The doors of some original five-storey Singapore Improvement Trust "SIT" (which is the Housing Development Board's "HDB" predecessor) blocks in Tiong Bahru can be found fitted with a slot for letters and the newspaper to be delivered through. Such 'through-door delivery' were the days when the post man was faced with the duty of delivering mail to the doors of the numerous flats in the heydays of Singapore. Until the early 1970s, post boxes were installed on the ground floors due to rapid increase in high rise apartment blocks being built which made it much easier for the post man to carry out his work.
Tiong Bahru SIT flats with their olden-day, 1950s look and unique architecture, are very spot-on, immediately recognizable features, especially against the typical high raised HDB flats and condos nearby which constitutes most of the modern Singapore landscape.
Today, many Singaporeans continue to live and visit the area, which is known to captivate people with its old charm. The beauty of Tiong Bahru estate is abundant and each district in Singapore has its own unique story to tell.
A keyhole cover that doors on HDB flats were fitted with. The keyhole cover in a semi-closed position.
A typical flat that has retained the original door and window louvres which would have been used for more than decades.
A comparison between the original door and a retrofitted door of two flat units.
A snapshot of the second generation old letter boxes in Singapore, which can also hardly be seen nowadays in most HDB estates.
Original windows and grilles which had been unchanged for decades.
Original steel grills, a signature look for apartments at the Tiong Bahru Estate.
Walkway at the pre-war SIT flats.
Preserving the unique charm of such district in Singapore while still keeping them functional for today’s generation will ensure that they will stay beautiful and relevant for many more years to come.
Tiong Bahru has a very strong place identity. It is almost impossible to miss the SIT flats in Tiong Bahru. One would definitely know that he is in Tiong Bahru when he sees the olden day, preserved SIT flats.