Singapore River. Clark Quay, Singapore.
Prior to Clarke Quay’s transformation into a godown centre during the second half of the 19th Century, the colonial government’s gunpowder magazine, coal stores and private properties were located there. With wells sited close by, Clarke Quay also served as a fresh water distribution point for ships and the growing settlement downstream.
Space constraint at Boat Quay by the 1860s meant that new godowns and factories had to be built further upriver. Clarke Quay, and later on, Robertson Quay, became the natural choice for Chinese merchants, such as Whampoa, Tan Yeok Nee, Tan Tye, and European companies including Paterson, Simon & Co. and Riley, Hargreaves & Co, to locate their new warehouses and factories.
The quay is named after Sir Andrew Clarke, the Governor of the Straits Settlements from 1873 to 1875. Known for his role in the promotion and protection of British political and economic interests in Malaya, Clarke was instrumental in the signing of the Treaty of Pangkor in 1874. The treaty formed the legal foundation for the Federated Malay States of pre-independent Malaysia and facilitated the extension of British control over the entire Malayan Peninsula.