Commonly seen from past civilizations, trade was aptly named to flourish close to riverbanks as they bring significant business together.
As the area around River Valley start to flourish, and it naturally being located on high ground, this attracted wealthy Europeans and Chinese merchants to settle in the area.
Early Residential Owners
Dr. Thomas Oxley was one of the first residents to move into the area, and he owned one of the largest nutmeg plantations in River Valley.
The size of his estate comprised of almost 173 acres of land, which comprised of the nutmeg plantation and two Villas.
The two villas, the Pavilion and Killiney House are built around the 1840s to the 1850s. Both served as his place of residence until he left for England for his retirement in 1857.
River Valley was also well known by the Straits Chinese. Prolific merchants like Tan Kim Seng, Lee Cheng Yan all built estates within the area.
Redevelopment: Early – Mid 1900s
To accommodate for the extensive redevelopment of River Valley, most of these mansions have been demolished. Low rise apartments begin to fill the landscape around the river valley to house the local residents.
However, The House of Tan Yeok Nee remains present, and it is located at the junction of Penang Road and Clemenceau Avenue. It is now recognized as a national monument
Due to decades of commercial activity, the Singapore River had become heavily polluted. Then-Prime Minister of Singapore in the 1960s, Lee Kuan Yew, tasked the Public Utilities Board and Public Works Department to clean up the river.
Bumboat companies were no longer allowed to operate within the river channels and moved to the river banks instead. Squatters and hawkers were also dispersed to proper demarcated areas.