Saturday, October 9, 2010

people's park market

people's park complex is a 31-storey commercial-cum-residential building on eu tong sen street, within the chinatown area. the shopping centre was completed in 1970 and the residential block in 1973. it was then the largest shopping complex in singapore and it was the first to have an atrium within a shopping centre. the developer was a gan eng seng alumnus called ho kok cheong.

what was here before the complex was built?

photo from national archives of s'pore

the people's park complex was built on a site that started off as an open public park at the foot of pearl's hill. the park later became the people's park market. the hokkiens called it 'chin choo pa sat', the pearl's market. there were outdoor stalls selling textiles, sundry goods and food, much like the former beauty world town at 7th mile upper bukit timah road.

'people's park market used to be singapore's oldest pasar malam (night market) housed in pre-war zinc sheds'....caption for the national archives' photo.

however, the difference was that people's park market was set up and managed by the municipality or the city council. it was more organised and there were concrete pavements around the stalls. beauty world at 7th mile was more like a maze, with stalls, some in attap shacks, set up in a haphazard manner.

the outdoor stalls at people's park market were arranged in rows, just like those in a covered market, but they were packed closer together so the place was rather warm and stuffy. some referrred to it as singapore's version of hong kong's 'ladies street'. it was patronised by people of all races. tourists were also attracted to this market. the day market sold fresh food and vegetables. the night one was more like an open-air restaurant, selling cooked food and drinks. there was always the bargain offers of dresses, textiles and household goods.

both people's park market and beauty world town suffered the same fate - they were destroyed by a big fire. fire gutted the people's park market on 24/25 dec 1966. the loss amounted to a million dollars. in the case of beauty world market, there were about 5 fires, the last one being in 1977.

after the big fire at people's park market, the former stallholders were given places in a temporary shopping centre along the same road.

in my next blog post, i will feature the beauty world market.


Lam Chun See said...

This used to be one of my regular shopping places. I mentioned before that my brothers and I used to buy our Lifting shirts at the ground floor.

yg said...

chun see,

This used to be one of my regular shopping places...

were you referring to people's park complex or people's park market?

FL said...

Before the multi-storey People's Park Complex was built in the early 1970s, the place was a wet market with numerous sheds as shown in the archive photo. When I was about 8 or 9 years old, my late dad used to bring me along to this place in Chinatown. I can still recall those years, the market was congested, dirty & smelly, but then who care about hygiene in those early Singapore years. Most people were poor then. Even Eu Tong Sen Street fronting the old market was filled with hawkers along the road pavements. Those days, the big drain running along Eu Tong Sen St/New Bridge Rd was not covered up like today. It was very polluted then !

yg said...

fl, thanks for sharing your memories of the place. i don't think i have ever visited the people's park market but i had heard about it.

Lam Chun See said...

People's Park Complex where there was a Taiwanese emporium. Later there was an OG dept store.