Usually, I will not bring Little One along for Heritage walks as she tends to
disturb talk to me when the guide is talking. This time round, I had no choice because Hubby was serving his National Service. However, I was glad to bring Little One here because of her love for chandeliers and this place has lots of them. The place is so grand that she enjoyed herself very much exploring around that day. Our guide was a staff member of UBS.
Located at 17 Kheam Hock Road is the UBS Wealth Management Campus. It is a training and conference facility designed to train, develop and certify UBS employees and clients in the Asia Pacific region. Not many would have know that this is the Command House. It was the official residency of the British General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Malaya. It was known as the Flagstaff House then. It was the second Flagstaff House in Singapore. The first Flagstaff house was located in Mount Rosie before the GOC moved over to this building.
|The Former Command House is well hidden from view if you are standing at the gate.|
The $100,000 Flagstaff House occupies 11.5 acres area of land, on the west side of Kheam Hock Road leading to Sime Road and the Singapore Golf Club (now the Singapore Island Country Club), was completed in August 1938. It was the residence of 16 British military officers, a Speaker of Parliment and a President. It was rented to UBS in 2007 and was gazetted as a monument in 2009. The campus is not opened to public and hence it is a rare opportunity to be able to visit the place during this special heritage tour.
|Former Command House|
|The butterfly plan lay out is most clearly seen from the front of the building|
|Roughcast plaster finish and facing brickwork with arches.|
The building is designed for tropical living, and features a large overhanging roof as well as large doors, windows and vents that allow good cross-ventilation.
|I can't help but notice these bars. I asked our guide but she is not sure why these were installed. They were already there when they rented the building. I noticed the same structure at Goodwood Park Hotel.|
By December 1941, the area surrounding Flagstaff House was known as Sime Road Camp, a military base that included the Royal Air Force Headquarters. GOC Lieutenant-General A. E. Percival, who was in charged of the army, and Air Vice Marshall C. W. H. Pulford had established the Combined Operations Headquarters of the British Army and Air Force. It was from the Headquarters that Percival commanded the Malayan Campaign against the Japanese and the battle for Singapore. On 11 February, as Japanese troops were drawing near, command operations were moved to the bunker at Fort Canning (now known as the Battle Box), and Sime Road Camp was abandoned.
During the Japanese invasion, the Sime Road area near Flagstaff House was the site of heavy fighting. After Singapore fell to the Japanese, Sime Road Camp became an internment camp when more than 3,000 prisoners of war were transferred there in May 1944. while the Flagstaff House was used as the Japanese soldiers’ quarters.
|At entrance, towards left wing. Love the chandeliers!|
|A room with grand furnishing.|
|Little One was enjoying herself. You can find a list of British Military Occupants (16 of them) including A.E Percival|
|The monument was featured as part of the collection for 2010 National Day stamp issue and First Day cover. The First Day cover and stamps are displayed on top of the chest of drawers in the above picture.|
As the guide bring us around, we noted the rooms were named after plants, such as Ixora, Banyan and
Mahogany. If I am not wrong Banyan room used to be the ex-President's living room and Mahogany Room was his dining room. Tembusu Room was his study room. His bedroom was the Ixora room (located on the second floor on the left wing) with a walk in wardrobe.
|(Left)This used to be a Walk-in Wardrobe (Right) Mr Ong's bedroom|
|View from the window. (Left wing)|
|View from the balcony|
|An extensive garden|
|The roughcast plaster rending is obvious in this photo|
|View from Right Wing. Tennis Court|
|The 3 car garage and the servants quarter|
|Pineapples are found here too!|
|There are dry and wet kitchen in the building. This is the dry kitchen.|
|Back of the building|
|Simply love these arches|
|Particularly love the idea of loving the bench under the shelter and the facing brickwork. Such designs creates such wonderful patterns.|
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