Indian dhobies (laundrymen) in early Singapore washed their laundry in the stream which used to be known as Sungei Bras Basah - a rivulet - that flowed from Orchard Road to the sea. Today it is Stamford Canal. The Chinese called the road beside it 'Lau Chooi Koei' (Flowing Water Road).

The dhobies dried their laundry in the open space between Bras Basah RoadĀ and Stamford Road. Bras Basah RoadĀ (West Rice road) was once called Church Street and College Street because of the several Churches and the Schools in that locality.