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1858 First Bilingual Chinese/English Large Format Map of Singapore City

Map of Singapore City. / 新嘉坡市區地圖

1858 First Bilingual Chinese/English Large Format Map of Singapore City


First official Bi-Lingual Map of Singapore issued after Malaysian Independence.



Map of Singapore City. / 新嘉坡市區地圖
  1958 (undated)    35.5 x 53.5 in (90.17 x 135.89 cm)     1 : 7920


This is an extremely rare large format 1958 first edition map of Singapore in Chinese and English. Being published just one year after the 1957 Treaty of London recognized the independence of the Federation of Malaysia – which then included Singapore. The political transition led to a wave of new bi-lingual publications as English was no longer the only official language.

An Administrative Plan

The plan, presented on a vast scale, provides a wealth of information, much of which is technical in nature and hints at the map's administrative purpose. It notes, for examples, on 'metalled' and 'unmetalled' roads, car tracks, 'foot patch', iron, wooden, and masonry bridges, pipe lines, light railways, permanent and temporary buildings, rivers, canals, and parks. A massive index in the lower right quadrant details streets and postal districts in both English and Chinese.

From Aerial Surveys

Cartographically the map is among the first maps of Singapore to be based upon the aerial surveys conducted by the Singapore Surveyor General during the British period. It is of note that the title uses the term 'city,' a designation conferred upon Singapore by King George VI on September 22, 1951.

The First Official Bi-Lingual Map of Singapore

This map was published by the Singapore Chinese Booksellers Association and printed in Hong Kong by Chung Hwa Book Company. Most likely this was printed in Hong Kong because Singapore, at the time, did not have a printer experienced in with Chinese. A note identifies this as the first edition, but it is unclear if subsequent editions followed. We suspect that the map had an extremely small print run as we have identified only two other examples, one in the National Archives of Singapore, and a second in private hands.


Chung Hwa Book Company (1912 – Present), founded as上海中華書局有限公司 is a Chinese publishing house founded in Shanghai in 1912 by Lufei Kui (陸費逵, September 17, 1886 – July 9, 1941). Lufei was formerly employed by the Commercial Press (商务印书馆有限公司), another important Shanghai publishing instruction active from about 1897. The firm attained considerable prominence establishing subsidiaries in Singapore in 1923, Hong Kong in 1927, and Taipei in 1949. Many of these subsidiaries eventually spit off from the original company or were acquired by other firms. The parent firm is currently located in Beijing and trades as the Zhonghua Book Company (中华书局有限公司).

Singapore Chinese Booksellers Association ( 1947 – Present), also known as 新嘉坡书业公会, was a Chinese-Singaporean coalition of booksellers established to Chinese publishing culture in Singapore. The maintained offices at 19-B Carpenter Street, Singapore. The organization remains active as the Singapore Booksellers and Stationers Association.


Very good. A few minor repaired closed tears. Some wear and verso reinforcement at original fold intersections. Blank on verso.


National Archives of Singapore, SP006291.
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