Friday, March 25, 2011

Old Buildings Quiz 13 - Answer


I believe this church was located within the Tengah Air Base in 1965. Today, it is occupied by the Calvary Tengah Bible-Presbyterian Church. Below is a photo taken on 14 March 2011.

I believe the original photo was taken from within the Tengah Air Base and hence Choa Chu Kang Road should be behind the church; in other words from the North towards the South direction. I wanted to take a ‘second shot’ from the same angle and distance. It would be very interesting to note the difference; especially the background. According to John Harper, that area used to be mainly vegetable farms; but today it’s the Kranji Expressway and more. Even the name of Choa Chu Kang Road has been changed to Old Choa Chu Kang Road. But unfortunately, I could not because this church is now outside the Tengah Air Base. That small road with the cars is now separated from the church building by a heavily fortified fence.

Here’s another view of the church from the car park. Notice the fence on the left. On the right would be the main road.

When I put up the quiz, I thought only somebody like my friend John Harper who used to live in Meteor Road within the Tengah Air Base would be able to identify it. It would be difficult for a Singaporean to do so unless he or she has actually visited this church. It is a very small church and being on an elevated ground is not easily visible from the main road. Hence, even my friend Icemoon who has blogged several times about Choa Chu Kang and Lim Chu Kang could not identify this church. As it turned out, Tyler, who traveled along CCK Rd frequently during his NS days in the 1990s was able to give the correct answer.

9 comments:

JollyGreenP said...

I am sure this building must have been constructed after 1959. Had a look for to it on Google maps street view and it is sitiated near to what was a secondary gate into the base on the married quarters side of the runway, not far from Meteor Road. Spinning the street view I can see the water towers that were close to the Sergeant's Mess. In 1959 this area was completely empty grassland. In those days the church was located on the right next to the swimming pool just up from the guardroom, a little further to the right was the Astra cinema.

Barbara said...

The church was still on the main camp side of the runway (the gate to the married quarters was beyond where the road bends round the bottom of the runway). If you're on Facebook, there's a (not to scale) map of the camp as it was in the 60s amongst the Tengah Primary School group photos (taken from the book "Tengah 1939-1967 A Short History" Ed by K Appleyard)

JollyGreenP said...

Thanks Barbara, although the map is a bit distorted and out of scale I can see where the building is situated and why the water tanks seem to loom over it. You are right about the position of the South Picket Gate. In 1958/59 this church had not been built and the CE church was the one numbered 42 on the map and described as the SCFC church. I am now wondering when exactly this church was built.

Barbara said...

I couldn't see any reference to that in the book. In 1961 a new runway was opened, along with an Operations Headquarters and a new Air Traffic Control, so perhaps the church was built around the same time?

I found another photo here http://www.artfuldobson.com/PeterDobsonsSingaporeMemor/My%20favourite%20sign%20at%20RAF%20Tengah.html which might add a few landmarks.

R. Burnett Baker said...

Wow, you jolted my memory banks with these church photos! I believe I attended a baptism there in 1981 or 1982, and have a photo somewhere of me and my friends on the front steps of that church. It's got to be the same church unless you know of another one in Singapore that is built with the same architecture.

I'll have to dig for the photo....

Rick

Lam Chun See said...

Hi Rick. Do you remember the name of the church at that time?

wayne lim said...

i take 172 every now n then... always wondered abt the history of the bldg. thanks guys!

notabilia said...

I just discovered your blog and wanted to tell you that it's not only a great resource for Singaporeans but us newcomers who have an affinity for urban history and architecture. Thank you for all you do.

Daniel said...

the pix of the church bring back memories when I was serving my NS days at Tengah Air Base. A group of us Christians would go there to pray during our lunch break. Our unit was located next to the church.