Thomson Road, Singapore

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Thomson Road towards the city centre.
Thomson Road beneath Lornie Viaduct, near the Braddell Road junction.
Thomson Road beneath Lornie Viaduct.

Thomson Road (Chinese: 汤申路, Malay: Jalan Thomson) is a major trunk road linking Singapore's central business district with the northern suburban areas. The road is named after John Turnbull Thomson, a Scotsman who was the Government Surveyor and Chief Engineer of the Straits Settlements from 1841 to 1853 and who helped build many roads into the interior of Singapore beyond the core of the city centre in the south.[1]

It was known to the Chinese as Chia Chui Kang, literally meaning "freshwater stream" in reference to the Kallang River which crosses the road in its upper reaches near the traditional core area of present-day Ang Mo Kio. Thus, it was also known as Ang Kio Tau, meaning "head of the red bridge", the same bridge which may have given Ang Mo Kio its name. It also had a Tamil name, Thanir Pilei Sadakku, literally meaning "water-pipe street".


The present day Thomson Road begins at a major road junction with Keng Lee Road, Kampong Java Road, Cavenagh Road and Norfolk Road, and leads northwards through the Novena residential area. It passes by Toa Payoh before continuing on as Upper Thomson Road at the junction with Braddell Road and Lornie Road. It skims along the western edge of Bishan and Ang Mo Kio, then cuts through relatively undeveloped areas until it reaches the junction with Mandai Road, where it continues northwards via Sembawang Road. It is also the site of Saint Joseph Institution International, Ministry of Youth and many more. This road also is affected with the North-South Expressway construction.


The Thomson Road connected the city centre to the former British Naval Base at Seletar. The road was originally known as Thomson Road till the 9th mile, after which the name was Seletar Road (for no apparent reason). This resulted in confusion as the British naval and air bases, were then both known as Seletar. In response to this, parts of the road were renamed in 1939. It was determined that the road would be called Thomson Road till the Yio Chu Kang junction, whereupon it was to become Upper Thomson Road till the Mandai Road junction. From the Mandai Road junction till the sea, it was named as Sembawang Road. The name Seletar Road was dropped.[2] In 1959, the Singapore rural board renamed the stretch of road from the junction of Braddell and Thomson Roads to the junction of Mandai and Sembawang Roads, as Upper Thomson Road.[3]

See also[edit]


  • Peter K G Dunlop (2000) Street Names of Singapore Who's Who Publishing ISBN 981-4062-11-1


  1. ^ Davies, Donald (9 January 1955). "THE MAN WHO WENT TO DINNER". The Straits Times. p. 12 – via NewspaperSG. 
  2. ^ "NEW NAMES FOR ROADS". The Straits Times. 14 February 1939. p. 14 – via NewspaperSG. 
  3. ^ "New names for two Singapore roads". The Straits Times. 23 April 1959. p. 5 – via NewspaperSG.