A Touch of Scotland in Siglap

A map of Siglap in 1954 from the National Library

A map of Siglap in 1954 from the National Library

Tucked away in a section of Siglap in the eastern part of Singapore are several streets with very distinctively Scottish names and influence. The area was built around the 1950s, quite likely by the Frankel brothers or from land bought from the Frankel brothers, who had owned huge swathe of land for coconut plantations in eastern Singapore (I am not certain about the developer as the results from Internet searches are inconclusive). The area is bounded by East Coast Road, Siglap Road, Frankel Road and Siglap Drive. The original houses in this area are either single or double-storey high, with bungalow land being spacious. Some of the bigger plots of land have since been redeveloped into smaller units and some single storey houses have gone to three or four-storeys high.

Lothian Terrace, a short road linking with the busy East Coast Road

Lothian Terrace, a short road linking with the busy East Coast Road

I am very familiar with the area, having lived in the vicinity all my life and even made maps of my neighbourhood as a child. I became curious about the street names during GE2011 when I started to visit every home there. I had since revisited the homes again post-GE at a more leisurely pace over the last two years, most recently in the past two weeks. I decided to do some research on the names because they sounded special.

First is a small street with just 9 houses named as Lothian Terrace. Lothian is a region of the Scottish Lowland which includes Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh. The name of Lothian most likely derives from the Brittonic name *Lugudūniānā  or “Country of the fort of (the god) Lugus”, mentioned in early Welsh literature. A legend is that the name came from King Lot, who is king of Lothian in the era of the legendary King Arthur. Lothian Terrace is the entrance to this area from the busy East Coast Road.

Busy junction of Burnfoot Terrace and Siglap Road with various commercial shops nearby

Busy junction of Burnfoot Terrace and Siglap Road with various commercial shops nearby

Shops at Burnfoot Terrace, the only street with shops in this area.

Shops at Burnfoot Terrace, the only street with shops in this area. Notice the jagged lines on both sides of the road to stop cars from parking here.

Perpendicular to Lothain Terrace is Burnfoot Terrace, a name which had captured my imagination as a child. Burnfoot is a housing estate in the northern part of Hawick, by the Boonraw Burn, in the Scottish Borders (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burnfoot,_Scottish_Borders).

Burnfoot Terrace is constantly packed with cars as patrons of the shops along East Coast Road and at Siglap Centre will park on this road. You can count on the traffic wardens to constantly patrol this road to issue tickets for illegal parking.

Lothian Terrace leads into Ettrick Terrace. Ettrick Terrace in Scotland is in the Scottish Borders Council and the Selkirk Burgh. A notable building in Ettrick Terrace is a former jail that has been converted into a public library (http://www.visitoruk.com/Selkirk/old-prison-I1621.html).

Bowmont Gardens

Bowmont Gardens

Ettrick Terrace leads into three perpendicular roads. First is the longest of these streets, Bowmont Gardens.  Bowmont Gardens appears to be a suburb in Glasgow, Scotland.

Parallel to Bowmont Gardens and also entering via Ettrick Terrace is Jedburgh Gardens, home to some rather spacious bungalows and semi-detached houses. Jedburg is a historical and small town in Scotland 16 km from the border with England. Its population is only around 4,000 today (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jedburgh)

Junction of Jedburgh Gardens and Ettrick Terrace

Junction of Jedburgh Gardens and Ettrick Terrace

 

 

 

Beautiful houses and plants on Bowmont Gardens

Beautiful houses and plants on Bowmont Gardens

A newly renovated house at the Junction of Ettrick Terrace and Yarrow Gardens

A newly renovated house at the Junction of Ettrick Terrace and Yarrow Gardens

A little further down parallel to Jedburgh Gardens is Yarrow Gardens. Yarrow is a flower, with the scientific name as Achillea millefolium. It is a flowering plant that is leaf-shaped and native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. In older times, yarrow was traditionally used to staunch the flow of blood from wounds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achillea_millefolium).

The Yarrow Parish in Scotland is near the Parishes of Selkirk, where Ettrick Terrace is located in.

Along the middle of Bowmont Gardens in Siglap is Wilton Gardens.

Junction of Bowmont and Wilton Gardens. An LTA enforcement officer was there to summon cars that day, especially those that park here to patronise shops at Frankel Road

Junction of Bowmont and Wilton Gardens. A LTA enforcement officer was there to summon cars that day, especially those that parked here to patronise shops at Frankel Road

Wilton is a parish in the Scottish Borders comprising the part of Hawick north of the Teviot. Formerly a separate burgh, it was merged with the burgh of Hawick in the 19th century.  A search on Google found a nice park in Wilton known as the Wilton Lodge Park, with reviewers in Tripadvisor praising its well-kept gardens as an ideal place for a family picnic (http://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Attraction_Review-g186505-d3513940-Reviews-Wilton_Lodge_Park-Hawick_Scottish_Borders_Scotland.html).

A house proud owner had planted nice flowering plants in the public sidewalk at the junction of Bowmont and Wilton Gardens. Many owners had planted on the roadside, beautifying the whole estate.

A house proud owner had planted nice flowering plants in the public sidewalk at the junction of Bowmont and Wilton Gardens. Many owners had planted on the roadside, beautifying the whole estate.

At the end of Bowmont Gardens is Cheviot Hill. Cheviot Hill is named after the highest hill on the border between Scotland and England. It is on a range of rolling hills associated with geological activity believed to be caused by the collision of the continents of Avalonia and Laurentia several hundred of million years ago, resulting in volcanic activities that created a granite outcrop surrounded by lava flows (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheviot_Hills).

An old photo of Cheviot Hill in Siglap can be found here: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/pictures/Details/840b6282-9d39-4f8e-add6-2aa2256e60b8.

Cheviot Hill and Carlton Road junction, with the Global Indian School in the background.  The region is home to several Indian schools and popular with Indian expatriates.

Cheviot Hill and Carlton Road junction, with the Global Indian School in the background. The region is home to several Indian schools and popular with Indian expatriates.

Along Cheviot Hill are two short streets, Carlton Avenue and Dryburgh Avenue, each with just a few houses on it.

Google search for “Carlton Hill, Scotland” threw up Calton Hill as the main results, with different sites referring to similar places with either of the spellings.

Calton Hill is a hill in central Edinburgh, Scotland. It is included in the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. The headquarters of the Scottish Government is in Calton Hill. The hill is also the location of several iconic monuments and buildings, as well as the location of the Old Calton Burial Ground, which is the resting place of several notable Scots (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Calton_Burial_Ground).

Standing at the junction of Dryburgh Ave and Siglap Drive during weekend house visits, with rain clouds fast gathering behind us.

Standing at the junction of Dryburgh Ave and Siglap Drive during weekend house visits, with rain clouds fast gathering behind us.

Dryburgh Avenue is a street in Glasglow. I remember this name distinctly because I had an elections poster on Dryburgh Avenue in Siglap which I had missed out on taking down after GE2011. A kind resident called to inform me to remove it to be in compliance with our elections laws.

A famous Dryburgh who had lived in Singapore was Margaret Dryburgh (1890–1945). She was born in Sunderland, a region in North-East England near Scotland. She came to Singapore as a missionary and became a teacher and later a school principal. She was captured during the Second World War while fleeing Singapore by boat after our surrender to the Japanese. She inspired fellow prisoners by leading worships, singing and concerts, as well as through her composed songs.  The plight of Dryburgh and her fellow inmates in a Japanese prisoner of war camp inspired the 1996 film, Paradise Road. She died due to dysentery in a prisoner of war camp in Indonesia (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Dryburgh).

Margaret Dryburgh was certainly an inspiring figure who had contributed to Singapore and had brought joy to those around her.

Next time you come across interesting street names in Singapore, try do a little research and you may find some interesting nuggets of information.

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