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Sep 7, 2011

Old Roads (1) - North Buona Vista Road

Old Buona Vista Rd under the canopy

I posted this quiz almost two weeks ago, that is to guess the old road behind the foliage. It must have been a challenging quiz as despite three mundane clues and one interesting clue - the road is still around just realigned - nobody got it right. One Anon was close ("near Dover MRT") and I almost wanted to declare a winner until I realized Dover MRT was not the MRT station I had in mind for my clue. I wrote that the road is near and within walking distance to MRT, but I deliberately omitted one crucial piece of information - the station is not functional yet. The station I had in mind was the soon-to-be-opened "One-North" Circle Line station.


Old North Buona Vista Rd and Ayer Rajah Expressway
The old North Buona Vista Road looking towards AYE and NUH/medical faculty.

I accidentally "discovered" the road when I was still gunning for my bachelor at NUS. As I was based around the Science faculty, it was convenient to access the makan places at Dover estate opposite the expressway. Today the area consisting of eleven blocks of flats has been selected for en-bloc; the car park in front of Blk 30 was eerily deserted when I checked out the old road in Aug 2011 for this blog.

The heritage landmark, beside the obvious old flats and food center, would be the Dover Playground with its animal theme - a familiar sight to us folks using the overhead bridge from NUS to Dover estate. Much as I appreciate heritage, however I did not have a good impression of this sand-based playground as it was a breeding ground for mosquitoes; the bites stayed with me, not the wounds but the memory of getting bitten. Needless to say, I did not spend too much time at the playground back then.

Old North Buona Vista Rd from Ayer Rajah Rd
A "lost heritage" beside the Dover estate car park - the boulevard that is the original North Buona Vista Road.

So what can one do at Dover estate with some time to spare and a cold drink in your hand? One day I must have felt adventurous and since the mosquito ground playground was out, I decided to explore this little forested area beside the Blk 30 car park (there are two car parks in the estate). Imagine my surprise when I found myself standing in the middle of a tree-lined boulevard. The way the trees are planted is intriguing - why are they neatly spaced out on both side of the turf, as if to mark out a corridor?

Even when I was not that acquainted with Singapore heritage during my university days, I had this nagging suspicion that this was no normal boulevard. Could the "corridor" be an old road that was expunged? No trace of the bitumen exists, unfortunately. It was only later when I started blogging that I began to take an active interest in local heritage; with that came the resources and answers. My hunch was right. Over the years I would witness transformation taking place around it; when construction for Circle Line commenced, they set up camp on the open field (the MRT line went under the field) in the first photo of this blog article but never got to touch the strip of land, the boulevard that is the original North Buona Vista Road. In fact the trees in 2011 are the same as I last saw them many years ago when I was undergraduate in NUS.

1960s Street Directory
1960s street directory showing the original alignment of North Buona Vista Road at Pasir Panjang area. From Nepal Circus (beside Nepal Park), it would join Dover Road and then Ayer Rajah Road. North and South Buona Vista roads were not linked directly last time.

2011 Bing Maps//
A "second shot" of the above street directory using Bing Maps (2011). Dotted arrow shows what would have been the original alignment of North Buona Vista Road. After 50 years, Ayer Rajah Road has became the familiar AYE and very much widened; other old roads would be Kent Ridge Road, Dover Road and Portsdown Road from this comparison.

Junction of Ayer Rajah and North Buona Vista Rd
How the Kent Ridge area changed over the years. Top aerial from Peter Chan's article, bottom from Google Earth. The original North Buona Vista Road would be under the tree canopy today.

18 comments:

Visqueraient said...

Ach! Wrong MRT station! I knew the block poking out of the trees had to be in the Clementi/Dover area :)

Lam Chun See said...

Your quiz is really tough. I have been using this road regularly for the past few decades and yet I am not able to answer. Also I did not know about the One North Station.

Lam Chun See said...

In fact, I often go to the nearby Dover Market.

peter said...

Chun See, why not take free mrt ride on circle line this Oct 2?

Nick Jacobs said...

Great post & thanks for sharing. I shall go take a run there some time

Pat said...

@ Icemoon: "I had this nagging suspicion that this was no normal boulevard. Could the "corridor" be an old road that was expunged?"

Usually, such green "boulevards" are the remnants of abandoned/ expunged KTM railway corridor, which S'pore could not (officially) touch before 1 July 2011. It's indeed refreshing to discover the location of another expunged road. The site of the former North Buona Vista Rd reminds me of a turfed & better-maintained version of the expunged Lorong Gaung (dirt-trail) along Clementi Rd.

So I guess North Buona Vista Rd was realigned during the construction of AYE during the mid-1980s ? The map in my 1970 street-directory is almost identical to your 1960s map -- except that by 1970, the loop along Ayer Rajah Rd had been expunged.

North Buona Vista Rd remains the same in my 1978 street-directory, although Kampong O'Carroll Scott had disappeared, & Nepal Circus (which connected North Buona Vista Rd with Portsdown Rd) seems to have been changed from a circular roundabout to a triangular one. And based on the National Archives' "Town Map Sheet 4/912 - 01/01/1980)", North Buona Vista Rd remained unchanged in 1979/1980.

Pat said...

Icemoon & other geographical/ historical aficionados -- To digress a little, do you happen to know anything about Kampong/ Kampung O'Carroll Scott that was located near the former North Buona Vista Rd's junction with Ayer Rajah Rd ? I couldn't find any meaningful info about this kampung from NHB's online databases, or the internet.

However, it appears that the kampung was named after a decorated British military officer, Major-General Anthony Gerald O'Carroll Scott (1899-1980). He served in Burma during WWII, & was the Commander of the "Singapore Base District" from 1951-1954, until he retired from military service in 1954. Apparently, Scott was also the president of the British Falconer's Club in the 1960s.

Info sources for Anthony Gerald O'Carroll Scott:
1) Survey of the Papers of Senior UK Defence Personnel, 1900-1975 (King's College London)
2) Documents Online (The National Archives UK)
3) Generals from Great Britain (Generals.dk)
4) The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American birds (pg 277) (Google Books)

peter said...

Pat

There were 2 Malay kampungs at that time (cant recall their names. O'Carrroll was one, the other I think was Scott). One was in the present NUH Hospital and the other the NUS Conservatory.

South Buona Vista Road was not the present alignment. It ran inside Kent Ridge Wing of NUH Hospital. There was an old 2-story pre-wwII bungalow where Kent Ridge Station is. The new medical block behind Kent Ridge Station was a big carpark long ago.

Icemoon said...

Pat,

I blogged about Lorong Gaung in my railway post here. When I was in Maju Camp recently which has been upgraded from the 1960s camp, I wonder where is Lorong Gaung the entrance to the camp.

Good research on the kampong named after the British officer. It is marked in the 1960s street directory but I can't see it in the aerial.

Pat said...

@ Peter: "There were 2 Malay kampungs at that time (cant recall their names. O'Carrroll was one, the other I think was Scott). One was in the present NUH Hospital and the other the NUS Conservatory."

The 1970 & 1975 street-directories locate Kampong Tulloch at the current NUS Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music site (near Clementi Rd). This army settlement initially housed the British Gurkhas & from 1954 onwards, the married Malay officers of the British Army. (The majority of the latter were Malaysians with families in S'pore.) By 1956, there were ~1,300 Malay families living in new 2-storey concrete shophouses in Kg Tulloch.

The settlement was named after Major-General Derek Donald Cuthbertson Tulloch aka DDC Tulloch (1903-74), who succeeded Maj-Gen Anthony Gerald O'Carroll Scott as the General Officer Commanding (G.O.C.) of S'pore Base District from 1954 to 1957. During his stint, Tulloch spearheaded the construction of the "Tulloch Plan" settlements, which aimed to provide "decent" army homes for married Malay soldiers scattered in various kampong "slums".

A military scion, Tulloch served in the Royal Artillery & Indian Infantry (Special Forces) in France & Burma during WWII. He was especially renowned as the aide-de-camp to Maj-Gen Orde Wingate during the 1943-44 2nd Chindits expedition. After the war, Maj-Gen Tulloch was appointed aide-de-camp to Queen Elizabeth II from Jun 1953 to Jun 1955.

1) Short Biography & Appointments (DSO - Imperial Service College)
2) CHINDITS 1944 (2nd Expedition) (Special Forces: Roll Of Honour)
3) Transcript of DSO Citation (London Gazette - 18 May 1944)
4) Wingate in Peace & War (Derek Tulloch - Macdonald & Co, 1972) (Amazon Books)

Besides the above, more info about Tulloch is available from various online issues of the London Gazette, several military websites & the Wiltshire county records.

SG Newspapers has several articles related to Tulloch &/or Kg Tulloch:
5) Journalist & Soldier are Decorate (photo of Tulloch) (ST - 29 Jul 1956)
6) The GOC hits out (S'pore Free Press - 21 Jul 1954)
7) Married Troops get Homes (ST - 07 Aug 1954)
8) Troops like the Tulloch Plan homes (ST - 18 Aug 1954)
9) 'Hello', said the General's wife to little Zaini (ST - 31 Jan 1956)
10) Letter from frustrated Kg Tulloch resident after PUB cut off water-supply upon British military demobilization (ST - 14 Jan 1972)

Other resources:
11) Opening of Malay Families' Welfare Centre at Kg Tulloch - showing Mrs Mary Tulloch, wife of Maj-Gen Tulloch (PICAS - 30 Jan 1956)
12) Snippet from S'pore Year Book: Vol. 68 (S'pore Ministry of Culture) [Google Books}

Malaysian blogs about Kg Tulloch:
13) Sikamat Kem Seremban (06 Feb 10) - Google's translation
14) Pra Sekolah Di Singapura (25 Dec 09) - Google's translation
15) A quiet Eidul Adha (21 Dec 07) -- zhmi's comment (2:38pm)

Pat said...

Repost. Submitted comment got published & then disappeared ...

@ Peter: "There were 2 Malay kampungs at that time (cant recall their names. O'Carrroll was one, the other I think was Scott). One was in the present NUH Hospital and the other the NUS Conservatory."

The 1970 & 1975 street-directories locate Kampong Tulloch at the current NUS Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music site (near Clementi Rd). This army settlement initially housed the British Gurkhas & from 1954 onwards, the married Malay officers of the British Army. (The majority of the latter were Malaysians with families in S'pore.) By 1956, there were ~1,300 Malay families living in new 2-storey concrete shophouses in Kg Tulloch.

The settlement was named after Major-General Derek Donald Cuthbertson Tulloch aka DDC Tulloch (1903-74), who succeeded Maj-Gen Anthony Gerald O'Carroll Scott as the General Officer Commanding (G.O.C.) of S'pore Base District from 1954 to 1957. During his stint, Tulloch spearheaded the construction of the "Tulloch Plan" settlements, which aimed to provide "decent" army homes for married Malay soldiers scattered in various kampong "slums".

A military scion, Tulloch served in the Royal Artillery & Indian Infantry (Special Forces) in France & Burma during WWII. He was especially renowned as the aide-de-camp to Maj-Gen Orde Wingate during the 1943-44 2nd Chindits expedition. After the war, Maj-Gen Tulloch was appointed aide-de-camp to Queen Elizabeth II from Jun 1953 to Jun 1955.

1) Short Biography & Appointments (DSO - Imperial Service College)
2) CHINDITS 1944 (2nd Expedition) (Special Forces: Roll Of Honour)
3) Transcript of DSO Citation (London Gazette - 18 May 1944)
4) Wingate in Peace & War (Derek Tulloch - Macdonald & Co, 1972) (Amazon Books)

Besides the above, more info about Tulloch is available from various online issues of the London Gazette, several military websites & the Wiltshire county records.

SG Newspapers has several articles related to Tulloch &/or Kg Tulloch:
5) Journalist & Soldier are Decorate (photo of Tulloch) (ST - 29 Jul 1956)
6) The GOC hits out (S'pore Free Press - 21 Jul 1954)
7) Married Troops get Homes (ST - 07 Aug 1954)
8) Troops like the Tulloch Plan homes (ST - 18 Aug 1954)
9) 'Hello', said the General's wife to little Zaini (ST - 31 Jan 1956)
10) Letter from frustrated Kg Tulloch resident after PUB cut off water-supply upon British military demobilization (ST - 14 Jan 1972)

Other resources:
11) Opening of Malay Families' Welfare Centre at Kg Tulloch - showing Mrs Mary Tulloch, wife of Maj-Gen Tulloch (PICAS - 30 Jan 1956)
12) Snippet from S'pore Year Book: Vol. 68 (S'pore Ministry of Culture) [Google Books}

Malaysian blogs about Kg Tulloch:
13) Sikamat Kem Seremban (06 Feb 10) - Google's translation
14) Pra Sekolah Di Singapura (25 Dec 09) - Google's translation
15) A quiet Eidul Adha (21 Dec 07) -- zhmi's comment (2:38pm)

Pat said...

2nd attempt at repost. Icemoon - My 2 previous submitted comments disappeared from view, altho I think you might be able to see them in your blog Inbox.

@ Peter: "There were 2 Malay kampungs at that time (cant recall their names. O'Carrroll was one, the other I think was Scott). One was in the present NUH Hospital and the other the NUS Conservatory."

The 1970 & 1975 street-directories locate Kampong Tulloch at the current NUS Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music site (near Clementi Rd). This army settlement initially housed the British Gurkhas & from 1954 onwards, the married Malay officers of the British Army. (The majority of the latter were Malaysians with families in S'pore.) By 1956, there were ~1,300 Malay families living in new 2-storey concrete shophouses in Kg Tulloch.

The settlement was named after Major-General Derek Donald Cuthbertson Tulloch aka DDC Tulloch (1903-74), who succeeded Maj-Gen Anthony Gerald O'Carroll Scott as the General Officer Commanding (G.O.C.) of S'pore Base District from 1954 to 1957. During his stint, Tulloch spearheaded the construction of the "Tulloch Plan" settlements, which aimed to provide "decent" army homes for married Malay soldiers scattered in various kampong "slums".

A military scion, Tulloch served in the Royal Artillery & Indian Infantry (Special Forces) in France & Burma during WWII. He was especially renowned as the aide-de-camp to Maj-Gen Orde Wingate during the 1943-44 2nd Chindits expedition -- about which he published a book shortly before his death in 1974. After the war, Tulloch was appointed aide-de-camp to Queen Elizabeth II from 1953-55.

Some references below. For more, view this LINK.

1) Short Bio & Appts (DSO - Imperial Service College)
2) CHINDITS 1944 (Special Forces: Roll Of Honour)
3) Troops like the Tulloch Plan homes (ST - 18 Aug 1954)
4) 'Hello', said the General's wife to little Zaini (ST - 31 Jan 1956)
5) Letter from frustrated Kg Tulloch resident after PUB cut off water-supply (ST - 14 Jan 1972)
6) Opening of Malay Families' Welfare Centre at Kg Tulloch - showing the wife Mrs Mary Tulloch (PICAS - 30 Jan 1956)

Pat said...

Re-engineered attempt at repost, since Blogger keeps eating up my submitted comments. (Icemoon - If this disappears too, you can possibly reveal it by replying to it.)

@ Peter - I think the 2 kampongs along Ayer Rajah Rd are Kg Tulloh (near Clementi Rd, now NUS Music Conservatory); & Kg O'Carroll Scott (near former alignment of North Buona Vista Rd).

@ Icemoon - Kg O'Carroll Scott is visible on the 1956 aerial photo. It's the cluster of terrace houses facing North Buona Vista Rd's former junction with Ayer Rajah Rd.

Both of the above kampongs are British-planned & built "modern" army settlements for married Malay soldiers & their families. They were named after S'pore's 2 General Officers Commanding (G.O.C.) in the 1950s.

My findings & detailed comments are at:
* Kg Tulloch: LINK1
* Kg O'Carroll Scott: LINK2

For cross-reference, I've also complied some maps of N & S Buona Vista & the above 2 kampongs:
* 1970, 1975, 1978 maps
* 2011 map vs. Peter's 1956 photo-description

Pat said...

Note: Typo in 2nd sentence of my above comment -- should be: Kampong Tulloch, which was named after Maj-Gen Donald Derek Cuthbertson TULLOCH.

@ Peter: "South Buona Vista Road was not the present alignment. It ran inside Kent Ridge Wing of NUH Hospital. There was an old 2-story pre-wwII bungalow where Kent Ridge Station is. The new medical block behind Kent Ridge Station was a big carpark long ago.

The alignment of South Buona Vista Rd today resembles that back in the 1960s/70s -- except the section beside NUH is straightened, & the southern end was lengthened to meet Jln Mat Jambol.

Do you have photos of the pre-WWII bungalow at the current Kent Ridge MRT Station ? Was this part of the cluster of senior British army-staff bungalows along Kent Ridge Rd ? (Btw Nos. 6 & 7 are missing from Street Directory's 2011 map. OneMapSg's version shows even fewer bungalows. I wonder why ?)

Peter, btw I borrowed a screenshot of your 1956 aerial photo-cum-description of North Buona Vista Rd/ Kent Ridge for juxtaposition against my compiled 2011 map. Hope that's ok.

Also see this 01 May 1981 PICAS photo of a Chinese temple -- description: "Entrance of an unknown temple which could be somewhere near Ayer Rajah Rd; The name of temple is indicated on the black signboard above the gates." Does anyone have any idea ? What might the temple's name be in English ? I can't find any temple in the 1970s street-directories (which have lots of misleadingly-empty space in any case.)

Pat said...

[REPOST]: Typo in 2nd sentence of my above comment -- should be: Kampong Tulloch, which was named after Maj-Gen Donald Derek Cuthbertson TULLOCH.

@ Peter - Btw I borrowed a screenshot of your 1956 aerial photo-cum-description of North Buona Vista Rd/ Kent Ridge for juxtaposition against my compiled 2011 map. Hope that's ok.

The alignment of South Buona Vista Rd today resembles that back in the 1960s/70s -- except the section beside NUH is straightened, & the southern end was lengthened to meet Jln Mat Jambol. Do you have photos of the pre-WWII bungalow at the current Kent Ridge MRT Station ? Was this part of the cluster of senior British army-staff bungalows along Kent Ridge Rd ? (Btw Nos. 6 & 7 are missing from Street Directory's 2011 map. OneMapSg's version shows even fewer bungalows. I wonder why ?)

Also see this 01 May 1981 PICAS photo of a Chinese temple -- description: "Entrance of an unknown temple which could be somewhere near Ayer Rajah Rd; The name of temple is indicated on the black signboard above the gates." Does anyone have any idea ? What might the temple's name be in English ? I can't find any temple near Ayer Rajah Rd in the 1970s street-directories (which have lots of misleadingly-empty space in any case.)

Pat said...

@ Icemoon: "I blogged about Lorong Gaung in my railway post here. When I was in Maju Camp recently which has been upgraded from the 1960s camp, I wonder where is Lorong Gaung the entrance to the camp."

Yeah, I remember seeing your blog-post about Lorong Gaung. Had this always been a dirt-track ? The 1970 & 1975 maps depict Lor Gaung with dotted lines, but the 1975 map "upgraded" much of it into a solid line.

Might Lor Gaung's entrance to Maju Camp somehow be connected to the also-expunged Lorong Shahada ? The latter dirt-track ran from the western end of Lor Gaung, & traversed behind S'pore's Boys' Home (now Children's Aid Home ?) & Ngee Ann Technical College (now Poly), before reaching the northern side of Clementi Rd.

peter said...

Reply to Pat ".....The alignment of South Buona Vista Rd today resembles that back in the 1960s/70s -- except the section beside NUH is straightened, & the southern end was lengthened to meet Jln Mat Jambol. Do you have photos of the pre-WWII bungalow at the current Kent Ridge MRT Station ? Was this part of the cluster of senior British army-staff bungalows along Kent Ridge Rd ? (Btw Nos. 6 & 7 are missing from Street Directory's 2011 map. OneMapSg's version shows even fewer bungalows. I wonder why ?)

If I am not wrong when I drove past there was a 6 and 7 just after the short-cut down to MD 11 for KE Hall boarders. What is interesting is the old Kent Ridge Road stopped at that Center for Learning (or what ever you call it) and the Library.

Bungalows on top of Kent Ridge ar e post-WWII. The pre-WWII bungalows which could be for officers at Alexandra Barracks were scattered from Kent Ridge Wing thru Science Park 1. Yes I have a 1927 photo of the area. Another photo was taken from what is Bukit Chandu towards Hyderabad Road. In the latter photo, the pre-WWII bungalows were already built - not sure if some of them exist till today.

Probably the Normaton Oil Storage farms were already built but on the side of today's Normanton Park. The oil farms nearer to present Alexandra Hospital were built after 1935. I think you should talk to Icemoon who has found something hot about the sites of the massacre of patients by Japanese during WWII.

Thanks for pointing out Kg Tulloch. That name sounds familiar.

Icemoon said...

Pat, i just checked. The temple should be at AMK St 61. Beside it would be the future Yio Chu Kang CC.

Good work on the map illustration! Do you keep a blog on your investigative work?