A Little history of Shophouses
Shophouses are a part of Singapore’s colonial history, stretching all the back to the 18th century. As Singapore started to grow in the 1960s, many Shophouses were flattened for new developments. Understanding the importance of conserving some it’s heritage, the 1970s and the start of the 1980s saw a change in policy. State owned shophouses along Murray Street and Tudor Court were renovated and restored to their original state which brought with it a change in perception as to the value of these pre-war buildings.
The 1980s brought with it a renewed interest in preservation and conservation. A good example is the pedestrianisation of Emerald Hill Road in 1981. In 1986 the URA unveiled their Conservation Master Plan to renovate and restore Singapore’s historical areas. Starting with 9 Neil Road in 1987, it was a catalyst for increased restoration of Shophouses throughout the Tanjong Pagar precinct and other areas too.
Heading towards the late 1980s, over 3200 building were earmarked for conservation in 10 historical districts across Singapore. The districts were: Chinatown (Telok Ayer, Kreta Ayer, Tanjong Pagar and Bukit Pasoh), Little India, Kampong Glam, Singapore River (Boat Quay and Clarke Quay), Cairnhill and Emerald Hill.
To date, conservation status has been given to over 7000 buildings in more than 100 areas.