It was with a tinge of sadness that I realised that the last of a trio of landmarks that stood at the bottom of the southern slope of Fort Canning Hill has gone the way of two of its former companions. We have already lost two icons that once stood there, the National Theatre and Van Kleef Aquarium which remain only in the memories of those that knew them. The third, the River Valley Swimming Pool, not so much an icon, but a feature nonetheless at the foot of Singapore’s Forbidden Hill has somehow remained intact all these years after its closure in 2003, until recently. I had mentioned in a post on what I referred to as the far side of the hill, that the swimming pool, that once served as the pool where as a schoolboy going to Saint Joseph’s Institution not so far away, I had gone for swimming lessons that were conducted for our Physical Education (P.E.), was awaiting its end, hoping vainly that it would not. Alas, its end has come, and what remains where the pool had been, is now levelled with red earth that the two excavators which proudly sit atop it must have had a hand in filling.
The swimming pool, as I had previously posted, was built in the late 1950s by the Singapore City Council. Designed by a British architect, M. E. Crocker, it opened in 1959. Little did I know it when I was a schoolboy, the complex was a haunt of men of the alternative orientation. The swimming pool does hold many memories for my schoolmates and me. One fondly remembers frequenting the pool not because of the men, but to watch the Saint Nicholas Girls’ School swimming team train there. The complex closed in 2003 and stood unused until the pools were filled up recently. At least, not all is lost, it does appear that the buildings that were part of the complex, are being refurbished. It is sad though to see that the pool is gone.