How Do Roads in Singapore Get Their Names?

14 June 2016

Ever wondered how Singapore streets are named?

Maybe the road on your address has significant history behind it or is part a larger group of roads with a similar theme. We bring you a selection of some of the interesting street names in Singapore. 


Named after British royalty

Several areas in Singapore bear streets with names that link back to the island’s colonial history. You’ve probably heard of Empress Place, Queen Street, and Victoria Street. But the area between Tan Kah Kee and Farrer Road MRT stations also have several “royalty” roads such as Prince of Wales Road, Princess of Wales, Duke Road, Duchess Road, and more.

Plus, the shopping haven Bugis Street actually has walking pedestrians named Princess Street and Prince Street. We imagine these were actual street before they made the place into what it is today, with Queen Street nearby. 


Named after England counties

The likes of Oxford Road, Norfolk Road, Cambridge Road, Gloucester Road, Hampshire Road and many others are also found in Farrer Park. 

Within the same vicinity, street names with European traces (Dunlop Street, Cuff Street, Dickson Street, and Clive Street) are a reminder of the “families who once used these streets as private access lanes” (according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority).


Named after places in London 

Don’t be surprised to find Piccadilly Circus, Edgware Road, Regent Street Sussex Gardens, and Brompton Road in Singapore! They’re located near the Seletar Airbase. 


Named after Commonwealth countries 

Up north in Sembawang, you’ll find roads with the Commonwealth connection such as Montreal Road, Auckland Road, Malta Road and Fiji Road. (You’ll also see some of the gorgeous colonial “black and white” bungalows around here.) 

But perhaps, Canberra Road is the most well known among the lot as it stretches well into the rest of Sembawang, and an upcoming MRT station in the area will also be named after the Australian capital. 


Named after trees 

Many roads mark the trees that the area is known for like Jalan Tembusu, Cedar Avenue, and Angsana Avenue. 


Named after fruits

Why stop there? Tropical fruits are also used to name streets. In Joo Chiat, we’ve got Rambutan Road, Chiku Road, Duku Road, Mangis Road (purple mangosteen in Malay) and Lorong Nangka (jackfruit in Malay). 

And over at Tanah Merah, you’ll find roads in reference to the Lime fruit (limau in Malay) — Jalan Limau Nipis, Jalan Limau Manis, Jalan Limau Purut, Jalan Limau Bali, Limau Walk, Limau Rise, and Limau Garden.


Named after Mother Nature

Some roads in Bukit Panjang have names in Malay that reflect the time of day and the weather; Senja (dusk), Fajar (dawn), Petir (lightning), even Segar (fresh). 


Named after nuts

And not too far from that, another Bukit Panjang area is named after these nuts; hazel, chestnut, cashew, and almond. 


Named after flowers

Near the upcoming Mattar MRT station, nature continues to inspire road names with Jalan Melor and Jalan Melati (jasmine in Malay), Jalan Anggerik (orchid in Malay) and Jalan Raya (which we assume is named after the hibiscus — Bunga Raya in Malay). 


Named after Malaysian states 

Interestingly, there are roads in Singapore named after Malacca, Pahang, Penang, Perak, and Trengganu, which are all states in Malaysia. 


Named after places in Myanmar

A little area in Balestier bears names with ties to our South-east Asian neighbour — Irrawaddy Road, Mandalay Road, and even Rangoon Road not too far away. We wonder if the Burmese Buddhist Temple (located a few minutes away) might have anything to do with it. 


Named after cities in the Middle East and Central Asia

How Do Roads in Singapore Get Their Names?

But we do know that the roads in Kampong Glam are named to acknowledge the influence of the early Arab migrants who lived there — Muscat Street, Baghdad Street and Kandahar Street (pictured).


Named after poets

Bet you didn’t know there’s an area near the upcoming Lentor MRT station which is named after poets of different languages. Try to spot Iqbal Avenue, Li Avenue, Omar Khayyam Avenue, Munshi Abdullah Avenue, and Tagore Avenue, among others. In fact, there’s an industrial estate nearby with roads that are entirely named after the famous Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore.


Named after theatre shows

What do Swan Lake, Fidelio, Tosca, Carmen and Figaro have in common? Yes, they are all part of wonderful theatre productions we love but they are also road names in Siglap! They even threw in a local touch with Jalan Bangsawan (a type of traditional Malay opera or theatre). Love it!


For more info behind how the streets and places in Singapore got their names, visit this link


By Muneerah Bee, June 2016



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