Sunday, 5 December 2010

the five foot ways along Cantonment Road, Singapore

Five foot ways are pedestrian walkways indented into the ground floor of a building from the road, so that the overhanging upper floors can provide a cover to shield pedestrians from the sun and rain. This feature can be found in many shophouses (and buildings of similar structural design) all over the world, and also in some office buildings (e.g. those along Shenton Way in Singapore). 

One of my blog postings is on the Shophouses of Singapore, you can view it by clicking HERE. 

and a great site is Singapore.Sg and will give you loads of info on Shophouses and where to locate them.
As the ground floor of most buildings are shops or eating places, the five foot ways can also function as a corridor for people to window-shop or stop by for some refreshments. As implied by name, five foot ways were intended to assume a consistent width of five feet from the absolute front to the wall and entrance defining the frontal of the inner space, but the guideline is not necessarily applied universally, as certain five foot ways are wider or narrower depending on the age, size and function of the building.

In Singapore, five foot ways date back to the time of the Colonial Government. Sir Stamford Raffles included this and other details in his Town Plan of 1822

Attempts to clear the walkways of hawkers in the 1880s led to the so-called "Verandah Riots".

These photos are of the five foot ways along Cantonment Road in Singapore.
 The area of Cantonment Road was the site assigned by Stamford Raffles in 1819 in his directions to Major William Farquhar for barracks for the East India Company's Sepoy troops. The contingent of Indian sepoys stationed here had accompanied Raffles to Singapore and were asked to stay. Cantonment refers to a group of lodgings assigned to troops, hence the name of the road. British troops were "cantoned" here between 1824 and 1858. Prior to 1853, Outram Road was also part of Cantonment Road.
 There are many Shophouses and 
'five foot ways' around Singapore.

take a closer look at them next time you walk by!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post!