Archive for September 11th, 2007

That Red Brick Library – Part 1

I remember that was how it looked like in the 60s/70s. If I’m not wrong, my last visit there was during my secondary school days in the 70s. After the Fort Canning Tunnel was completed, what remained are the 2 red brick pillars (previously located at the entrance of library);

Significant changes are seen in these areas of the old National Library!

Check here for a more detail of the History of National Library.

Maybe a brief Time Line of the National Library may help;

1823 : A small collection of books were started in Singapore Institution (known Raffles Institution in 1950). Mainly for the British and priviledged class. Below shows the old Raffles Institution at Bras Basah Road where the current Raffles City stands;

1862 – 1876 : The Library was then transferred to the Town Hall (known as Victoria Memorial Hall). The postcard below shows the old Town Hall;

1874 : The British Colonial government took over the library and renamed it Raffles Library.

1876 : The Raffles Library again relocated back to Raffles Institution.

1887 : The Raffles Institution moved to the domed shape buidling (now National Museum) along Stamford Road. It was also known as the Raffles Library and Museum Building. The library was located at the West Wing.

Photo Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS.

1942 – 1945 : During the Japanese Occupation, the library was renamed as Shonan Library.

1945 – 1953 : After the Japanese surrendered, the BMA (British Military Administration) took over the running of the library.

1953 : Dato Lee Kong Chian offered S$375,000 to build a free public library and the British accepted the offer. The old St. Andrew’s Chapel and British Council Hall located at the Stamford Road were demolished to make way for the then new red brick library. Below shows the then British Council Hall located at Stamford Road;

Photo Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS.

Below shows Dato Lee Kong Chian laying the foundation stone at the library in 1957.

Photo Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS.

1958 – 1960 : The library then was a project of the then Labour Front and the National Library was officially established in 1958.

Below shows the Mobile Van of the then Raffles National Library.

Photo Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS.

1960 : The Public Works Department (PWD) completed the red brick library in 1960 and it was opened by our late President Inche Yusof bin Ishak. Finally the National Library was at this red brick building at Stamford Road and separate from the National Museum.

1995 : In 1995, the National Library Board was formed.

2004 : The old red brick National Library was officially closed on 31 March 2004.

Photo Credit : National Library Board.

2005 : The National Library moved to its new premises at Victoria Street in 22 July 2005. The library consists of two 16 storey blocks, with three basements. It has the glass building like in contrast to the old red brick look.

Do you still remember those old library cards (borrowers’ cards)? Think one need to deposit a small amount of money and get these 4 beige colored cards;

Credit : Emily Lim

Or do you remember the Due Date slip pasted on the inside of the front cover of the books you borrowed?

The above are no longer in use now. All you need is just to scan your IC or Student Pass at the Borrowing Machine (after you have registered as member) to borrow a book. A Loan Receipt will be printed from the machine showing the due date;

There are still many good memories of the red brick library itself and the surrounding, but I’ll continue in Part 2……

To be continued in Part 2…



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