Night-time view of the Pagoda Street Bazaar

Straddling New Bridge and South Bridge Roads in the heart of Chinatown, Pagoda Street was named after the Sri Mariamman Hindu temple at the South Bridge end of the lane. The first shophouses were built along the street in the 1840s, and the street soon became notorious for its opium dens. A famous coolie firm, Kwong Hup Yuen, was situated in the area during the height of the coolie trade between the 1850s and 1880s. The firm later went into the bicycle trade and its shophouse, now known as Kian Seng Heng Bicycle Trader, is still situated at 37 Pagoda Street. In the early 1900s, many of the shophouses along the street functioned as lodging houses for coolies. By the 1950s, most of these shophouses had been converted back into retail outlets and the area became famous for its tailor and textile shops. In 2002, the Singapore Tourism Board opened the Chinatown Heritage Centre along the street to showcase the area’s long history.