Singapore dedicates Straits Settlement, the room fragrance, to the rubber plantations of the area. Even though they were created by the British for commercial purposes and the world’s hunger for rubber, they are also filled with the beautiful aromas of the flora varieties growing in and around them.
What was the Straits Settlement?
The British territories located in Southeast Asia were known as the Straits Settlement. They were originally established as part of the British East India Company in 1826, and in 1867 became part of the Crown Colony.
The Straits settlement originally consisted of the trading posts of Penang (1786), Malacca (1795), Singapore (1819), and Dinding (1874). In 1886, the Christmas Island and the Cocos Island were added. In 1907, the Island of Labuan off the coast of Borneo was also added to the Straits Settlement. These British territories ceased to exist in 1946.
Singapore was the most unique of these territories because it was developed from scratch by Sir Thomas Stamford Ruffles. Most of these territories then became part of Malaysia, from which Singapore separated in 1965. The Cocos and Christmas Islands are now part of the Australian Indian Ocean Territories.
What created the demand for rubber?
Rubber plants are natural to the Amazon basin, but the huge demand for the product came when the rise of the motorcar industry created a huge demand for it. It was in 1839 that Charles Goodyear produced a new material by accident. He found that if heated with sulphur, raw rubber was no longer affected by high temperatures and called it vulcanized rubber.
The first trees in the region were planted from 70,000 seeds sent out from Brazil to Britain. When these were planted and prepared there, only a small number survived and they were shipped to Southeast Asia. The jungle climate of the region offered the perfect conditions for the trees. By the end of the nineteenth century, there were 2500 hectares of rubber in Asia as the demand for it continued to grow. John Dunlop created the first practical inflatable tyre in 1887 and at the time Henry Ford started making his famous motorcar.
The Role of the Singapore Botanical gardens
Henry Nicholas Ridley was the first director of the Singapore Botanical gardens and arrived there n 1888. He is considered to be the pioneer of the rubber industry in Southeast Asia as he researched to find the best seeds, methods to tap the rubber from the trees and the commercial possibilities of the product. He was so persistent in getting people to grow the trees that he was nicknamed “Mad Ridley’ and “Rubber Ridley”. Today, Southeast Asia still produces two-thirds of the natural rubber grown globally.
These tropical rubber plantations, the soft singing sounds of rain falling between the trees and the beautiful aromas of the forest plants growing around them is the inspiration behind Straits Settlement. The room fragrance created by Singapore Memories will bring relaxing scents into the home and office and a bottle of Straits Settlement is the perfect corporate gift or souvenir to take back home from Singapore.