Saturday, November 7, 2009

queenstown remand prison

today, we explored the margaret drive area. we had read about the closing down of the queenstown remand prison in august this year. we wanted to take some pictures before they demolish the buildings.

however, although it would appear that the inmates have been moved to cluster 2b at changi, there was still a skeleton staff manning the place. we could also see some activites - moving or clearing of furniture - at the staff quarters next to the prison.

some well-known personalities who have seen the inside of the remand prison include politician chee soon juan, actor christopher lee, t t durai (nkf), ta wee sung (ck tang) and american michael fay.

the remand prison was meant to be a place that would leave a deep impression of prison life for the potential prisoner. inmates could not expect to have a cushy time at the 'transit place'. in the early years, the prison cells did not have sanitation facilities within and the inmates were each issued with a toilet bowl instead. in the morning, they would dispose of the waste in the communal toilet.

before queenstown prison opened in 1966, remand prisoners were held at outram prison at pearl's hill. outram prison was built in 1847 and by 1945, it was overcrowded with over 500 inmates living in unsanitary conditions. there was an urgent need for a new prison with better facilities and more space to house the prisoners.

thus, in 1948, it was decided that the land at pearl's hill would be released for city developments and a new prison built elsewhere. however, it was only in 1963 that the final decision was reached to demolish outram prison and build a new one in queenstown.

situated off margaret drive at jalan penjara, queenstown remand prison, built to accommodate 300 inmates, was officially opened on 23rd September 1966 by encik othman wok, then minister for culture and social affairs. (from


Lam Chun See said...

A few weeks ago, I too went down to take some photos of this place for keepsake. Also the nearby polyclinic.

yg said...

chun see, i too took pictures of the former polyclinic. it is now the margaret drive dormitory.

Anonymous said...

Hi YG, Greetings from the Centre for Liveable Cities, Singapore! We are a division of the Ministry of National Development.

We are writing an article on Citizen Farm for our international magazine Urban Solutions, and are looking for an image of the former Queenstown Prison. Would you have a higher resolution version of the image, and would you give us permission to use this image, please? We will credit you accordingly.

As we are rushing to meet our publication of 30 JAN 2019 we do hope you can give us the image by today or tomorrow 29 Jan 2019.

thank you so much, and gong xi fa cai!

Nicole Chew