Ann Siang Hill
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Ann Siang Hill (Chinese: 安祥山) is a small hill, and the name of a one-way road located in Chinatown, Singapore. It was named after Chia Ann Siang, a wealthy businessman. The road links Club Street and Ann Siang Road (安祥路) to South Bridge Road.
Ann Siang Road connects Ann Siang Hill to Kadayanallur Street.
Etymology and history
Ann Siang Hill, located off South Bridge Road, was the site of the house and estate of Chia Ann Siang (谢安祥; 1832–1892), a wealthy Malacca-born Hokkien Chinese sawmiller. Chia joined British firm Boustead and Company (now known as Boustead Singapore today) in 1848. The company traded in natural resources, spices, coconut, tobacco, tin, tea and silk. Boustead's ships plied the China-Europe routes in the early days. After eight years on the job, Chia was promoted to chief produce storekeeper. He retired in 1890 after over 40 years of service in the company, and went into the timber business. He also became a partner of the firm Geok Teat and Company in 1863. After he became a wealthy landowner and one of the leading merchants of his time, he acquired both Ann Siang Hill and Mount Erskine.
Before Chia bought the area, the hill was known as Gemmill's Hill after John Gemmill, a merchant and former auctioneer, and before that Scott's Hill, after its original owner Charles Scott, who cultivated nutmegs and cloves in the area.
The foot of the area between Ann Siang Hill and Mount Erskine, where South Bridge Road meets Neil Road and Tanjong Pagar Road (the site of the Metropole Theatre, now the Fairfield Methodist Church), was one of the earliest Cantonese Chinese burial grounds. The graveyard was in use up to 1867, exhumed in 1907 and part of the area, together with Mount Wallich, used for the Telok Ayer reclamation project.
The Chinese used to call this area qing shan ting. The early Chinese immigrants visited Ann Siang Hill when they wanted to send money home to their families in China, as it was the traditional site of remittance houses. Letter writers and calligraphers also had their businesses at the five-foot way of the shophouses to help the illiterate immigrants write letters home.
Most of the houses in Ann Siang Hill and along Ann Siang Road were built between 1903 and 1941. Ann Siang Road, which has elegantly restored shophouses today, was once the traditional home of clan associations and exclusive social clubs.
- Victor R Savage, Brenda S A Yeoh (2004), Toponymics - A Study of Singapore Street Names, Eastern University Press, ISBN 981-210-364-3
- National Heritage Board (2006), Discover Singapore - Heritage Trails, ISBN 981-05-6433-3
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