A number of architecturally notable houses have survived the bulldozers at Emerald Hill, behind the Centrepoint mall. The hill was granted to Englishman William Cuppage in 1845 and was for some years afterwards the site of a large nutmeg plantation. After his death in 1872, the land was subdivided and sold off, much of it to members of the Peranakan community. Walk up Emerald Hill Road today and you’ll see exquisite houses from the era, in the so-called Chinese Baroque style, typified by the use of coloured ceramic tiles, carved swing doors, shuttered windows and pastel-shaded walls with fine plaster mouldings. Unsurprisingly, quite a few now host trendy restaurants and bars, with a few more in a tastelessly jazzed-up row of shophouses called Cuppage Terrace, close to the Centrepoint mall.

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