Travelling along Orchard Road in the 1970s had a very different feel than it does these days. Far from being the bustling crowded shopping hub it has since been transformed to, Orchard Road had more of a sleepy feel to it back then. The best recollection I have relates to the stretch from around the Scotts Road junction to Dhoby Ghaut, which I often visited with my parents.
The Scotts Road junction was where the old Lido Cinema building stood next to Shaw House, across from Liat Towers on the other side of Orchard Road. While old Shaw House and Lido has since been demolished, giving way to the new Shaw House which houses the Lido Cineplex, Liat Towers still stands. The branch of Standard Chartered Bank located in Shaw House was one that my mother made frequent visits to.
On the opposite side of Scotts Road, where Tang’s Plaza is now, you would be greeted by the old C K Tang building. Opposite this, across Orchard Road and what was then the open canal, was the distinctive roof structure of the Indonesian Embassy, the Wisma Indonesia, where Wisma Atria now stands. Further along was the old Champion Motors showroom and Fitzpatrick’s Supermarket, probably around where the Paragon now stands. Opposite that there was the old Ngee Ann Building, which housed a number of Specialist clinics as well the the popular Mont D’or Cake Shop, which my parents often got our birthday cakes from.
Heading further down the road, you would come up to the Heeren Building – not that I remember much of it except for a barber shop at the corner. The area maybe a little further down was a little more interesting for me. The old Cold Storage Supermarket, from which my mother would buy the chipolatas and cold cuts which I always looked froward to digging my teeth into. Next to the supermarket on the nearer side of the entrance to the car park, there was the Magnolia Milk Bar which my mother often brought me to to satisfy my childhood cravings for Milk Shakes and Pies. Opposite Cold Storage was an open air car park which Hawkers took over in the evening – referred to as Glutton’s corner, which my parents would sometimes go to if we visited Cold Storage in the evenings or late afternoons. What my parents frequented more was the well known Beef Noodle stall at Koek Lane, close to the old Orchard Road Market. Koek Lane has disappeared as has the Beef Noodle stall, which initially moved to the food centre at Cuppage Centre (which is now Starhub Centre), but has since moved from the area.
Further down the road, memories were rather vague, at least until Plaza Singapura was built around 1974. What I can remember is the Borneo Motors showroom next to MacDonald House, MacDonald House itself and Amber Mansions at the end of Orchard Road near Dhoby Ghaut.
Of the other end of Orchard Road near Tanglin, again I don’t recall much except for the Air India advertisment which greeted you on the side of a building at the junction with Orange Grove Road, which provided the effect of the turbaned Maharaja taking a bow, through the sequencing of the neon lighting mounted on the advertising board.
Added on 27 Aug 2009:
Source: Straits Times 24 Aug 2009