Fires and Urban Planning in Yangon (1841-1857) – 3/ Fire in 1855: Reconstruction during Colonial Urban Development

Although fire safety measures were proposed, a fire in 1855 happened when Dr William Montgomerie and Lieutenant A. Fraser’s urban planning proposal was in construction. It was noted that streets had been laid out and houses and buildings were built with facilities along. As evident in the economic loss, set-back to the colonial urban development can be drawn, with reconstruction to some extent.

‘However, Lord Dalhousie, who visited Rangoon again in the following year, 1855, noted that the public improvements were being pursued “with vigour.” “The improvement which has been effected in the town and cantonment of Rangoon is most striking,” he wrote. “The town has its streets regularly laird out, and many of them are already formed. The Strand road is nearly completed, and with the other town roads is at present in excellent order. The houses are regularly built, many pukka buildings are finished, and very many more are in progress. The streets are named. Drainage is provided for, and lamp-posts for lighting the town are erected. …” ’

‘It was unfortunate that a fire which occurred in December of that year should have done a great deal of damage, estimated by Phayre at five or six lakhs but by the local press at fifteen lakhs; this occurrence must have given a marked set-back to the development of the new city.’

(Pearn, 1939, p.197)


Pearn, Bertie Reginald. History of Rangoon. (Rangoon: American Baptist Mission Press, 1939).

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