Saturday, May 08, 2010

Views from Singapore’s tallest building

In my previous post, I asked you for the identify and location of the ‘Nishat’ building in this photo by George Shaw taken around 1947. Well some of you correctly said that it was a cinema. In George Shaw’s photo album, he has these words neatly written next to the photo; INDIAN CINEMA (Hindustani only)

As for its exact location, we can confirm that it was indeed at Waterloo Street from this picture taken by Arthur Poskit in 1947. It’s the one with the dark roof. In Arthur’s album, these words were scribbled below the photo; “View from the Cathay directly down Bras Basah Road.

In fact, from this photo, we can see a few familiar buildings:

a) The Saint Joseph’s Institution – now converted to Singapore Arts Museum
b) The Cathedral of the Shepherd, and
c) The Raffles Institution – sadly demolished years ago to give way to Raffles City

Can you identify other places from this photo?

Below are a few more photos taken from the roof top of Cathay Building around 1947. Again, we should thank Arthur Poskitt, Russ Wickson and Peter Chan for generously sharing these photos with us.

This photo by George Shaw is in the direction of the National Museum (Thank God they did not demolish it when they built that tunnel)

This photo by Arthur Poskitt is in the direction of Selegie Road and Prinsep Street.

This photo from Peter Chan was taken in 1945 and its shows Selegie Road viewed from the balcony of the Cathay Building.


Edwin said...

Some of the landmarks - The old SJI field now SMU and the Bras Basah MRT Stn below it. The YMCA building besides the NISHAT (building with the 4-sided taper roof) and row of shops along Bras Basah Road (opposite the NISHAT) in its heydays were noted for its book shops where students all over Singapore flocked to.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I saw a post dating back 1 year ago, Ex Red Beret. May I enquire if you are from 1st Bn Cdo?

peter said...

Very interesting find Chun See.

Now if this building was to screen Hindustani movies, my guess is that it was probably used to entertain the Indian National Army (INA) under Chandra Bose. I have an aerial view which shows this same building was in existence prior to 1946. Some nagging tots here. The architecture of this Nissen Hut seems typically British military design, unless soemone tells me the Japanese also have a Nissen Hut design.

Anybody can shed light on this?

Eddy said...

It all gels up now.....

Before Cathay was renovated, there used to be a road below it...Although there was nothing in front, I found traces of small square tiles and stairs besides the road, which seems familiar to the front of shophouses... i was thinking to myself.. how can there be houses in front of a cinema..?!

When i saw this picture of Cathay and the houses below it...i know the reason FINALLY

Lam Chun See said...

Peter. Even if this Nissen hut was built prior to 1946, it doesn't mean it had anything to do with the Japanese right? Afterall many of the old British army camps like Selarang and Gillman Barracks were built long before the WW2.

Icemoon said...

The Japanese supported Chandra Bose and if the building was around prior to 1946 and used to screen Hindustani movies, possible it was built by the Japanese? But how to account for the British design?