Sunday, October 24, 2010

Old Buildings Quiz (12)

In my previous post about Outram Park, some of my readers made mention of the Outram Prison. Personally, I have no recollection of this place. But thanks to Russ Wickson who sent me an old photo album containing photos taken by Sgt George Shaw in Singapore around the year 1948, I can show you what this prison looked like.


According to the Spore Infopedia,

“Outram Road, built in 1847, was then known as River Valley Road. It was also known as Cantonment Road and it stretched as a single road connecting to Keppel Road. In 1858 the road was separated from Cantonment Road and was named Outram Road in honour of Sir James Outram, for his heroic role in the 1857 Indian mutiny. Outram Road forms junctions with Tiong Bahru Road and Seng Poh Road.

The Outram Road Jail or the Pearl's Hill Prison, at the foot of Pearl's Hill which is now called Outram Park estate, was built in 1847. It was purchased by the HDB in 1966 for S$4.5 million and was demolished in 1968. The Outram Road School was first opened on 26 February 1906. Renamed Outram School in 1939, the school remained a primary school until 1954 when the school converted to a secondary school. Singapore General Hospital, located at the junction of Outram Road and New Bridge Road, was built in 1882.”

Below is another old photo from the George Shaw Collection. Can you identify this old Chinese temple? By the way, I do not know the answer.

38 comments:

stanley said...

Mr. Lam-thanks for your post. The photograph of Outram Prison brought back nostalgic memories as I recall the time I spent as a primary student at Outram Primary school which was located near to Pearl Hill Terrace. The Outram Secondary school was sited and faced the main Outram Road. I was then living at Guan Chuan Street in Tiong Bahru. My daily trip to and fro from Outram Primary school was to walk along Seng Poh Road, Sit Wah Road, and part of Man road before reaching the school. I remember I had to use the foot path which ran along the perimeter of the Prison Wall. The prison was enclosed by high white concrete walls. Most of the prison guards were made up of Sikh personnel. There were even open air cinema shows organised by the prision staff for their families. One of the prison walls facing Man Road was used as a screen.

I recall as students of Outram Primary school we had to sing "God Saves the Queen" during the morning school assembly.

Lam Chun See said...

So Stanley. Are you able to enlighten us about that photo. From which direction was it taken; Man Rd or Outram Rd?

stanley said...

Mr. Lam. So sorry I am unable to enlighten as to which direction the prison as shown in that photo. was taken. My memory of the outram prison is hazy and confined only to those area which I had access to.

Icemoon said...

Chun See, the photo could have been taken from Outram Hill. From that angle, you can see the prison perimeter wall at 90 degrees. Man Road could have led to the door of the building. You can see what appears to be a path leading to the door.

Unfortunately CTE/Chin Swee Rd cuts through the old Man Road and a temple is now sitting at junction of Outram Hill/Chin Swee Rd, so no chance for a "second shot".

peter said...

The chimneys were the prison laundry area. Somewhere between Pearl Bank Road and the reservoir direction.

yg said...

chun see, i remember something else about outram park. we used to eat at the dragon phoenix restaurant. we never failed to order the spring chicken and the yam basket each time we ate there. we followed it to valley point shopping centre (former f&n factory) and subsequently to novotel, clarke quay, where it is today.

Icemoon said...

Do any of the oldies here remember where is the prison's main entrance?

peter said...

Icemoon, The Prison main entrance is somewhere opposite the roundabout in the street directory. This was the same road you took to get to Outram School on the hill slope. We used that road to get to the resrvoir in 1964or 1965 then. Look somehting like Changi Prison, very high white colour walls.

peter said...

If I can remember well, there were no guard towers in Outram Prison like u see at each corner of Changi Prison but there was a tower at the main entrance. But sure whether that was guard tower or not. From the hill top you can see inside the prison - the blocks arranged something like Pudu Jail in KL.

peter said...

Now I can remember after seriously looking at Chin See posted that Outram Prison photo (next time make it high res n big cos eyes dont see well) - that one was the main entrance. The road slopes upwards from left to right so Pearl's Hill further to the right. I thin pohoto takne from somewhere outside fence of OUtram School. The chimney is way behind among the row of blocks - my memory tells me only 1 chimney.

Lam Chun See said...

After switching to new PC, I am unable to use my scanner. So I took a photo of the old photo. Anyway, the original photo is more than 60 years old and quite small, and not very clear in the first place. No matter how high the resolution, it won't make any difference.

Anonymous said...

Hi, when I was a kid I happened to be passing by Outram Prison where a large crowd was gathered outside its walls. Heard from people in the crowd that the prison authorities were hanging a number of prisoners who participated in the Pulau Senang prison rioting where the British warden was murdered by the condemned prisoners. Rgds, Leevan.

Lam Chun See said...

Peter. Did you view this photo from the one I sent you or from this blog? If you want to see details, you should open the photo that I sent you and zoom in. Can see quite a lot of details.

Lam Chun See said...

So none of you have a clue about this Chinese temple? If you know and want to blog about it; or do a second shot, let me know and I send a copy of the photo.

yg said...

chun see, could the temple be in another country, like in penang, ipoh or even, china?

jean said...

Could the temple picture be from the pre war period?It might have been ravaged by Jap bombs and thus destroyed.Just having a guess here.

Icemoon said...

Jean, photo taken around 1948.

To paraphrase our new Coordinating Minister for National Security, photo taken either from higher ground or not. In that case, higher building (i.e. pagoda). So look for temples below a hill or with pagoda.

Keith said...

I think this temple is the one diagonally opposite the current UE Square, somewhere near Institutional Hill road? Can't really confirm as I have not been to that place for a long time, but I'm quite sure the temple-looking like building is still there.

Lam Chun See said...

Strange. There are several photos of Outram Prison at the Picas website (dated around 60's). But none of them look anything like the one I posted. But one of them had a thin black 'chimney'.

Lam Chun See said...

I think Keith is referring to the Hong San See (temple) that YG just blogged about. And I think Keith is right. I saw some photos at Picas website and they look quite alike.

KL said...

The picture of the temple appears to me like PENANG - KOK LOK SRI MONASTERY.

A reference can be found from
www.a2o.com.sg
Image Number: 19980005928 - 0044

KL

Anonymous said...

http://sgdc.8.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?t=1093&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

sth interesting!!

2ndshot said...

Chun See, what happened to your MGS post?

What a coincidence! If only Chun See published this earlier, yg would have taken a second shot.

Lam Chun See said...

MGS Open House Day over already so I deleted the post.

Indeed what a coincidence. Maybe YG has Sixth Sense and knew that I was planning to post this photo. As for a 2nd Shot of this place; well ... Who you're gonna call?

peter said...

The roof design is Taoist rather than Buddhist. Penang Kek Lok Si is Buddhist and the central landmark is this single piece multi-storey "building" (I dont know what you call that).

Somewhere along Upper Changi Road in the 50s/60s near today's Fengshan was a very large Chinese temple on top of a hill. Not sure whether this is the one.

Icemoon said...

I checked out Hong San See today. I don't think the "little temple" is the one on the photo. The compound also looks different. In 1948 River Valley area should be quite built up, don't think we can find that plantation environment.

Lam Chun See said...

But if you look at the photo in Picas and compare it with the left section of my photo, they really look very similar. Maybe in 1948, the temple complex was much bigger than today. In Spore, a lot can change in 60 years.

Business Cash Advance said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
interactive map said...

Tags Marine police station is painted on the wall of the building. It's just that the image is too blurred. If you go to Picasa and do a search for marine police station or Empress Place, you can see a closer view of this building.

jlow said...

Hi Chun See, I was reading a book 'Through the bamboo window-chinese life & culture in 1950s malaya & singapore'. In the last chaper of this book, there are photographs with commentaries of temples. A few of them looks similar to the photo you have here, unfortunatley those photos were taken from different angles and I couldn't tell for sure it was the same as yours. You might want to get a copy of that book from the library for comparison.
Author: Leon Comber
Publisher: Singapore Heritage Society and Talisman Publishing Pte Ltd.

Lam Chun See said...

Mystery solved. And KL is right. Thanks to Lai Chee Kien with whom I have been communicating via Facebook, I am able to confirm that this temple is the Kek Lok Chi temple in Penang and not Singapore. George Shaw probably got confused and labeled it as a temple in Spore.

Chee Kien pointed me to one blog which had a present-day photo showing this building taken from the same angle; and the similarity is unmistakeable. But unfortunately I have lost it. Any reader who can find this website; pls share with us. Thanks.

MC said...

CS,

I think i found the blog. it shows the same angle in a modern setting.

http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/hardgraf/1/1280269691/tpod.html#_


BTW, did you know that if you pull up google maps and zoom into the Outram area, you can actually see the outline of the HDB tower blocks that were diagonal to the main road? Zigzag lines.

Lam Chun See said...

MC, Thank you for that link to the Kek Lok Si Temple.

Lam Chun See said...

Hey MC. You are right about the zigzag lines of the former HDB blocks at Outram Park. I shd go to the ground and check it one of these days. Aiyah - just passed by it yesterday :(

Maybe, this is a project more suited to Icemoons investigative skills.

Anonymous said...

According to a friend of mine, there used to have an old Buddhist Temple at Outram Hill area know as 圆通寺. The size of the the temple is quite big. Do anyone know about it?

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