View of the Padang and the Central Business District skyline

The open field on the north bank of the Singapore River next to the civic district was initially referred to as the Plain, Cantonment Plain, Raffles Plain or the Esplanade. In his 1822 town plan, Sir Stamford Raffles had reserved the area for public buildings but this plan was never fully carried out. The area instead developed into a popular spot for members of colonial society to meet, socialise and play sports. In 1890, the coastline next to the field was pushed further out following land reclamation works at the Esplanade area. The field itself was renamed the Padang in 1907 and soon became an important venue for civic events after City Hall (1929) and the Old Supreme Court Building (1939) were established beside it. The Padang remains an important public space that is still used on occasion to stage important national events such as the annual National Day Parade.The CBD area on the south bank of the Singapore River underwent several phases of major redevelopment from the late 1960s to 1980s as part of the government’s urban renewal schemes for the old city centre. Prominent buildings erected as part of the renewal projects included (from left to right): the 44-storey Standard Chartered Bank Building, which was officially opened in 1984 to house the bank’s headquarters; the 47-storey Raffles Tower owned by Singapore Land that was completed in 1982 and renamed Shell Tower after its main tenant; the 63-storey Overseas Union Bank (OUB) Centre, the tallest building in Asia and the eleventh highest in the world when it was finished in November 1986; and the 30-storey United Overseas Bank (UOB) Building, which was the tallest landmark in the city centre when it was erected in 1974.

Late 1980s
Object size: 10.5 x 14.8 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
National Museum of Singapore