House of Goh Sin Koh, 1896, demolished


This was the grand courtyard house of timber merchant Goh Sin Koh (Hokkien) built along Sin Koh Street. Apart from the 4 grand Teochew courtyard mansions in Singapore, of which only house of Tan Yeok Nee stands, this was the only Hokkien courtyard house that remained till 1980s before it was demolished. It survived the great kg Bugis fire but did not survive urban redevelopment.

Goh Sin Koh’s house was built in 1896 and was a grand mansion for the rich Hokkien merchant who later turned it into an ancestral temple for the Goh’s from his village. Interestingly, the timber workers in the timber mills eventually became primarily Hainanese. The rear of the double
courtyard house was a two storey building with a balcony. There were 3 prominent temples around Kallang area in the past – Kwong Fook Temple for the Cantonese, She Gong Miao (Five Tiger Shrine) and an Indian temple which still stands today. In terms of architecture, it is even more intricate than Dou Mu Gong in Upper Serangoon. Look at the beautiful exposed red bricks, this is authentic traditional Hokkien architecture.


4 responses to “House of Goh Sin Koh, 1896, demolished

  1. Goh Sin Koh was the owner of Goh Guan Joo Company, who owned several sawmills in Kallang and also owned operated steamships from his office in Telok Ayer.

    In 1901 (he was reported to be an old man then), he was convicted to 3 months imprisonment and $250 fine on charges of abetment of striking the police by calling out in Hokkien the word “PAH” (which mean beat)
    and of rescuing prisoners from police custody. He later appealed successfully against the conviction due to conflicting police testimony.

    4 Oct 2007

  2. Dear Kent, bravo and applause, another mystery revealed and rescued out of the rubble for temporary focus. In the book “Festivals in Sing and Mal.” there is a pic of an Ah Peh folding up a chai (temple red banner) for the last time. (1983). The kampong survived from ship building and repairs ,many clients from the Indo archipelago. I was told (in those days) that for a price one could enter and leave without a passport. I kept that in the back of my mind in case of another Japanese attempt on the island^^Â or more likely (at that time) the possibility of domino collapse^^ . But there was a heathy ship building /repair community , thriving into the Kampong Bugis and the Tua held large yewkeng processions into the heart of the city , climaxing at Thian Hok Keng. I remember the Framroz drinks factory on the main stretch, and the Coconut oil plants that left that delicious most evocative of smells all along the outskirts of geylang, which that time was considered the main recruiting grounds and HQs of various triads. Those were the days, sigh….and sniff.
    Â Cheers
    Â Â Ronni
    3 Oct 2007

  3. I wonder anyone has more information about Goh Sin Koh.

  4. I got a piece of really interesting rumor about the house of Goh Sin Koh today from an ice-cream man who stations around Cavanagh Bridge on Fridays and Saturdays. According to a tale he has heard when he was younger, Goh Sin Koh’s concubine and son was murdered in this house. The murderer was never found. It became a haunted house therafter and was left derelict. Apparently only women folk who asked for 4D at this place met their luck. The venerable Hong Chun was said to have been invited to exorcise the house but to no avail. A piece of rather interesting tale indeed.

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