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History of Hong Lim Park

About Hong Lim Park's history

Hong Lim Park is a site for storytelling and a place that tells Singapore’s story. It holds both historical and national significance. Originally named after the first Superintendent of Police, Thomas Dunman, the park was renamed in 1876 to Hong Lim Green in honour of Cheang Hong Lim, a wealthy businessman who donated the land for the park. This made the park Singapore's first privately-owned public garden.

Throughout its history, the park has been an important recreational area in Chinatown and continues to be a venue for community events today.

Its storytelling tradition began during the Japanese Occupation. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was used as a cricket ground for members of the Singapore Chinese Recreation Club and the Singapore Cricket Club. In the 1960s and 1970s, storytelling resumed in another medium as Chinese operas were performed there. The park also served as the venue for many of Singapore’s first political rallies.

In September 2000, the government designated the park as the venue for the Speakers' Corner, in recognition of the park’s storytelling and political legacy.