Elgin bridge is said to have existed long as early as 1819, the year when Sir Stanford Raffles landed in Singapore. Then, it was just a footbridge to link the Chinese merchants on the southern side of the Singapore River to the Indian traders on the northern side.
That explains the reason why the two roads leading to the Elgin Bridge were named North Bridge Road and South Bridge road accordingly. Sitting on either side of the bridge is Clark Quay, and the Boat Quay.
There’s an interesting history of how the bridge becomes what it is today. It all started with a footbridge in 1819, but was replaced by a wooden drawbridge called Monkey Bridge in 1822, because of its narrow width which only allowed a number of people to cross any one time, with some agility involved.
In 1843, the drawbridge was replaced by a wooden footbridge designed by John Turnbull Thomson, a British civil engineer who played an influential role in Singapore’s early development in the 19th century.
However, it was demolished in 1862 and replaced with an iron bridge which was named after Lord James Bruce, the eight Earl of Elgin, who served as the Governor-General of India. It was dismantled in 1925, and gave way to the current concrete bridge, which after 4 transformations, was opened for traffic in 1929.
What attracts us from afar is the bridge design by famous Italian sculptor Cavalari Rudolfo Nolli. At either side of the bridge, you will see the cast-iron lamp and medallions on the Singapore Lion designed by Nolli.
His signature is inscribed on the Singapore Municipality plague beneath the lamps. Lamps will light up at dusk to illuminate the bridge and walkway.
Locals and tourists love the bridge for its structure, and also for its perfect location to take a photogenic shot of the Boat Quay! Yes, the photo that you see right above!
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