subsequently demolished for urban planning needs.

Gates to nowhere SG

There are also reports or speculation about seeing spirits or ‘Pontianak’ around these neighbourhoods due to the unresolved conflicts faced between the villages and the government, as they were vacated out or shifted from their homes. Although these are only rumours, there is no way of knowing whether the spirits are actually there or not.

As of today, the premises remain empty except for the mysterious structure that stands till this day.

To check out the two mysterious gates to nowhere, here are the address:

Address: 53 Jln Mempurong, Singapore 759056 (The Mempurong Gate to Nowhere, near Sembawang)
Address: Jln Dermawan, Singapore (The Hillview Mansion, the only remnants left behind is the gate.)

There you have it, a little piece of Singapore History.

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