Singapore Improvement Trust set up in 1927 and focused on infrastructure, it also built small scale public housing estates listed below. In 32 years, SIT built only 23,000 flats, housing 8.8% of Singapore population in 1959.
This page was split up from HDB history & floor plans 1930-2010 which became too long, after I wrote too much information about demolished SIT estates, which is not of interest for typical visitors of my website who are looking for floorplan of standing HDB blocks.
List of SIT developments:
Note: SD = Street Directory, actual building year unknown so I have indicated the year of first Street Directory which displayed the street around blocks. I also used libmaps.nus.edu.sg which include few historical maps plus a satellite photo from 1950 that shows many building that no longer exists today, but I have trouble identifying which are public housing.
- Unknown-named estate near Lorong Limau, first houses ever built by SIT, built in 1932 (source), demolished around 1970, new HDB blocks built in its place.
- Tiong Bahru pre-war, 20 blocks, about 700 flats, built in 1936-1939, now conserved.
- Tiong Bahru post-war, 55 blocks, about 1200 flats, built in 1948-1953, 25 blocks demolished around 2000.
- New Bridge Road Estate (in Central), unknown number of blocks built in 1938, demolished in 1975, replaced by Kreta Ayer Centre.
- near Upper Pickering Street (in Central), 5 blocks, 3 residential and 2 offices, 9 floors, built in 1952 being the first high-rise public housing in Singapore and first buildings infamous for suicide jumpers. Last two demolished in 2003.
- Outram Hill (in Central), 3 blocks, 122 flats, built in 1953 (source: NAS link broken due to error in my WordPress and I cannot find exact document anymore), do not confuse with Outram Park built by HDB in 1963.
- Stamford Estate (in Central), 7 4-storey blocks (1-7), 112 flats, 3 9-storey blocks (11-13), 200+ flats, built in 1950s, demolished 2004-2007 (blocks 8-10 “Selegie House” were added by HDB in 1963).
- Winstedt Court (in Central), 3 blocks demolished around 2000.
- Alexandra North Estate (in Bukit Merah), 75 blocks, most of them 3-storey, estimated about 1200 units, built in 1950s, demolished in 1990s.
- Redhill Estate (in Bukit Merah), 21 7-storey blocks, 882 flats, built in 1955, scheduled for demolition in 2017.
- Silat Estate (in Bukit Merah), 15 3/4-storey blocks, 262 flats built in 1949/1952, demolished in 2011.
- Unknown-named estate around Delta Avenue (in Bukit Merah), unknown block types, demolished around 1980.
- Guillemard Road Estate (in Kallang), mostly terraced houses, about 300-400 units estimated from aerial photo, built in SD 1957, demolished around 1990.
- Kallang Airport Estate (in Kallang), 70 blocks of which 42 7-storey, about 2600-2700 flats counted from aerial photo, built in SD 1958, 13 blocks demolished around 1990, 40 blocks demolished in 2000-2003, 15 of remaining 17 blocks at Dakota Crescent scheduled to be demolished in 2016 (all rental).
- Jalan Besar Estate (in Kallang), 17 blocks, built year unknown, demolished 1990s, Kerrisdale Condo sits there.
- Rayman Estate (in Kallang), built year unknown, last seen in SD 1966 (may be this the real name of 1932 estate at Lorong Limau?)
- Durham Estate and Owen Estate (in Kallang), 18 blocks of unknown type built late 1940s, 17 of them demolished in 1970s and redeveloped as Kampong Java Estate. Block 25 Owen Road, 2-storey with 12 shops and 12 flats, was the first SIT block built after war in 1947, it was demolished in 2013.
- Norfolk Estate and Tasek Utara Estate (in Kallang), unknown number of blocks and their type, built late 1940s, demolished in 1980s for Central Expressway.
- Princess Elizabeth Flats Estate (in Kallang) known later as Farrer Park Estate, 19 3-storey blocks, built early 1950s, demolished around 2000.
- Princess Elizabeth Park Estate (in Bukit Batok), 24 blocks, built in 1951-1952, demolished 1996 (source: ijamestann.blogspot.com). 16 artisans shops and quarters, 84 flats in six 3-storey blocks, next year 84 flats were added in two 7-storey blocks.
- St. Michael’s Estate (in Whampoa), build starting from SD 1958, was planed as a big estate of terraced houses, but just few were built before SIT was dissolved, and HDB scrapped original plans and built it using 10-storey blocks. An unknown number of 9-storey SIT blocks were built, demolished around 1990.
- Temple Estate (in Toa Payoh), at least 39 3-storey blocks, estimated 500 units, built in 1950s, demolished in 1980s.
- Lake View Estate (n Bishan), 14 blocks single or double-storey terraced houses, built in 1950s, demolished in 2000.
- Bukit Panjang Estate (in Choa Chu Kang), 32 blocks of single-storey terraced houses, built in SD 1958, demolished around 1990, land used by CCK blocks 150-159.
- Queenstown New Town, details below.
- Plus many small estates or isolated blocks in or around Central Area, demolished long time ago and forgotten
SIT also started work at Alexandria Hill, Kampong Tiong Bahru and MacPherson Road estates in 1959, but the blocks themselves were completed by HDB.
Tiong Bahru Estate, old map and old aerial view (1936-1953)
Notice in the aerial view, 3 blocks under “Trust” word? they are on Outram Hill and I appreciate if anyone can tell me more info! (do not confuse with Outram Park built by HDB in 1963)
See more Tiong Bahru photos on Wikipedia
Upper Pickering Street (built 1952, demolished 2003), first high-rise public housing (with lifts), notice the kitchens facing to corridor (no floor plan available). Source: nas.gov.sg.
Princess Elizabeth Park Estate, single-storey artisans quarters in foreground (built 1951), 3-storey and 7-storey blocks in background (built 1952), demolished 1996. Source & more photos: https://ijamestann.blogspot.com/2011/12/photos.html.
Stamford Estate, 4-storey SIT blocks in Short Street / Prinsep street (built 1950s, demolished 2004-2007), Rochor House (9-storey, built 1950s, demolished 2004-2007), and Selegie House (20 floors, tallest public housing at its time, built 1963, standing). Source: nas.gov.sg.
Queenstown, the first “Satellite Town” being built far away from city, was started in 1952.
The first neighborhood – Princess Margaret Estate (today known as Dawson) was finished in 1959. Using the aerial photo, I count about 1700 units in blocks 31-128, cannot count the blocks 1-30 and 129-135. The block 39 “Forfar House” was completed in October 1956, having 14-storey it was the tallest residential building in Singapore until 1963 when the 20-storey “Selegie House” was built, also known for suicide cases. Seven 7-storey blocks were built nearby, all other blocks were 3/4-storey and terraced houses. Demolition began in 1990s and was completed in 2001.
In late 1950s the work just begun for Neighborhood II – Duchess Estate and Neighborhood V – Queen’s Close Estate, both were almost completely demolished in late 1990s.
SIT was dissolved in 1960, HDB took over construction of Neighborhoods II and V and started Neighborhood III – Commonwealth and Neighborhood IV – Tanglin Halt, completing the Queenstown in 1964, with 17,500 flats.
In addition of the original plan, HDB added Neighborhood VI – Mei Ling (late 1960s) and Neighborhood VII – Buona Vista, comprising Dover, Ghim Moh and Holland Village (1970s), making a total of 7 neighborhoods and about 27,000 flats.
Old map: British proposal of Queenstown composed mostly by terraced units, different than the actual town, vs HDB proposal in 1960 with redesigned Commonwealth and Tanglin Halt neighborhoods (notice that Mei Ling was not yet proposed) Source: nas.gov.sg.
For more photos look in National Archive of Singapore.