Saturday, February 25, 2012

Our Park is missing !

Princess Elizabeth Estate seems notorious for losing its stuff.
The Tong Liang House virtually vanished overnight.
Our football field was partially lost when Hillview Estate encroached onto it.
(The HDB built a car park over it!)

But the one thing that was taken away from Princess Elizabeth Estate without most residents noticing was the loss of the Park!
It was done so subtlely that a whole later generation who grew up at P.E. Est. were not even aware that there was formerly a Park.
What I am referring to is not actually a piece of greenery but the official name of the estate - Princess Elizabeth Park.
The loss was tantamount to a re-identity for the estate but few knew or even cared.

When the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT), the predecessor of HDB, constructed the estate, it was one of a pair of estates that were built in commemoration of the royal wedding of 1947. The other estate was built at Farrer Park at the old Race Course Road area.

As they were part of the same project, both these estates were collectively known as Princess Elizabeth Estates, much like today we refer generically to HDB New Towns.
The estate at Farrer Park was named Princess Elizabeth Flats, while the estate at Upper Bukit Timah was named Princess Elizabeth Park.
However, this common name of Princess Elizabeth Estate led to confusion for many for years.

The Princess Elizabeth Estate at Farrer Park (pictured above) was demolished by 1978 and was replaced by new HDB flats in the area now known as Pek Kio.

In the case of P.E.E at Hillview, the name was colloquially used without the 'Park' especially when the community centres and the primary school were named without the 'Park' included.   Eventually, the name stuck and and everyone simply knew the estate as Princess Elizabeth Estate.

There was a signboard at Princess Elizabeth Estate erected by the SIT to announce the gift of the estate to Princess Elizabeth on her wedding. The signboard was located at a small field at the junction of Hillview Avenue and Elizabeth Drive at the entrance to the estate.

When the HDB built Hillview Estate beside PEE, they moved the signboard to a new location at the boundary between the 2 estates (beside the PEE football field).  
However, the HDB made some changes and in place of the original label Singapore Improvement Trust, they wrote "Housing and Development Board" on that heritage sign.  sigh. Sadly, they also made some grammatical errors with the new signboard.

1 comment:

  1. Dear James,

    Many thanks for this. We had the signboard located on the field next to Block 13. My brothers and I, and our neighbours, used to use the board as a goal post when playing footbal. But often, the ball would fly past the board and onto the road. I remember once while playing footbal, my brother kicked the ball too hard, it went on to the road and got run over by the bus 173. - Shahrin Ismaiyatim