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May 19, 2013

Moving Mountains To Make Singapore


The Wiggins Teape Group advertisement in the 1960s was entitled:  
"To help make Singapore what it is today - mountains were moved".

Percy Carpenter's painting of "Singapore at Sunrise from Mount Wallich in 1856" is one of the best records of the settlement of that time.  But today (1960) Mount Wallich cannot be found.  Where has it gone?  It was completely removed in 1887 from the area of the present Cecil Street and Maxwell Road junction to fill in Telok Ayer Bay which in this picture is the inlet fronting the main street shown - Telok Ayer Street.


An aerial view of a similar photo inset in the advertisement and other related archived photos posted on this blog with the courtesy of the National Archives of Singapore (NAS), with acknowledgement and thanks to the contributors.


Bird's-eye view of East Coast, Singapore reclaimation in 1976

So today (1960) the busy bankers, financiers, traders and merchants who live and work in Stanley Street, Cecil Street and Robinson Road, are in effect working on the removed Mount Wallich.

Please check out 'Shenton Way - Then and Now' blog about Mount Palmer here .

The large building shown at the end of Telok Ayer Street was Singapore's first post office, situated on the river in front of the present Treasury Building.

Waterfront view of Singapore c  1925
 Next to it is the old Courthouse built in 1827 as a residence, and today (1960) it forms part of Singapore's Assembly House, St. Andrews is just visible to the left, then further left is the old Government House, on the hill with a flagstaff.  This was Raffles residence originally and was later occupied by his various successors till 1860 when it was demolished to make way for Fort Canning.

The Legislative Assembly House  at Empress Place  c  1954
Turn to the photograph now.  The white line (Telok Ayer Street) shows the extent of changes that have turned the "settlement" of 1856 into the "New York of Malaysia" that Singapore is today (1960).  The result of hard work and industry, and removing mountains.

Marina Bay Financial Centre

On 15 May 2013, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officially opened the Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC).  He posted on his Facebook update:
I felt good to see this project completed. I was involved in its inception in the late-1990s, when I was in MAS. Banks and financial institutions here were expanding rapidly. We decided to build a world-class business and financial hub in Marina Bay. The MBFC was the largest land parcel the Govt had ever sold at that time, and big risk for the developer to take. But the economy revived strongly after 9/11 and SARS, and the MBFC took off. Today 30,000 people work at the MBFC, and it is a beautiful addition to Marina Bay. - LHL


The Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC), as with all over Singapore, is work in progress ... always building, always developing, always changing for a better Singapore for generations of the future.

Additional information on the Singapore postage stamp published in 1971 with acknowledgement and thanks to Dr Tan Wee Kiat of ReTRIeVIA blog.

Wallich Street in 1970s

 

The old buildings at Wallich Street, Singapore were demolished for the construction of the Tanjong Pagar MRT Station, which was opened on 12 December, 1987.

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2 Comments:

Blogger WK Tan said...

Hi! James,
Your article mentioned Mount Wallich.
Your readers may like to know that
(1)there is a stamp with the
title,"View from Mount Wallich in 1857", issued in 1971 December and
(2) there is a Wallich Street next
to Tanjong Pagar MRT Station.
Regards,
tan wee kiat
===================

May 19, 2013 at 9:15 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thank you for additional info and memories of Mount Wallich, Wee Kiat. Much appreciated if you could email me the pictures to share with our readers on the blog. Regards. Thimbuktu

May 21, 2013 at 6:28 AM  

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