I just got my key when they first opened in 1983. I mean my 21 years old ‘key’ when Centrepoint first opened in 1983 at Orchard Road. Many of us have witnessed the changes of the landscape occuppied by Centrepoint over the years. Even Centrepoint itself have undergone major ‘facelift’ throughout all these years.
When I was young and still staying with my godparents, I seldom visit the Orchard Road area except for the occassional Sunday Tim Sum at Peking Restaurant. I started going to Orchard Road was when I owned my first car (a Ford Laser 1.3 then) but Centrepoint was the area I would avoid. I disliked the turning to the carpark and so I usually ended up at Plaza Singapura (my favourite).
To be frank, I don’t visit The Centrepoint that ofen even until now. Let us now take a look at the changing landscape at Centrepoint. Take a look at this map, from the book “Federated Malay States Railways, 1921″;
Credit : Federated Malay States Railway, Cornell University Library.
From the above map, we can only see that the railway passed through Orchard Road, and this was shown in many of the old postcards and photos as well.
The above postcard (not dated) shows the elevated railway track above Orchard Road near the Emerald Hill. Now take a look at the bottom postcard showing the same place without the railway track;
Credit : Above 2 postcards, Singapore Philatelic Museum
Now take a look at another postcard below with the train on the track;
It is said that when the train crosses above, the pedestrians will come to a standstill as the Chinese believed that it will bring bad luck if the train crossed above your head. Anyway from the above postcard, can you tell where is the current Centrepoint located (left or right side of the postcard)?
Below is another view of the same location in 1989 (of course Centrepoint was already built then);
Cold Storage acquired a few shophouses in Orchard Road in 1917 and this was probably known as Cold Storage Depot then. So is the railway track still there when Cold Storage was at Orchard Road? Let’s take a look at another old map from the book “An official guide to eastern Asia v.5″;
Credit : Cornell University Library.
From the above map, we can see clearly where the Cold Storage Depot was and the railway track. This was probably in 1920s, and Cold Storage took over the buildings around 1917 – so it tally. Below is another photo in 1913 showing the railway track at Orchard Road;
Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS
You can take a look at the below photo (probably from the 60s) and the Cold Storage was already there (on the left, building with flag poles on top);
Credit : Singas, Mr. Terry Goodyer
Note : You can also see this photo and the current year photo in Icemoon’s blog.
to be cont’d in Part 2
What my father wrote;