The other lost landmarks of Katong were located at the Heart of Katong – from Katong Shopping Centre to Still Road. I will just emphasize on the 4 main icons of Katong – Katong Bakery House, Tay Buan Guan, Joo Chiat Police Station and Katong People’s Complex . You can see the map below;
With the old names gone and new names over its place, it’s rather difficult to find them if you are not a regular at Katong. Even I am having trouble to locate the old TBG (Tay Buan Guan).
Katong Bakery House aka Red House Bakery
How I missed the fragrance when walking past this bakery shop. When it was there, I don’t seem so keen to pop in as it was rather old fashion and crowded. That was many many years ago when I was still in my 20s.
Located at 75 East Coast Road, the eye-catching red colored building has been an icon or landmark of Katong for many years.
It was around for 78 years since 1925 to 2003. It finally came to stop when it was deemed unsafe by the authority. It is said that Katong Bakery was the first to bake a 3-tier western wedding cakes in Singapore around 1920s. This bakery was famous for its curry puff too but I’ve yet to try it before…
So take a look of it in the past;
Photo Credit : Portrait of Places
And now how it looks (taken on 11 Jan 2008);
A subsidiary of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), is the legal owner of the property. So it’s currently undergoing restoration works and will it be an office unit or school or remain as a F&B outlet, let’s cross our fingers. Glad to know that this icon has been conserved by the authority.
Click here to learn more about this Red House Bakery.
Tay Buan Guan Supermarket
It was probably the first supermarket in the East set up in 1948 by Mr. Tay Leck Teck. Its business was badly affected by the newer shopping area nearby like Parkway Parade, and it finally wound up after 52 years in 2000.
Photo Credit : Portrait of Places
If you see the above photo, besides the name Tay Buan Guan, it also has the name Katong Shopping Centre.
It housed a Chinese emporium called Singapura Emporium, a pharmacy and a costume jewellery shop. This emporium occupied the 1st floor of the 4-storey building. The ground floor and 2nd floor were other departmental stores, while the 3rd floor was roof garden. The ground floor where the supermarket located also had a milk bar.
Click here to learn more about Tay Buan Guan Supermarket.
The TBG was located at 113 East Coast Road, on the same stretch as the Red House Bakery. Though I’ve walked past this TBG many times, but I’ve only been to inside only a couple of times, shame right?
So what has it becomes now? It has turned into a shop called “Rumah Bebe”, a Peranakan Heritage Home;
But is the structure still the same from afar;
Doesn’t look quite the same right? Though there is a year 1928 on the front, but how can we confirm that it was previously the TBG building? Let’s examine some ‘tell-tale’ signs left behind;
There are 2 TBG logos left behind on the 2 side pillars. The rest of the wall tiles and floor tiles, I’m not too sure if they are from the past;
The trishaw above seems to be part of the shop decoration. Now that the TBG was gone, I yearn to go in…are you like me haha?
Joo Chiat Police Station
Of course it’s one of those places that I don’t wish to go in. I have walked past it and also parked my car on the side road besides it when I wanted to visit that DBS bank there. The DBS bank was located at this GRTH No.66 Building;
On the left of this side road, is the old Joo Chiat Police Station now called the Katong Village or Hong Kong Tea House;
Take a look below when it was still a police station;
Photo Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS
So how old is this Joo Chiat Police Station building? Probably as old as the TBG building, about 80 years old. So when did this police station cease to be one? Maybe in 1980s if I’m not wrong.
Katong People’s Complex
Before I end this Old Katong episode, do you know what comes before Katong Mall?
Many may have forgotten the former Katong People’s Complex (not to be confused with People’s Park Complex though same developer) – the shopping complex with steel structure and gigantic pipes at the exterior. Some said the pipes constituted to the bad fengshui. Built in 1983 and aka ‘prison with pipes’ back then, the building was struggling with poor business and in 1994, a woman was shot by an unknown gunman.
Now take a look at this Katong People’s Complex in 1990;
Photo Credit : National Archives of Singaore, PICAS
Then what’s on this site before Katong People’s Complex? If you take a look at the 1970s Singapore Street Directory, you may find that it’s actually a market before this complex! This market was previously from the now Hock Ann Eating House site. Where is this market now…somehow it has now shifted to Marine Parade.
Read more about Katong;