What's so special about the Padang, Cavenagh Bridge, Anderson Bridge and Elgin Bridge?

(Clockwise from top left) The Padang and the Cavenagh, Anderson and Elgin Bridges will be gazetted as national monuments. PHOTOS: ST FILE, LIANHE ZAOBAO

The Padang as well as three bridges along the Singapore River will soon be added to the Republic's stable of national monuments.

A national monument gazette is the highest form of recognition for a structure or site's significance. Evaluation factors include its historical, architectural and social importance to Singapore's built heritage.

Here are some reasons why they have made the cut.

Cavenagh Bridge, 1869

Named after Sir William Orfeur Cavenagh, the governor of the Straits Settlements at that time, it is the oldest surviving bridge across the Singapore River.

The cast iron structure was manufactured and shipped from Glasgow, Scotland.

Some key features of the bridge include steel plates emblazoned with the engineers' names as well as the Cavenagh family crest.

Anderson Bridge, 1909

Opened in 1910 - a year after its completion - the bridge was built to supplement the capacity of Cavenagh Bridge which was struggling to cope with increased vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

It was named after Sir John Anderson, the governor of the Straits Settlements and high commissioner of the Federated Malay States who was also involved in the construction of the Victoria Memorial Hall.

The National Heritage Board notes that its design bears close resemblance to the old Victoria Bridge over the Brisbane River.

Elgin Bridge, 1929

This structure was built on the site of the first footbridge (dating back to the 1820s) to be ever constructed in Singapore. Other bridges followed over the years before Elgin Bridge as it stands today, was erected in 1929. It was built higher to accommodate lighters and tongkangs (river boats) passing through.

The bridge was named after Lord James Bruce Elgin, Governor General of India from 1862 to 1863.

The construction was hailed as an engineering achievement in Singapore because its foundation had to be sunk to a depth of 80 feet below water due to soil conditions.

The Padang

The wide, open green space that is the Padang came into official existence around 1822, when the British formed a flattened field on the site.

Today, the site is occupied by the Singapore Recreation Club and the Singapore Cricket Club. It also plays host to National Day Parades.

The Padang was used as a space for nationalist parades, rallies and protests such as two Indian National Army parades in 1943 and a Chinese community victory rally in September, 1945, celebrating the Japan's defeat in China.

National Heritage Board; Biblioasia; Melody Zaccheus

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