Sunday, 8 October 2017

Former Beach Road Police Station

Aerial view of former Beach Rd Police Station
Credit: SPH
The Style of Colonial buildings constructed during that period, way back to early 1930s shaped like a colonial-style bungalow built by colonial government located at Beach road. Apart to the Colonial buildings that faced to the sea where the present Suntec City located at Marina Centre after the reclamation land from the sea. To the other side of Beach Road Police Station, there was a small road 'Jalan Laut' (defunct) to where Clyde Terrace Market stood, now the present 'The Gateway'. The road 'Jalan Laut' became Rochor Road.
Red Bricks of yesteryear (exposed)
It stood 3-storey high and was made of mainly red-bricks that are seen today which are covered white-washed painted. The high ceilings and spacious corridors as well as huge spectacular field that built with basketball court and open-air courtyard for training and recreational purposes. It was one of the largest scale buildings that were built upon reclaimed Beach Road area date back in 1840s. The main building of former Beach Road Police Station (seen as top above in the middle) on the left beside the empty plot of land.
In 1930s, the two of the 3-storey buildings in Beach Road were single men's barracks and married men's barracks. On the ground floor of the former building, there were mess and recreation rooms and dormitories on all 3 floors.
Quarters with Verandah on each floor (right)
The married men's quarters consisted of living rooms with a separate verandah on each floor, and there were 3 entrances leading to staircases rising to the upper floors, thus flanked a third 3-storey building. The ground floor occupied by a guard room, offices for an assistant commissioner, inspector and clerks, quarters for a sergeant and armoury, garages for a number of cars and stores. The cell rooms was behind the guard room which was approached by a covered way. Quarters for European and Asiatic inspectors occupied the upper floors. The area of the site along Beach road is near to the 'Demolished' of the theatre - Alhambra that built in 1930s. Now, there is wooden balcony on the 2nd floor where they can look out to the courtyards.
Geylang Police Station in Paya Labar Road
Source: SPH
When the BRPS closed in 1988, its staff relocated to the 'ultra-modern' Geylang Police Station which was opened in the same year in Paya Lebar road to replace Beach Road. The landmark along Beach road, the 3-storey building (Beach road Police Station) occupied by NCC (National Cadet Corps) later in the same year. Then in 1992, CPD (Central Police Division) headquarters moved in till 2001 when the newly Cantonment Police Complex completed, then they moved in till present where one of my classmates who works there as plainclothes for a long time. The station remained its operational for more than 70 years till 2001.
Side view of Old Beach Rd Police Station (2015)
The Former Beach Road Police Station was ceased in 2001 and was marked as conservation and historical site in Oct 2002. As part of an initiative by the Government to lease out disused state buildings to private schools from 2003 to 2006. A few years later in 2007, Raffles Design Institute took over the site and coated it with bright orange painted if I could remember when I passed by this route years ago. URA sets aside the building for future redevelopment and it turned out to be strict restoration and conservation stipulation to any future developers and to ensure that this site continues to have a future.
As you can see the two newly 'high-rising' buildings of which one under construction at that time (photo taken in 2015 as above) already completed with three former Beach Road camp blocks 1, 9 & 14 (all conserved and retained) revamped into Singapore's newest lifestyle - South Beach.
Front View of Old Beach Rd Police Station (2015)
This bright orange-coloured building was used to be Art show gallery in 2015 and 2016 of which I was there, knowing that the place was once an old Beach Road Police Station which was vacant for 2.5 years since 2013, had turned into an art paradise spaces for Art lovers like myself, managed by Singaplural, is a home-grown festival started by SFIC (Singapore Furniture Industries Council) in 2011, in conjunction with our annual trade fair, International Furniture Fair Singapore (IFFS).
Recent Propeller Ceiling Fan
These buildings has become modern art after installed air-cons, lighting, propeller ceiling fans, raw canvas...etc left there untouched that we saw yesterday during touring.
The entrance to former Beach Rd Police Station
The tour managed by SLA and Jerome, which was held on Sat 7th Oct yesterday. We arrived early as usual as there are 4 of us including Ms Juneta (tree member/participant) waited outside the entrance at 9.30am as the tour started at 10am. 
Exterior of the former Beach Rd Police Station
So we have to take a few shots before the rest of the participants. We saw SLA staff arrived early and they were inside the building, to foresee the grounds for any damaged wooden floor/ground.
Damaged wooden pavement
There is indeed damaged/broken wooden pavement outside of one of the buildings. The orange-colour painted 'colonial-style' bungalow/building was done by the previous Art company - Raffles Design Institute took over from 2007 to 2013.
Alhambra and Marlborough Theatres in 1920s
Source: thealhambrasgingapore
The orange-coloured building along the beach road, once the site of two theatres - Alhambra and Marlborough theatre at between Hoi How road (defunct) and Beach road, years later around 1980s-1990s the Prince and Jade theatre now ..present Shaw Towers.
 Retired Ex-Officer Philip Xavier
One of the ex-officers Philip Xavier who was stationed at Beach Road Police Station (C Division HQ) in 1970s, shared his story one of the rooms that used to be 'rest room' for the officers with rotating shifts.
The "Column" Block with Chimney (top)
The "Column" Block with Chimney at the rooftop, the block used to be officers' small resting rooms without air-con but there was a exhaust fan through the wall in the past. I was wondering who could endure the heat in the Singapore's tropical weather...maybe the young generations couldn't.

Barrack overlook towering skyscraper
Behind the "Column" barrack, the face of towering skyscraper 'monster' ( partly seen) sits beside former Block 14 Beach Road Camp (background) revamped into Court Martial Bar recently. Block 14 then in early years the first as quarters for Malay Company of the Singapore Volunteer Corps and later on it converted into a HQ Building for the People's Defence Force (PDF). Actually, there are three pre-war buildings - Blocks 1, 9 & 14 still stand today, together with NCO (Non-Commissioned Officers's) Club that are given conservation status in 2002. These 4 blocks have been revamped high technology modern compound and managed by South Beach Consortium Pte Ltd.
The doors of 'resting' room on the right
One of the two 1934 barrack blocks that were once part of the original station construction, used as a resting room.
Toilet/Washroom
Not far from the restroom, there is a toilet/washroom for the officers on each side and each floor. 
Recent coated in red & white on the wall
Even the recent coated in bright red on the wall of the staircases on each level on one side whilst the other side coated in white.
3-storey block
The 3-story block (see above) where the group of police officers posed for a picture in 1970s. Does it look familiar as below?
Group photo of Police Officers 1970s 
Photo Courtesy: Philip Xavier
This group photo was taken at 'C' Division building at that time when retired ex-officer Philip Xavier stationed. This photograph (above) belongs to retired ex-officer who shares his photos with us (participants) I took a shot of it and I was grateful to him for his generous.
In the front of the 3-storey block is the training ground and recreation sport (basketball court). Much thanks to the SPF for their arrangement to have retired ex-officer to share his storey and its historical building.
Retired Cop Philip Xavier in his younger days
Photograph Courtesy by Philip Xavier
He (Philip) even showed us an old photo of him - short-pant uniform in 1960s. He looked young chap in his 20s.
I remember that my god-sister whose uncle was a policeman, wore short-pant uniform in 1970s, rode on a bicycle around outside the Beach Road Police Station when he was called on radio page on his shoulder about the gangs. My good friend Dick Yip told me that he was stationed at former Beach Road Police Station in 1968 for 5 years after completed his Basic Course at Old Police Academy, Thomson Road. He wore short-pant uniform in 1968-69 and a year later his uniform changed to total blue uniform. At the station, he (Dick) did police work and opt to do anti-crime work, so he has to carry gun, baton, handcuffs...etc, at night use his own small torchlight and sometimes he was on a bicycle on patrol. Also his work.. was plainclothes in later years. On a day or night, he would report to Briefing room and got his orders and acted accordingly. He (Dick) never stayed in 'living' quarter or restroom during his time in the force, he just knocked off after work and went home as he has family at home in Sg. His good friend, Lionel, who was once well-known detective in 1960 till he retired in 1988. He was once served as national crime watchdog. He achieved national recognition in 1971 when he played a pivotal role in the expeditious solution of the infamous "Gold Bars Triple Murder" case. He was awarded many Commendation Certificates and Commissioner of Police Testimonials, including the Malaysian and Singapore Defence Medals. In 1960s, he played in smashing an international syndicate involved in counterfeiting and trafficking of counterfeit US currency notes and the successful apprehension of the syndicate members. Like other retired veteran or long-service officers had fond memories of how they were kept on their toes when Bugis Street was a popular tourist attraction in 1960s and 1970s. Currently, he owns PI firm at Katong.
I remember...there was once news reported in 1980s...."Like most old buildings, the old Beach Road Police Station has it
s own dark tales. Officers on night duty that have claimed they have heard creepy noises. That's why I did not see many of my officers at night, said Supt Bakar"...if I could recall the name.
Overlooking 3-storey Block (Main Building)
Floor plan of Block A (Main Building)
The living quarters were refurbished in early 1970s and converted into offices, the ceiling fans on each floor that kept the officers cool as there was no air-con at that time the building was built in early years. The floor plan pasted on the wall of the main building which I took a shot at the corner end staircase (shaded in blue foreground) where I walked up earlier.
The Havelock Road Police Station was demolished in 1969, followed by the Tanjong Pagar Police Station in 1972. The Central Police Station, one of the biggest police stations built during the British era, was also torn down in 1978 due to the widening of Upper Pickering Street. The former of Hill Street Police Station, former Beach Road Police Station and Pearl’s Hill’s Lower and Upper Barracks were the only colonial police stations located in the city area that had escaped the fate of demolition.
The former Beach Road Police Station was once involved in quelling riots fuelled by the Maria Hertogh (Nadra) custody case in 1950s.
In recent news reported that URA launched the public tender for the plot of land along Beach road - former Bea
ch Rd Police Station located and this building is no ordinary property transaction, whoever takes over the land, one must conserve and restore the former police station.
Group looked up and waved in the air
The 'one-direction' group that I took, their heads turned around, looked up and waved in the air, only to realise that there was a SLA staff on the 2nd level floor at the other block on the right (hidden from view) to take a shot of the group below.
Finally the group faced the cameras
Very much thanks to the organisers - SLA and Jerome for the series of tours for the past months since the starts of July 2017. Looking forward to the next tour in two weeks time.
 A tree with red berries
Well but not least, I saw one of the trees bearing red berries, don't offer edible bounties and many are highly poisonous, but the colourful fruits will brighten up the simply greenery of trees in the Old Beach Road Police Station.
Tree bearing bright red berries
A variety of both leafy, deciduous trees and needle covered evergreen offer red berries that add colourful highlights to our Singapore's landscape and the berries also attract song birds will love.
Currently, the GuocoLand Limited successfully won the bid tender of S$1.62 billion for Beach Road site during recent land sale exercise and plans to develop the site as "work-live-play" trends. The two 3-storey barrack blocks which are not conserved, possibly will demolish by successful developer as part of redevelopment in the future. So the developer will have the option to retain or demolish near the main building. The main building (U-shaped) built in 1931, is a simple 3-storey Art Deco Building, is given conservation status on 9 Oct 2002, must be retained.

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