Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Red Brick Power from Time to Time

Upon hearing the red brick building hidden away from human traffic. That's reminds me of my block that built on red bricks itself and eventually painted in dark brown over the years upon upgrading. I did love to see red brick buildings everywhere and of course I did see them before in 1980s where I worked in Jurong and even in Kampongs where my late grandma lived.
I was thrilled to see one of the red brick buildings and yet abandoned beautifully shrine brightly under the hot sun. On the 29th July this year, after received email from my heritage blogger friend, Jerome who is in collaboration with SLA (Singapore Land Authority) on series visits to the State Land, and of course, I registered earlier beforehand before it run out fast. Thanks to him. 
Actually, I was supposed to join my hubby to visit the last Sembawang Hot Spring that was closed end of July 2017 and one of the farms that conducted by community organisation on the same day that clashed my schedules. So I have to leave out one of the events and asked him to go ahead without me. And of course, he could help me to take lots of photos he went. Hahaha...
Pasir Panjang Ferry Terminal (2012)
To be honest, I had been there before but not the red brick building, it is not far from it - Pasir Panjang Ferry Terminal where I last joined an event conducted by MPA in 2012 and also other islands that was long time ago. I arrived at the Labrador Mrt early as usual, walked a few mins to reach and took some photos before catching up with some friends and other participant waiting outside the road not far from the gate as the gate is locked.
 Picture first before the Gate Opens!
Managed to have a small group of friends for a photo taken before the gate opens! 
The “PPPS Experience” provides participants like me with an orientation on power energy as an alternative resource, a brief history of PPPS, and a red brick power plant walk through the major components of the plant. From the outside, the imposing red brick structure looks stark and abandoned. With walls made of thick red bricks, the building looks like a perfect fortress for a zombie apocalypse when night falls.
Former Pasir Panjang 'A' Power Station
The red brick building that I was talking about is - former Pasir Panjang 'A' Power Station which built in early 1950s, the structure of that similar hanger I saw at old kallang airport and Paya Lebar airport years ago.
So what is Pasir Panjang 'A' Power Station looked like in year 1953... see below. Source by MITA.
View of Pasir Panjang 'A' Power Station 1953
Source:  MITA
Buildings like this are getting more and more rare these days with developers snapping up any spot of land left right and centre, but lucky for us participants if you visit the hustle and bustle of the Singapore city and head a couple hours away, there are some true gems still sitting there rusting away.
I believe it took 5-10 years to construct this monster of a power station as you can see why it took so long and over 500 -1000 workers camped here during its construction, finally it was officially opened and stayed active for nearly 30 years until ceasing operation. Just my thought. A lot of the heavy machinery and generators were removed/cleared out from the site on closure.
Side view of PPPS
Former Pasir Panjang 'A'  Power Station is believed to be the third (people called it second) power station in Singapore, after St James Power Station built in 1926. The PPPS was officially opened on 3 July 1953 by then-governor of Singapore, Sir John Nicoll, at the cost of $38m.
Do you know.. In 1906, the first opening of Mackenzie Road Power station marked the "official turning-on" of electricity in Singapore and it was demolished after Japanese Occupation. But before electricity came, lighting at night was provided for by gas lamps. The first investment in electricity generation in Singapore was made by private investors − the Tanjong Pagar Dock Company invested in electric lighting so that work in the Tanjong Pagar wharves could continue after sunset. Eventually it became a government agency, and built the first power station at Mackenzie Road in 1906.
St James Power Station
Credit by Rootsg
Singapore’s second power station − St James Power Station − opened to generate power for big infrastructure projects. It used coal to generate electricity and in 1940 became the first power station to switch to fuel oil. 
St. James Power Station was unable to meet the island’s future electricity demand. In September 1948, the site for the new Pasir Panjang Power Station was approved. The site covers 37 acres and is designed for an ultimate capacity of 150,000 kilowatts. Construction of the new power station, awarded to George Wimpey and company, however, did not begin until January 1951.
On the 2nd July 1960, the 3 new generators at St James Power Station went into action, adding 18,000 watts to Singapore's power supply. The engines were the first 3 of 6 free-piston gas generators being installed oat a cost of about $19mil. It was expected that all 6 would be working bu the end of the year. St James opened in 1927 but closed in 1958, when Pasir Panjang Power Station came into service. In the 1980s, it was converted into a warehouse, and in 2006, became a nightlife complex. The building was gazetted as a national monument in 2009, its owners cannot alter its facade. Nor can they build any extensions or hack any walls.
When I saw this beautiful building standing all alone in the field, it was massive, bigger then i expected, a lot bigger. It stretched long and far and reached up to the sky. The ceilings are extremely high and when you look up you see a plethora of new things to admire and take in.
Cleared-out of Equipment at Turbine hall 
Inside, it’s like a maze of rooms containing the “state of the art” (for its time), who could imagine that every piece of old machinery and generators (not seen) lying everywhere. After our host Mr Jerome gave his speech, our first stop was the Turbine hall with all the hulking space, lots of steels structures and numerous knobs and switch boxes mounted on the walls. It was interesting to be able to set foot inside and see everything preserved and well-maintained.
The most sublime abandoned power stations - the old ones (if the older generations know) that linger in our subconscious, generating bittersweet emotions and inspiration instead of good old electricity.After the WWII in 1952, Singapore commissioned the Pasir Panjang 'A' Power Station to meet post-war electricity demand.
The interior of an old Power Station
2nd level of Turbine hall
There is a second level which is easy to access although some areas are out of bound, the elevated level gives you a new view on the ground level, and then if heights don't bother you there's a staircase at the far end that gives you access all the way up to the top and gives you a stunning view over the whole place.
Former Pasir Panjang 'B' Power Station
Over the years, Pasir Panjang Power Station has undergone expansion, Pasir Panjang 'B' Power Station was officially opened by our late then MP Lee Kuan Yew in 1965. This was expansion to generate more electricity to support Singapore's rapid industrialisation. By 1992, Pasir Panjang, one of the 4 power stations owned by PUB, was said to have a capacity of 201 MW. The 3 power stations under PUB were Pulau Seraya (Jurong Island), Senoko and Jurong. In 1980s, the first offshore power plant was built at Pulau Seraya (now Jurong Island), along with undersea cable tunnel, bringing electricity to the mainland.
In 1990s, Senoko Power plant was Singapore's first power plant to be fuelled by pipe natural gas from Malaysia. 
Overlooking Pulau Bukom and Watch tower
And PPP 'B' Station enabled its power to be supplied to Pulau Bukom refinery that was relying on the generators.
Policemen to guard PPPS in 1956
Credit by SPH
In the past, there were policemen stood guard at Pasir Panjang Power station to prevent possible sabotage. The Singapore City Council ordered immediate recruitment of more watchmen. It was because of the explosion at St James Power Station which threw nearly all Chinatown into darkness and the SCC suspected that it was caused by sabotage. According to the sources, in 1960s, the late then MP Lee KY wrote that he had been warned that there were also plans by Indonesian sabotages to destroy the Pasir Panjang Power Station and the water mains.
Mortared Red Brick
Red Brick wall built of different stones of the buildings in Singapore.
Outside red brick wall of Turbine building
Inside Turbine Hall overlooking the building
On the right is the office (hidden from view) where engineers and office staff to report to the administration and registration office.
Heavy Duty Fireproof Door
Closeup of Counterweight
I have seen many types of old fashioned heavy duty fireproof doors with a pulley counterweight system in old days when I worked at factory many donkeys years. Many of the old fixtures, like the sliding metal exit door with counterweight designed as a water tank, are still a part of the former factory buildings and warehouses.
Door to Door of rooms
The office area seems to of been a garage/storage on the bottom two levels, but there are a lot of stairs could have remnants of showers, classrooms, labs and some other rooms that are still mysterious in their use. Hours can be spent climbing these levels of steel stairs and navigating the pretty shitty floor plan that makes you feel like you are running a bit of a maze,
Staircase leading to office & Fire Roller shutter
Fire Roller shutters are to be made to the latest British and European safety standards and CE marked accordingly.  The activation of fire shutters in the event of a fire as well as normal everyday opening and closing. 
Peep through Office and Steel Columns
This reminds me of my former working manufacturing company regarding the factory hall with office just walked up the staircase when I came down from my office building to look for my colleagues at factory office.
Forklift trucks Parking Station
Granite fine/sand loading area
After two hours guiding tour, the group managed to have a photoshoot at Turbine Hall of former Pasir Panjang 'A' Power Station. 
Group@Turbine Hall
I could have spent hours walking around the old building... Thanks to SLA staff and Jerome Lim for hosting the site of historical building of former Pasir Panjang 'A' Power Station.

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