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Maxwell Road
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Murray Street
Nankin Street
Neil Road
New Bridge Road
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Pagoda Street
Park Road
Pickering Street
Sago Lane
Sago Street
Smith Street
South Bridge Road
Stanley Street
Tanjong Pagar Road
Teck Lim Road
Telok Ayer Street
Temple Street
Teo Hong Road
Tras Street
Trengganu Street
Upper Cross Street
Pickering Street map | list | print
Heritage Marker SB29 - Coffin Street
Pickering Street
 
 
 
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Heritage Marker SB29 - Coffin Street
Learn more about Chinatown's rich history by visiting our Heritage Markers. Installed at places of historical significance around Chinatown, each plaque provides a short history of the location in three languages - English, Simplified Chinese and Japanese.

Pickering Street, originally known as Macao Street, was named after the many Hakka immigrants from Macao that settled on this street. Its name was later changed to Pickering Street in honour of William Pickering, the first Head of the Chinese Protectorate.

Owing to many coffin makers found along the roadside of this street, it was also commonly known as "Coffin Street". It is believed that the label could have been largely derived from a well-known casket hall, Ang Chin Huat.

In 1952-53, the Singapore Improvement Trust built a number of apartment blocks here. At the time, these nine-storey blocks of flats were the highest in Singapore. However, a series of suicides from these flats tarnished their reputation, and stories of restless souls haunting the area abounded. The Chinese called the street "Tiao Lou Jie", meaning "the street where people jump to their deaths". With little sensitivity to the tragedies, the coffin makers saw a commercial opportunity and set up shops.

The street had other popular names. As the former Central Police Station was situated here, the Chinese called it "Bo Li Ma Tah Chu" or the Police Station in town. It was common to see inmates from the police station begging passers-by and workers of nearby businesses for help to buy goodies from coffee shops, or to help them contact friends and family to bail them out.
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