Brief history of Geylang

The name Geylang is believed to have come from the corruption of the Malay word "kilang", which means press, mill or factory.

This came from the presses and mills in coconut plantations in the area in the 19th century.

Around the same time, the first settlers in the area were believed to have been sea gypsies, who were moved from the mouth of the Singapore River to what is now Kallang Basin.

By the early 1900s, small factories were being set up in Geylang because of its proximity to two rivers, Whampoa and Kallang. Most significant among them were the brick kilns.

Along with the wave of immigrants who went there to work in the factories, clan associations and places of worship also moved in.

Heritage blogger and naval architect Jerome Lim said: "You could say it's a second Chinatown.

"While not the traditional area that Chinese immigrants settled in, there was a larger variety of Chinese clan associations, mostly from the minor dialect groups."

And much like in Chinatown, vice quickly followed. But when redevelopment started in the 1970s, Geylang was largely left untouched, Mr Lim said.

Today, most of the shophouses along Geylang Road have received conservation status from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, along with some shophouses on the sidestreets such as Lorong 24A and Lorong 28.