Temple Street in Chinatown was originally called Almeida Street, after Joaquim D'Almeida. D'Almeida was a Portuguese merchant who stopped at Singapore and purchased a large piece of land, a portion of which was later named Almeida Street.

In 1908, the street was renamed Temple Street, probably in honour of Sri Mariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. The land of the temple was initially owned by Narayana Pillai, an Indian clerk working for the East India Company. He accompanied Singapore 's founder, Sir Stamford Raffles, to Singapore and afterwards settled here.

In 1827, the temple was constructed of wood and thatch, and was dedicated to Sri Mariamman, a South Indian goddess of health and prosperity. Its brick foundation was laid in about 1843, forming the structure which still stands today. Built in the style of Dravidian architecture in South India, the temple was visited mostly by Hindu South Indian immigrants in Singapore. ( See: Sri Mariamman Temple )

Many argue, however, that Temple Street was not named after this particular temple but instead, refers to the abundance of temples in the area. The street running parallel to Temple Street, for example, is Pagoda Street, a reference to the many Chinese temples in the area that contained pagodas.

In the early 1900s, Temple Street became an enclave for Teochew immigrants from China. Despite this, many Cantonese Operas were staged here up till the late 1920s, the most famous being Lai Chun Yen Theatre. Like the rest of Singapore, the Chinatown area was badly bombed during World War II. Miraculously, though, Temple Street emerged unscathed.

Today, Sri Mariamman Temple still stands at the corner of Temple Street. The old shophouses still remain, and the street bustles with coffee shops, inns and KTV lounges.