Beach Road Police Station



The Beach Road Police Station was built by the colonial government in the early 1930s.1 Part of the expansion plans of the local police force during that period, the station was one of many built in the city area and it had remained operational until 2001.2 The colonial-style building was accorded conservation status in 2002, and marked as a historic site in 2003.3 

Background
In response to the needs of a growing population, the police force in Singapore embarked on an expansion plan during the 1920s and 1930s, with infrastructural development accompanying this growth. New buildings erected for the police included the Central Police Headquarters in South Bridge Road, as well as police stations and barracks in central urban areas such as Pearl’s Hill and Tanjong Pagar. The Beach Road Police Station was one such station.4 


Completed in 1934, the three-storey Beach Road Police Station was a colonial-style building with a white facade.5 Located along Beach Road near the Raffles Hotel, it was built on land reclaimed beyond the 1843 Beach Road foreshore line.6 Other landmarks in the area included the Alhambra and Marlborough cinemas and the headquarters of the Singapore Volunteer Corps.7

Japanese Occupation and the 1950s
During the Japanese Occupation (1942–45), the Beach Road Police Station was used by Japanese forces as a holding centre for groups of Jews, Chinese and Indians before they were interned at Changi Prison.8 Towards the end of the Japanese Occupation in 1945, the police station was used as a registration centre for the evacuation scheme to Rhio Islands.9


During the 1950s, the Beach Road Police Station was involved in quelling riots fuelled by the Maria Hertogh custody case.10

Post-independence years
After Singapore became independent in 1965, the policy of providing officers with living quarters was gradually phased out.11 The living quarters were then refurbished during the 1970s and converted into offices.12 The Geylang Police Division (also known as “C” Division) used the Beach Road Police Station as its headquarters until May 1988, when it moved to its new premises in Paya Lebar. The Central Police Division (also known as “A” Division) then moved into the Beach Road Police Station building.13 


In 1985, the Police Force announced an increase in the number of divisional-headquarters stations from 8 to 13, so that they would be more accessible for the majority of the population.14 This was in line with the adaptation and implementation of the “Koban System”, in which police stations were to be identified with housing areas.15

Of the eight divisional-headquarters stations that were already in existence in 1985, four – including the Beach Road station – were situated in old buildings that no longer suited present-day needs since they were far away from the public housing estates they served. Three new stations were thus built in Paya Lebar, Ang Mo Kio and Bedok to replace them.16 These changes took place over several years, and the Beach Road station ceased operations in 2001.17

Station building 
In 2003, the former Beach Road Police Station building became the fourth location to be marked as a historic site by the National Heritage Board.18 From 2003 to 2006, the Singapore government announced plans to lease out about 13 disused state properties to private schools, including the former Beach Road Police Station building.19


The building was subsequently repainted a bright orange, and housed the Raffles Design Institute from 2007 to 2013.20 It was also the venue for SingaPlural, the main event for Singapore Design Week, in 2015 and 2016.21



Author
 
Faizah bte Zakari




References
1. Spending the colony’s revenue. (1931, October 2). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Big police programme. (1929, May 23). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 8; Yeo, A. (2002, September 5). NSmen’s memories to be preserved. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (2016, July 28). Former Beach Road Camp (includes Former SAF NCO Club Building and Former Beach Road Police Station). Retrieved 2016, October 10 from Urban Redevelopment Authority website: https://www.ura.gov.sg/uol/conservation/conservation-xml.aspx?id=FOBE; Growing list of historic sites. (2003, January 11). The Straits Times, p. H16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. New six-storey police building. (1932, May 25). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 11; Big police programme. (1929, May 23). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Great Britain Colonial Office. (1935). Annual report for Straits Settlement 1934 [Microfilm no.: NL 29301]. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, p. 55; Pereira, B. (1988, May 15). Beach Road police station closes as staff shift to Geylang. The Straits Times, p. 12; Cheam, J. (2007, July 6). Makeovers inject life into pre-war buildings. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Singapore Survey Department. (1954). Singapore street directory and sectional maps (Map 8). Singapore: Survey Department. (Call no.: RCLOS 959.57 SIN-[GBH]
7. Ramachandra, S. (1969). Singapore landmark. Singapore: s.n., p. 49. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 RAM-[HIS])
8. Chew, D. (Interviewer). (1983, July 24). Oral history interview with Albert Lelah [Transcript of cassette recording no. 000296/10/05, p. 57]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
9. Low, L. L. (1983, October 21). Oral history interview with Lim Choo Sye [Transcript of cassette recording no. 000330/16/13, pp.113—114]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/

10. Chew, D. (Interviewer). (1985, September 18). Oral history interview with George Kennedy [Transcript of cassette recording no. 000591/20/15, p. 179]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/

11. $3.2 mil pay boost for junior police officers on April. (1972, March 24). The Straits Times, p. 20; Ministries plan to phase out govt quarters. (1986, February 3). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Pereira, B. (1988, May 15). Beach Road police station closes as staff shift to Geylang. The Straits Times, p. 12; Jansen, P. (1980, May 30). Jurong steps into the mainstream of life. The Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Akbur, P. M. (2002). Policing Singapore in the 19th & 20th centuries. Singapore: Singapore Police Force, p. 109. (Call no.: RSING 363.2095957 PEE); Pereira, B. (1988, May 15). Beach Road police station closes as staff shift to Geylang. The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Lai, Y. K. (1985, August 5). Police plan to build five more stations. The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Drysdale, J. (1985). In the service of the nation. Singapore: Federal Publications, pp. 55–56. (Call no.: RSING 354.59570074 DRY)
16. Lai, Y. K. (1985, August 5). Police plan to build five more stations. The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Yeo, A. (2002, September 5). NSmen’s memories to be preserved. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Growing list of historic sites. (2003, January 11). The Straits Times, p. H16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Tan, H. Y. (2006, October 23). From disused state sites to private schools. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Cheam, J. (2007, July 6). Makeovers inject life into pre-war buildings. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore design show expects challenging venue search next year. (2015, March 26). TTG Asia. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; RafflesEducation. (2016). Corporate Information: Milestones. Retrieved 2016, October 18 from RafflesEducation website: http://www.raffles-education-corporation.com/Corporate_Info_Milestones.html
21. Singapore design show expects challenging venue search next year. (2015, March 26). TTG Asia; Zachariah, N. A. (2016, March 5). Singapore Design Week; More than 70 installations at SingaPlural. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/




Further resources

In by-gone days. (1914, October 15). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Tan, O. B. (2000). The public spirit. Singapore: National Crime Prevention Council: Public Affairs Department, Singapore Police Force.
(Call no.: RSING 364.40458095957 TAN)

Yap, E. (1996, April 14). Not quite the Golden Mile but there’s hope. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG. 



The information in this article is valid as at 2011 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
Architecture and Landscape>>Building Types>>Historic Buildings
Historic sites--Singapore
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings
Law and government>>Public administration
Police stations--Singapore
Historic buildings
Architecture and Landscape>>Building Types>>Civic and Administrative Buildings
Public buildings