China town

Singapore’s Chinatown is known as Niu che shui which literally means ‘ox car water’

This is due to the fact that Chinatown’s water supply was principally transported by animal-driven carts in the 19th century.

We’ve entered Chinatown via Pagoda street, a hectic, shop and restaurant lined thoroughfare.

Pagoda street takes its name from the Sri Mariamman Temple that we’ll visit later. During the 1850s and 1880s, the street was one of the centres of slave traffic

Now however it’s a place to browse for souvenirs, eat and hunt for wall art.

By the 1950s, the shophouses here were mainly involved in retail trade and services.

The architecture of the shophouses on Pagoda Street and other parts of Chinatown originates from the Raffles Town Plan of 1822.

This stipulated the material that should be used to build the shophouses as well as the need to have covered walkways of five-foot width (hence known as “five-foot ways”.

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