Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Changi - Black & Whites





OK, so after months writing about visiting the Black and White colonial bungalows here this is, the final in the series I intend to cover. However they are many more Black and Whites that you can visit, either lone grandiose homes or more along tree lined roads, for example Nassim Hill, those around the Turf Club or even those on Mountbatten. So get out there and spot them :)

Today we visit probably, for me the one place in Singapore I had heard about before moving here - Changi, my father having had to whitewash coal there as a punishment during his stay here when in the Royal Marines!

Fortress Changi, as it's known as, was once a sago and coconut plantations situated in swampy ground, home to a few kampongs. In the 1920s with the build up of tensions in this part of the world, building first started here as the thoughts were any invasion would come from the East, how wrong they were! The Artillery Base was here from 1927-42 and after the Japanese Occupation it became RAF Changi until 1971 when the British left and the SAF took over. 




The area takes in 3 hills, Fairy Point Hill, Battery Hill and Temple Hill (where once a Chinese temple was situated) surrounded by swamp lands and attap homes it took 3 years to clear and build. There was also Changi railway which ran to the coast and to Changi pier bringing building materials from the quarries on Pulau Ubin.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s building ceased but resumed afterwards with completion in 1941. Although the road names are of British RAF Stations these were roads were actually renamed so after World War II. 

There are a vast array of buildings here of various sizes, from married quarters, barrack blocks, offices, clubhouses, messes, a hospital and even a university amongst many others. A large amount were demolished however many have now been taken over by large companies, banks, hotels etc and renovations are taking place at a great pace. It's good to see the area being cared for. 


Now turned into a swanky hotel



The large buildings on Biggin Hill were used for Changi university which was founded in 1942 and is now a nursing home.


The university now a nursing home.

Many of the buildings here being built later, than the traditional civil service black and white bungalows, are modern Art Deco, utilitarian, with flat roofs, simpler in design albeit with open verandas running along the outside. 


Modernized and now holiday chalets

The entrance to Changi Village Estate




The empty and supposedly haunted Changi hospital
The hospital now undergoing renovation and asbestos removal