Monday, 27 April 2015

Rochester Park - Black & Whites

It's sad but when you search Rochester Park on the internet all the information is on restaurants, no real history on the buildings themselves. Yes, the restaurants are in renovated Black & Whites, making a delightful green, shady stop for a drink or a meal but, I wanted to find out more about these buildings and the ones still sitting empty, slowly decaying. It is good to see that renovation is now taking place on the many empty ones.

Rochester park is situated just a short 5 minute walk from Buona Vista mrt. It sits along with the colonial bungalows of Nepal Hill off of North Buona Vista Road. Nepal Hill was so named after the Ghurkhas that come from Nepal and was once home to their officers. These homes are now a 4 acre development facility owned by the Unilever Group. 

Renovated 17 Rochester Park, home to BASF

Rochester Park is made up of 40 colonial bungalows that were built in the late 1930s and 40s, many with asbestos roofs, something I have never seen on any of these buildings before. Many of those waiting to be renovated have these which no doubt will be replaced by the red tiles we are so used too. 

asbestos roofing

The houses were home for the British army officers based at nearby Alexandra at the Pasir Panjang Camp and it was named after the British port of Rochester on the South coast of England. They stayed as such until the British pulled out in 1971 and the government took them over and privately rented them out, predominantly to expats, who could afford the high rentals. At this time many of the colonial bungalows were painted black and white, something which they wouldn't have originally been. In fact true Black and Whites are really only those that have a large amount of exterior timber (Tudor style) which was painted black.  

The houses were conserved on the 24  March 2010 and although many are in a poor state of repair it is heartwarming to see that there is a renovation project taking place. Although I know a few people who disagreed with me I was impressed with those that had renovations completed. 

13 Rochester Park. Now renovated

If the information I read is correct, along with the trendy leafy restaurants of Rochester park, many that have been there since 2006, a further 20 are being developed into retail outlets and what is described as a villa resort so I'm assuming this is the redevelopment I witnessed. 

Walking passed the restaurants left me rather cold, although I agree it would be a nice place to while away a few hours with nice food and a good bottle of wine.The  other homes which are still waiting for TLC, nestled along the windy cul de sacs, surrounded by overgrown trees and bushes, home to many mosquitoes! These are  surprising quiet and tranquil considering how close to main roads, mrt etc they are, these appealed much more to me but that's probably just the old romantic in me!

12 Rochester Park. More of the renovated which I am assuming are the 'villa resort' 

No. 40 still waiting for some tlc
No. 14

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