Saturday, November 19, 2016

Sixty-six years ago over Hillview

I found another old RAF aerial photograph, taken in 1950, of the area above what would become Hillview Avenue.

At the end of World War II, the British Military Administration, in order to conduct a mapping survey of Singapore Island, found that the fastest way then, given the limited resources, was to do an aerial photo mapping survey. The task was given to the RAF Photo Reconnaissance Squadron 81.
The magnificent pictures they took are now in the National Archives.

In 1950, Princess Elizabeth Estate was not constructed yet as the site was only considered in 1951.
Union Carbide Co Ltd, maker of the Eveready Batteries, and Malayan Guttas Ltd, manufacturer of Wrigley Chewing Gum, were the only factories then located at Hillview Road. The massive factory complex on the right of the picture is the Hume Pipe factory wth the Manager's Staff Housing located behind on Hume Heights.

Fuyong Estate, which was built by philanthropist Lee Kong Chian, was a row of houses facing Upper Bukit Timah Road. These were meant as low cost houses to cater to the shortage of housing in those days. This row of houses is still in existence today, but has been converted as eateries and restaurants called Rail Mall.. Terrace houses would later be privately built behind the row of low cost housing and incorporated as part of Fuyong Estate.

On the top left are the Public Works Dept (PWD) offices which ran the adjacent PWD granite quarry for gravel used mainly for road building works. Part of the pastureland of The Cold Storage Dairy Farm can be seen beside the PWD offices.

On the top right is the Singapore Quarry, privately owned by Mr Chia Eng Say, whose namesake is now given to the road fronting Rail Mall at Fuyong Estate.

Notice the KTM railway line that runs across the picture with the grider bridge over Hillview Road.
If you look very carefully at the land just beside Upper Bukit Timah Road, left from the black truss  bridge onwards, you will see some remnants of long streaks in the ground.

These long streaks were the original Tank Road-Kranji Railway line that ran alongside Upper Bukit Timah Road. (You didn't know that, right?) The  old railway line was dismantled and replaced by the KTM Line that was built further uphill. The 1957 Chartered Bank would be built over the old track line.

Click on the picture to get a more detailed and enlarged view.