#Heritage Bukit Pasoh Shophouses
Towards the end of Bukit Pasoh Road closer to New Bridge Road, stand 4 blocks of Art Deco shophouses that span number 31-37. #HEREitage
In the early 1900s, the area around Keong Saik, Duxton, and Bukit Pasoh was a bustling, wealthy area associated with clans, social clubs, and vice — with a high number of brothels, gangs, and opium and gambling dens. While Bukit Pasoh takes its name from the Malay word ‘pasoh’, which refers to the earthenware pots, it was also known as “street of the clans” and “Mistress Street” — a reference to the mistresses of wealthy merchants who were rumoured to be hidden in the clubs on this street.
In the 1980-90s, the area was gazetted for conservation by URA, and the brothels, opium dens, and gambling dens were soon replaced. However, many of the shophouses were conserved, and its original features retained.
31-37 is one example. In 2006, the buildings were restored and opened as the New Majestic Hotel. Many of the iconic qualities of the original shophouses were restored, such as the ornamental green glazed fascia and Art Deco fish scale details along the balcony parapet. Inside, there was a spiral staircase that drew inspiration from the spiral staircases usually found on the outside of shophouses. The layers of paintwork on the ceiling and the stained glass fanlights were also retained to give a sense of the building’s history
While 31-37 has changed hands a few times since then, the conserved shophouses still stand. Each new venture that calls it home enriches the old with the new, and rebalances the two in its own ways.