Farewell to the last of a trio

13 05 2010

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 disused River Valley Swimming Pool seen from Fort Canning Hill in 2009 .

The entrance and exit of River Valley Swimming Pool seen early this year which is still largely intact.

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.

The life guard post of the disused swimming complex as seen through the entrance, that was still intact earlier this year.

A close up of the life guard post that is now gone.

The pools have now disappeared, levelled with the filling of red earth.

Two excavators stand proudly over the buried pools.

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7 responses

14 05 2010
The “Corner House” « The Long and Winding Road

[…] “Corner House” 14 05 2010 On the subject of our lost swimming pools, I was reminded of another one that I frequented in my early primary school days. It was one that I […]

30 05 2010
365days2play

Oh no, I’d always meant to climb up Fort Canning to look down at the pools and I still haven’t done so all these years.

30 05 2010
The wondering wanderer

Thanks for your comment 365days2play … that was a certainly a very good view of the disused pools which you have missed!

15 08 2010
Erik

There used to be another landmark at the foot of Fort Canning Park. It was a Floral clock on the slope facing the Teochew Building on Penang Road. I think Fort Canning Park used to be called King George V park.

15 08 2010
The wondering wanderer

Thanks Erik, yes I remembered the clock … it was on the side of the hill as you mentioned, facing the Teochew Building … I did have a mention of it in another post about floral clocks and sundials:D

7 10 2010
Frankie

When I was young I was the so-called “grandma’s purse”; tagged along wherever she went. And she’s fond of visiting old friends and relatives to chat the whole day. One of my Aunt lived on the fourth (top) floor shop house opposite River Valley Swimming Pool, where Liang Court/Hotel Otani? is now. The old folks would be seated at the balcony Chit-chatting the whole afternoon till sunset. As incredible as their long-windedness, I was able to endure just sitting for hours and watch the activities at the swimming pool across the road on many visits.

356days2play, yes I think you could imagine the view from where we were would be much like from Fort Canning. Perhaps I was able to ‘not get bored’ at that time because such a view from high-rise must have been spectacular and was a novelty haha. You get a panoramic view of the area. Turning your eyes to the left would be the Van Cleef Aquarium and then the National Theater.

9 10 2010
The wondering wanderer

Thanks for sharing that Frankie! My impressions of the area were more of the United Engineers building and the side of the road at the foot of Fort Canning … don’t quite remember much of the other side where Liang Court is! Must have been a wonderful view you got from the balcony! :)

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