Mountbatten Estate



Mountbatten Estate is one of the five subzones in the Marine Parade area within Singapore’s Central Region. It spans a total area of 161 ha.1 It was named after Lord Louis Mountbatten, who later became Earl Mountbatten of Burma.2 Today, Mountbatten Estate is described as an area with a mix of quality bungalows and residential apartments.3

History

Mountbatten Road, which stretches from Geylang Road to Fort Road, was formerly called Grove Road.4 On 29 May 1946, then Governor F. C. Gimson announced the name change during a presentation ceremony when Mountbatten, who was then Supreme Allied Commander, presented a Japanese gun and a Union Jack to the people of Singapore. The ceremony was held on the eve of his flight to London to attend the Victory Celebrations on the surrender of the Japanese forces.5


Located in the east coast, Mountbatten Estate was famed for its beach. The wealthy set up homes there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, dotting the estate with bungalows. A familiar sight along Mountbatten Road, the single-storey raised bungalows of the rich were nicknamed “millionaires’ bungalows”. Such houses were first built in India, and were found to be effective in keeping the tropical heat away as the under-floor ventilation kept the rooms cool.6

In 1991, Mountbatten Road was earmarked for conservation by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, with 15 bungalows along the road considered part of Singapore’s residential heritage.7 Among them were Chansville, the childhood home of famed siblings Pat and Mark Chan. The architectural styles of these bungalows range from Art Deco to Victorian to early Modern.8

In late 1993, the Eurasian Association (founded in 1919) had a clubhouse on Mountbatten Road.9 It was relocated to Ceylon Road in 2003.10

The campus of La Salle College of the Arts was on Mountbatten Road in 1992. Renamed LaSalle-SIA College of the Arts in 1993, its campus was relocated to McNally Street in the city area in 2003.11

Key features
Geylang River runs through Kallang Park and the housing estates along Tanjong Rhu and Mountbatten roads.12 The river used to have a bed of soft marine clay. During low tides, children in the neighbourhood would climb over the low concrete walls down to the river to catch fish and crabs.13 However, floods would occur in the Tanjong Katong area about 6 to 10 times a year during high tides. To address the problem, measures were taken to redesign and redevelop both banks of the river.14

In 1994, the Ministry of Environment completed a four-year development plan to deepen the river bed along the Tanjong Katong area. Its pumping stations were also upgraded. The project won the Construction Industry Development Board’s Best Buildable Design Award for its use of jet grouting in redeveloping the river into a U-shaped, reinforced concrete canal.15 Today, the river banks lead up to a park and is popular with strollers and joggers.16



Author

Vernon Cornelius



References
1. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1994). Marine Parade planning area: Planning report 1994. Singapore: The Authority, pp. 4, 6. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN)
2. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 263. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA]); Earl Mountbatten. (1947, October 23). The Singapore Free Press, p. 3; Mountbatten chooses his new titles. (1947, October 29). The Singapore Free Press, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (2016, July 28). Conservation districts: The good class bungalow areas and the Mountbatten Road conservation area. Retrieved 2016, October 2 from Urban Redevelopment Authority website: https://www.ura.gov.sg/uol/conservation/vision-and-principles/Conservation-Districts.aspx
4. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 263. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA]); Streetdirectory.com. (n. d.). Mountbatten Road (Primary Road). Retrieved 2017, June 17 from Streetdirectory.com website: http://www.streetdirectory.com/sg/mountbatten-road/20247_1.html
5. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 263. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA]); Supremo to present Jap gun to S’pore. (1946, May 25). Malaya Tribune, p. 2; Supremo’s tribute to Singaporeans. (1946, May 30). Indian Daily Mail, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Ang, W, M. (1993, August 14). URA places 500 houses in Joo Chiat, Mountbatten area under conservation. The Business Times, p. 1; Mountbatten: A place millionaires called their own. (1993, August 14). The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, pp. 291–293, 501–502. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
7. Mountbatten, Joo Chiat are conservation areas. (1993, August 14). The Straits Times, p. 44. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Bachtiar, I. (1993, August 5). Mountbatten houses to be conserved. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Eurasian Association turns 75. (1994, July 10). The Straits Times, p. 22; Fernandez, W. (1994, March 14). Eurasian body to mark 75th year in July. The Straits Times, p. 24; Fernandez, W. (1993, August 1). Eurasians to get their own centre. The Straits Times, p. 21. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Kor, K. B. (2009, July 18). Eurasian group to mark 90th year. The Straits Times, p. 30; Nirmala, M. (2003, July 4). All are welcome at new Eurasian House. The Straits Times, p. 27. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Lee, G. (1991, December 1). La Salle to get new campus in Mountbatten next year. The Straits Times, p. 27. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; LaSalle College of the Arts. (2015). History & milestones. Retrieved 2016, October 7 from Lasalle College of the Arts website: http://www.lasalle.edu.sg/about/history-milestones/
12. Goh, J. (1989, July 14). Geylang River gets clean bill of health. The Straits Times, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Yeo, K. (1995, May 27). New life for an old river. The Straits Times, p. 40. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Tan, H. Y. (1995, May 28). Floods in Tanjong Katong now a thing of the past. The Straits Times, p. 22; Yeo, K. (1995, May 27). New life for an old river. The Straits Times, p. 40; Yeo, K. (1995, May 27). Putting an end to flood woes. The Straits Times, p. 39. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Magnificent seven. (1994, December 2). The Straits Times, p. 38; Robert, C. (1995, May 27). A lovely river flows through it. The New Paper, p. 12; Tan, H. Y. (1995, May 28). Floods in Tanjong Katong now a thing of the past. The Straits Times, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. National Parks Board. (2015, December 14). Geylang park connector. Retrieved 2016, October 4 from National Parks website: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/gardens-parks-and-nature/park-connector-network/geylang-pc; Yeo, K. (1995, May 27). New life for an old river. The Straits Times, p. 40. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



Further resources
Mountbatten Community Centre Management Committee. (1981). Mountbatten Community Centre opening souvenir magazine 1981. Singapore: Author.

(Call no.: RCLOS 300.95957 MOU)

Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1995). Conservation guidelines: Our heritage is in our hands (Vol. 4). Singapore: Author.
(Call no.: RSING q363.69095957 CON)



The information in this article is valid as at 2015 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
Suburbs--Singapore
Street names--Singapore
Streets and Places
Urbanization--Singapore
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places
Geography>>Population>>Urban Planning
Arts>>Architecture>>Residential buildings
People and communities>>Social groups and communities
Urban planning