From Railway Track To The Centrepoint (Part 2 of 2)

…cont’d from Part 1

In part 1, I talked about the existence of railway track to the establishment of Cold Storage Depot in Orchard Road.

Cold Storage acquired a few shops at the corner of Orchard Road and Cuppage Road, which is today’s The Centrepoint. Subsequently around 1919, their first retail outlet was opened. To the oldies like Philip, Peter or Chun See, the most memorable should be the Cold Storage’s Magnolia Milk Bars in the 50s.  

Below photo shows how the Cold Storage looked like in 1956;

Here is another photo of the same location but Centrepoint in its place in 1980s;

Credit : Above 2 photos – National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

See the changes in 2004 below;

Credit : Robert Steiner

The old Cold Storage building has undergone many ‘physical’ changes way before 1983. Let’s take a look at some of the changes of the building itself.

In the 70s, there was an extension to the building added as shown below;

Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

See the pedestrian crossing just outside the Cold Storage building in 1977;

Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

Is the above crossing still there? Haha, I guess you know the answer! You can see the second photo on top or the one below (80s);

Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

How many of us are aware of the name changed from just Centrepoint (先得坊) or Centrepoint Shopping Centre to The Centrepoint? But which come first – Centrepoint or Centrepoint Shopping Centre? I’m not sure but I think they are used interchangeably. Take a look at the following photos;

This one was probably in the 80s when Centrepoint was opened:

Credit : Natonal Archives of Singapore, PICAS

See the side wall was named as just “Centrepoint”.

In 2004, you can see the wall changed to “Centrepoint Shopping Centre”;

Credit : Robert Steiner

You can also see the same name in this book titled “Portrait of Places”, which I think maybe in the 90s;

Credit : Portrait of Places

Now in 2009, the name is The Centrepoint. The name was changed to The Centrepoint in 2006;

We can see that even though in the 80s, the side wall and the front of the building was named just “Centrepoint”, the entrance to the building was “Centrepoint Shopping Centre”;

This one dated 1989;

And this one dated 1990;

Above 2 photos credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

So I think they are used interchangeably before the name changed to The Centrepoint.

The Centrepoint has 6 floors and featured a wide variety of tenants which include Robinsons, Marks and Spencer and the Dairy Farm Group which operates the 7-11, Cold Storage outlets in the mall. In fact, most of the time I usually end up shopping in Robinson only.

Credit : Taken by Terence Ong in 2006

So which is your favourite shops in The Centrepoint? When was your last visit to Centrepoint? Oh I have not been there for a long time…

Apology Note : I would like to apologise to those that have been spammed by my email system recently. I’ve checked and rectified with anti-virus software and if it still happen, pls let me know. Sorry once again.

What my father wrote;

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20 Responses to “From Railway Track To The Centrepoint (Part 2 of 2)”


  1. 1 peter Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Besides Magnolia Bar, the “shiokness” of going to Cold Storage for me were:

    1. Going into an aircon place like the supermarket

    2. Placing my hands into the cold freezer

    3. Learning all about the kind of food the Caucasians eat, e.g. potatoe chip, cheese, fresh milk, beef (sirlion, ribeye, porterhouse, ect)

    4. Sampling free food during food promotion

  2. 2 Lam Chun See Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    “To the oldies like Philip, Peter or Chun See, the most memorable should be the Cold Storage’s Magnolia Milk Bars in the 50s.”

    No way. Kampong boys like us where got money to go to those kind of places. In the 70’s though, I vaguely remember Cold Storage and Fitzpatrick

  3. 3 Victor Koo Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 12:09 am

    Heng ah. I am not considered one of the oldies who knew Magnolia Snack Bar. :p

  4. 4 Icemoon Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    The 4th photo shows Orchard-Koek Road junction, evidenced by the bus. The 5th photo (Santa Claus) shows Orchard Road, evidenced by the traffic. So 4th and 5th are different views.

    The crossing is no more. The current one is at Orchard Emerald. The old one would be in front of Centrepoint. Peranakan Place lies between them.

    Will be interesting if anybody can identify the buses (two of them) in the photos.

  5. 5 laokokok Friday, November 20, 2009 at 7:49 am

    I wonder why I don’t enjoy going to the supermarket when I was young.

  6. 6 laokokok Friday, November 20, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Even I’m not a Kampong boy, I don’t get to go down to Orchard Road often.

  7. 7 laokokok Friday, November 20, 2009 at 7:51 am

    Victor, I always forget that you are actually older than me. So I guess you should be included….hehe.

  8. 8 laokokok Friday, November 20, 2009 at 7:55 am

    Now I believe what Victor said about you Icemoon. Your trained eyes are so sharp and I wonder is it because you saw the road sign stating “Cuppage Road” on the wall of the building (4th photo). You are right that both buildings are of different sides.

    Now looking carefully at the 1st photo, I’m wondering if Cold Storage consists of 2 separate buildings?

  9. 9 peter Friday, November 20, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Cold Storage was 2 separate buildings. One was Magnolia Bar nearer to Emerald Hill, then a yard for lorries to unload and then the supermarket building. There was a small shopping mall on top of the supermarket.

  10. 10 peter Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 5:45 am

    Now my memory comes back. There was a dining area above Magnolia Bar. The decor was more like a cofeehouse unlike down stairs which had an American soda pop theme.

    The dining area had brown colour decor furniture with wooden panels separating the square dining tables and soft floor standing lightings (a bit warm white colour for the lights) and in-the-ceiling lightings. A white table cloth was placed on each time.

  11. 11 Kimology Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 12:31 am

    I remember the milk shakes, Banana Split ice-cream which is a meal in itself, the set lunches for $4 or $5 in the Magnolia Snack Bar and the Indonesian Buffet, Rijsttafel or something, the first time I had buffet but can’t remember the exact place.

  12. 12 Milly Saturday, November 28, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    So interesting to see Orchard Road almost empty of cars in the 1960s! Now it’s so congested. And I never realised that Cold Storage has been around for so long…soon it will be 100 years. I hope they have some nice promotions to celebrate 🙂

  13. 13 Icemoon Sunday, November 29, 2009 at 2:32 am

    Milly, your comment would be valid few years back. Cold Storage celebrated its centennial in 2003. 🙂

  14. 14 laokokok Monday, November 30, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Thanks Peter. That confirms my mistake hehe. So Cold Storage was 2 separate building and I guessed both sides looked similar.

  15. 15 laokokok Monday, November 30, 2009 at 7:44 am

    You must be quite a regular there Peter to remember such details.

  16. 16 peter Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    Now I recall more about Cold Storage, the tenants.

    1. Salad Bowl was above the Magnolia Bar
    2. Chanrai’s, Hilda’s and one posh restaurant on the top level of the supermarket.

  17. 17 py Sunday, December 27, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    I am liking the section “What my father wrote”. I found myself reading whatever has been posted under “What my father wrote” and just merely browse quickly what you have written. 😉

  18. 18 Terence Teo Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Hi Peter,

    Salad Bowl was the name of the coffee house that was situated in the main Cold Storage Building, in the upstairs area called the Arcade (your “posh restaurant” I think!). When my mum wanted to go to the wet market, we used to drive down Cuppage Road, turn right into the back entrance to Cold Storage, then turn left and park our Fiat 124 just at the back staircase, that lead up to the Arcade, and opened up to a corridor area that was between The Toy Shop (white and blue wrapping paper) and the Salad Bowl, with the Bata shop directly in front. If you turned left and walked past Salad Bowl to your left and the Bata shop to your right, it would be a book store at the corner directly in front. If you turned right past The Toy Shop, it would be a row of clothes shops (Bibi and Baba if I am not mistaken, and also a Texwood/Levi’s shop) then up a short flight of stairs to the Arcade area directly above the main Cold Storage supermarket hall. This area had a hobbyshop selling sports equipment and Cox model flying aircraft etc, and a big ladies’ shop called Hildas (I still have a plastic bag from that shop, will hunt for it and post a pic), and I remember there was also a shop selling records, you had to go into a sound proof room to test out records!

    I really loved the old Cold Storage, and if any one has old pics of the building and its shops, please could you post them, thanks!

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