Clifford Pier has a long history. It was built between 1927 and 1933, when Singapore was part of the British Colony.
Located on Collyer Quay at the mouth of the Singapore River, it was the key landing and departure point for travellers coming to Singapore by sea. And of course most travellers came to Singapore by sea during that time.
The ships were anchored at the harbour and small boats will ferry the passengers to the pier, which was the customs checkpoint, where immigrants first landed in Singapore.
As Singapore slowly developed, the role of the pier changed. Port activities were moved elsewhere and most travellers arrived in Singapore by air.
The pier then became the place where Singaporeans board boats to visit neighbouring islands, such as Kusu island.
In 2004, as part of the redevelopment plans for the Marina Bay area, the Marina Barrage was built, creating a dam and turning the waters in front of the pier into a reservoir.
Clifford Pier could no longer operate as a pier and it was replaced by the Marina South Pier in 2006.
The pier was gazetted for conservation in 2007 and it is now part of the Fullerton Heritage precinct. It is currently occupied by a restaurant that is part of the Fullerton Bay Hotel, aptly named, The Clifford Pier.
In this 2013 painting, Singapore second generation Nanyang artist Low Hai Hong painted the Clifford Pier from across the Marina Bay. It was an interesting view for him as he would not have this view of the pier in the past, unless he was on a boat.
The pier he remembered was the one bustling with activities, where older Singaporeans like him called ang teng beh tau 红灯码头, or red lamp harbour due to the red beacon atop of the building.
The pier he painted here is not his ang teng beh tau. It is the Clifford Pier that is part of Marina Bay, retired from its days of glory, moving on to a new phase.
Title: Clifford Pier
Artist: Low Hai Hong
Medium: Oil on Chinese Rice Paper
Dimensions: 60cm x 70cm
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