Friday, 24 July 2015

My Time in Orchard Road (Part Three)

Orchard Plantations In Early Years

Source: NAS
Orchard Road is like flowing river over a century from 1800s till present where people live and work. Most of the buildings has been changing overtime from old to new. Most Singaporeans would love to see the old orchard road as if it brings back from the past. Old generations would love to see the old Orchard road but everything changed even though they couldn't even recognise the new buildings from old. Gone were the days when people come and go, the horse-drawn carriages were seen on the street lined with dirt path that was once a nutmegs plantations in the past. The area of Orchard road prone to flooding in 1840s till 1960s during raining seasons  when Orchard road received proper systems drainage.
The stretch of Orchard Road was named after the numerous farms such as nutmeg plantation, pepper plantation, spice gardens and fruit gardens (orchards) that was used to cover the area since 1830s. Early in the 19th century it was home to Pepper and Gambier plantations, which years later gave way to Nutmeg and Fruit Orchards that had diminished mostly due to disease.
It’s rumored that a “Mr. Orchard” used to own some of the land at the corner of present-day Scotts Road and Orchard Road, But no evidence was found or brought up in Mr Orchard's case.

Orchard Road Railway in 1910s
Source: Postcard
There used to be a Orchard Road Railway near Emerald Hill west side of the Singapore Cold Storage in early 1910s were introduced. The train were cross the bridge next to the row of shophouses (Emerald Hill on the right).
Orchard Road was once the locations of the cemeteries - A Chinese Cemetery (mandarin Hotel & Ngee Ann City), A Sumatran Cemetery (behind of today Concorde Hotel) and Jewish Cemetery (now the site of Dhoby Ghaut Mrt). One of my colleagues (a Jewish accent) whose ancestors buried in Jewish cemetery, had been moved to Choa Chu Kang cemetery. There was a cemetery at Orchard theatre in the past if I could remember. I worked at Plaza Singapura in early 1980s and saw cemetery - Jewish cemetery (demolished in 1984) is the present site of Dhoby Ghaut mrt. 
Across the Dhoby Ghaut Mrt, there was Supreme House (now known as Park Mall), a 14-storey office-cum-shopping complex located along Penang road. By 1991, Supreme House renamed as Park Mall and their main tenant was Metro Department store that occupied first three floors which was opened in 1971.
Metro@Centrepoint (pic taken in Dec 2014)
Metro has five department stores within Orchard Road and Scotts road of which I worked both Metro Grand and Metro Far East indicated in my previous blog. The newly Metro at  The Centrepoint which opened in Nov 2014. I have both Metro, OG and Isetan cards that issued to me since 1980s after I left the department stores.
Park Mall (pic in 2015)
One of the oldest buildings along Orchard Road - Park mall(former Supreme House). I used to frequent the shops, dine at restaurants and made a booking at offices (Genting and Cruise o) since 1980s. Hong Kong Celebrity Ms Nora Miao Ker Hsui was invited to open the Metro Supreme department store at Supreme House in 1971.
YWCA & Park Mall (2012)
YWCA hostels and Park Mall (background) taken in 2012 from Fort Canning where I stood at the bridge.
At last but not least, I have to pen down here and will continue in my next blog soon.

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