Meet Hajijah and Boon Tat: 10 Singapore roads named after someone's grandmother or grandfather


SINGAPORE - There are relatively few roads in Singapore named after women.

A count of the entries in Singapore Street Names: A Study Of Toponymics, a 2013 book by Victor Savage and Brenda Yeoh, found only about 40 of these names, compared with at least 540 roads named after men.

Here's a look at 10 interesting streets in Singapore named after men or women:


1. Alexandra Road

Laid out in 1864 to connect River Valley Road with Pasir Panjang, the road was named after Queen Alexandra, consort to King Edward VII. She was born in Denmark in 1844 and died in Britain in 1925 at the age of 80.

2. Jalan Hajijah

The road off Upper East Coast Road was the site of a Malay kampung named after its founder, Madam Hajijah, who bought land in the area and built the original Kampung Siglap Mosque. The kampung lasted until the 1980s.

3. Da Silva Lane

This lane near Florence Road in Upper Serangoon takes its name from Bertha da Silva, maiden name Reutens, who lived there, according to Singapore Eurasians, a 1992 book.

4. Eng Neo Avenue

Heavy traffic along Eng Neo Road. PHOTO: ST FILE

This road became a public road only in 1976 and took its name from Madam Tan Eng Neo, the widow of businessman Gaw Boon Chan. She became the administrator of his estate at present-day Dunearn Road, after he was murdered in 1911. She was buried in Bukit Brown Chinese Cemetery.

5. Evelyn Road

The Evelyn here refers to Lady Evelyn, wife of Sir Arthur Young (1854-1938), the Governor of the Straits Settlement from 1911 to 1919. She was known as Lady Evelyn Anne Kennedy before their marriage in 1885.

SPH Brightcove Video
Most people probably pass by Florence Road in Kovan without a second look, but to playwright Desmond Sim the road is special - after all, you can call it his great grandmother’s road.


6. Andrew Road

A two-storey detached house at No 10 Andrew Road. PHOTO: CREDO REAL ESTATE

This is named after Sir Andrew Caldecott, who served as acting Governor of the Straits Settlements and Colonial Secretary in the 1930s.

Caldecott Hill was also named after him, while Olive Road was christened after his wife, Lady Olive.

7. Boon Tat Street

The junction of Boon Tat Street and Robinson Road allows pedestrians to cross in any direction, including diagonally. PHOTO: ST FILE

This street in the Raffles Place area used to be called Japan Street, but was renamed in 1945, following the Japanese Occupation, after Singapore-born businessman Ong Boon Tat (1888-1941), a former Municipal Commissioner.

Ong ran the New World amusement park in Jalan Besar. He expanded the business of his father Ong Sam Leong and owned brickworks, sawmills and rubber estates.

8. Havelock Link/Road

Vehicles heading towards the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantry at Havelock Road on Jun 12, 2014. PHOTO: ST FILE

These roads in Tiong Bahru honoured the memory of British General Henry Havelock (1795-1857), who died of dysentery during the Indian Mutiny of 1857 in Lucknow, India, at age 62.

He was known especially for recapturing Cawnpore in India from the rebels during the mutiny.

This British hero has a statute in London's Trafalgar Square and roads named after him in countries including India, Britain and New Zealand.

9. Jalan Afifi

This road off Paya Lebar Road was named in 1952 after the late Shail Yahya Afifi, a former Municipal Commissioner.

10. Namly Avenue

A row of landed properties, in the past, along Namly Avenue. PHOTO: ST FILE

This is but one of a series of street names (others include Namly Close and Namly View) in Bukit Timah named after Ceylonese Tamil surveyor Arumugam Annamalai Pillai, who died in 1924.

He came to Singapore in 1882 from Jaffna and became a rich landowner. As the British government found his full name too long, it was shortened to Namly instead.

Annamalai was a loyal supporter of the British monarchy. It is perhaps fitting then that roads in his large estate in Bukit Timah were named after the royal family, for example, Kings and Queens Road.

Source: Singapore Street Names: A Study Of Toponymics, Singapore Infopedia

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.