The 7-storey red bricked structure at the junction of Alexandra Road and Commonwealth Avenue was an iconic landmark in Queenstown for many years. Built in 1956, its height and its construction layout was reminiscence of other 7-storey flats that used to exist in the former Princess Estate. Princess Estate was named after Princess Margaret.
Balloting for HDB flats
Several ministries was housed in this beautiful building that was restored a decade ago. First, it was the Housing and Development Board, which used to hold its balloting exercises in the 1960s for applicants who wished to stay in Queenstown (since Queenstown was the first housing estate!). It was also the venue for many conferences and "royal families" such as Prince Phillip to hang around in Singapore while understanding the future developments in a self-governing colonial state in the late late 1950s and early 1960s.
Next, in 1972/3, the Ministry of Environment was the next to occupy this building and a nearby 4-storey structure (as its annex) until 1989. There was this (in)famous press conference held on 8 September 1975 where Dr Koh Thong Sam, commissioner of pubic health, announced that the Ministry of Environment would suspend or cancel the license of itinerant hawkers found selling contaminated food or indulging in unhygenic practices while handling food. That announcement was followed by a series of raids (teh gu in hokkien) on the itinerant hawkers lurking in Margaret Drive and Tanglin Halt which marked the end of street hawking!
Annex was leased for Hephzibah Christian Fellowship
The iconic Princess House was unused
In 1989, Hephzibah Christian Fellowship took over the compound at the Annex. A kindergarten was established to serve the education needs of a growing young population at Strathmore. Heavy subsidies were given to students from low income families despite having different faiths and background. MyQueenstown Team understood from Mrs Tan, the coordinator at the church, that the lease for the church will be terminated at the end of this year. It was rumoured that further developments are planned for Princess House and the Annex.
Queenstown Residents, do you remember this 4-storey structure?
Mrs Tan, coordinator at the church