Padang, Singapore River Bridges to be gazetted as national monuments

Padang, Singapore River Bridges to be gazetted as national monuments

The National Heritage Board (NHB) intends to gazette the Padang and the Singapore River Bridges as national monuments, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Aug 3, 2019. This will also accord these sites with the “highest level of preservation in view of their national significance”.

SINGAPORE: The National Heritage Board (NHB) intends to gazette the Padang and the Singapore River Bridges as national monuments, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Saturday (Aug 3).

Mr Heng made the announcement to commemorate the nation’s bicentennial this year, “in light of the significance that the Singapore River Bridges and the Padang have to our growth and development as a nation”, said NHB in a news release.

This will also accord these sites with the “highest level of preservation in view of their national significance”, it added.

Singapore currently has 72 national monuments, including the Istana, Esplanade Park Memorials and Raffles Hotel.

READ: Conserving Singapore's built heritage: What it takes to keep the old while building the new

The Padang is one of the oldest open spaces in Singapore for public recreation, NHB said, and has been a commemorative space for people to gather and participate in key milestones of Singapore’s history.

old padang
The Padang was the venue for Singapore's first National Day Parade in 1966. (Photo: Facebook/Grace Fu)

The Padang has borne witness to key events throughout Singapore’s history, including the swearing-in of Singapore’s first President Yusof Ishak in 1959.

Several National Day Parades, including the first in August 1966, were held at the Padang as well.

The venue is bordered by other national monuments such as the Cenotaph, former Supreme Court and Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall.

READ: Singapore identifies 50 intangible cultural heritage elements in step towards UNESCO listing

The Singapore River Bridges – which consist of the Cavenagh, Anderson and Elgin bridges – will be collectively gazetted as they are “the three most historic and architecturally impressive bridges spanning the Singapore River”, said NHB.

“Apart from the vital role they played in Singapore’s growth as a trading port and city, the Singapore River bridges represent the progression of engineering technology in bridge construction from the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries,” NHB added.

Cavenagh Bridge was completed and opened in 1869
Cavenagh Bridge, the oldest surviving bridge across the Singapore River, was completed and opened in 1869. (Photo: National Heritage Board)

Elgin Bridge is the site of the first footbridge to be built in Singapore in the 1820s
Elgin Bridge is the site of the first footbridge to be built in Singapore in the 1820s. The present bridge was rebuilt and opened in 1929. (Photo: National Heritage Board)

“The Padang and the Singapore River bridges have been pivotal to Singapore’s early years,” said Ms Jean Wee, director of the Preservation of Sites and Monuments division at NHB.

“Both these impending gazettes will contribute to the architectural and cultural diversity of our nation’s built heritage and together with our 72 other national monuments, preserve and celebrate the many places and stories that define Singapore and our people,” she added.

Source: CNA

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