Jinrikisha Station in Chinatown


The Jinrikisha Station in Chinatown is counted as one of the important historic buildings in Singapore. It is centrally located at the junction of Neil Road and Tanjong Pagar of Chinatown. The very name of the station reminds us of rickshaws, small light weighted carts that run on large wheels which were first imported from Shanghai to Singapore in 1880. In 1888, a Jinricksha Department was set up for registering and licensing rickshaws. The demand for rickshaws grew so fast that by the end of 19th century Japan started manufacturing the cheaper versions of the same.

But unfortunately the laborious job of pulling rickshaws did not fetch them much money. They had to lead tough lives in cramped cubicles in Shophouses of Chinatown. Gradually two seaters were banned as it became impossible for the pullers to drag such heavy weighted loads. Single seated ones remained the most popular mode of rickshaw. But after the Second World War, rickshaws were banned through Government legislation and since then the streets of Singapore is devoid of rickshaws and rickshaw pullers.

Jinrikisha Station was built in 1904 which acted as a connector between docks and the town. D.M. Craik was the Municipal Architect and Samuel Tomlinson was the Municipal Engineer for the Jinricksha Station in Chinatown during the time span of 1896 to 1902. The building is typical of other ornate ones of the early 20th century. Initially the Jinrikisha Station in Chinatown was just a brick exposed building but now it has been painted. The Ionic pilasters, curved pediment at the corner, square tower with octagonal cupola are adding to the brightness of Jinrikisha Station in Chinatown and surroundings of Tanjong Pagar Road.

The present status of the Jinricksha Station in Chinatown is quite impressive as it is being preserved and has been leased out for various commercial purposes.


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