|Pearl's Hill City Park was built around a reservoir on top of a hill, tucked away at a corner of Chinatown. Enjoy the climb up the hill. There is a pond up at the hill and the water lilies in the the pond, when in full bloom, provides a splash of colour across the entire pond.
Just behind Pearlbank Apartments and the former Criminal Investigation Department building, the 45m tall knoll has a reservoir perched on top, which was built in 1898 to supply drinking water to Chinatown, and still does today. The park is about 9 ha.
It was named after a Captain James Pearl, who owned and helmed the ship that ferried Sir Stamford Raffles to Singapore in January 1819. Captain Pearl, who bought the hill from the island's Temenggong, had called it Stamford Hill initially.
But the name was changed later to reflect his ownership. After finding it too high, he had the peak shaved off and built his house there. Through the years, the hill has seen many occupants come and go. The first Tan Tock Seng Hospital was built there in 1844. After it relocated to Jalan Besar in 1857, the colonial government erected army barracks on the hill to house the Sepoys. Tasked with maintaining Singapore's security, these soldiers from British India later set up one of Singapore's earliest Sikh temples on the hill which has since been demolished.
It was discovered that Pearl's Hill in Chinatown was higher and stood in the trajectory of the guns mounted at Fort Canning. To put this right, the military engineer simply cut off the top of Pearl's Hill. But, having a fort located such that it would draw enemy fire into the town presented another obstacle.
The western slope of the hill housed the infamous Outram Prison, which was built in 1847. It later made way for Outram Park Estate, best known for their rainbow facades, in 1968 which was demolished in 2002-3. Pearl's Hill also bears reminders of the police force's origins. In the late 1930's, the Upper and Lower Barracks were built on the original Tan Tock Seng Hospital site to accommodate the Sikh Contingent of the Straits Settlement Police. While the Upper Barracks on Pearl's Hill Terrace housed married policemen, the Lower Barracks in Eu Tong Sen Street were home to their single colleagues. Since the Straits Settlement Police disbanded in 1946, the buildings have been put to other uses.
There are no guided tours at this park.