|Rail Mall at Upper Bukit Timah.|
Philanthropist Lee Kong Chian owned the entire swathe of land on the eastern side of Upper Bukit Timah Road 14km (9-1/2ms) from the Singapore Quarry to the PWD Quarry at Dairy Farm.
On this hillside, he planted rubber trees and the rubber estate became part of the Lee Rubber Plantation conglomerate.
After World War II, in order to provide decent living quarters and accomodation for his plantation workers and their families, Lee Kong Chian, in 1947, built four rows of workmen houses called artisan quarters at the edge of his rubber plantation.
At the beginning, there was no electricity and using kerosene lamps was the only way to get illumination at night. But back then, it would have been almost a luxury for manual workers, considering that most people were living in kampong attap houses. A real luxury was fresh water direct from the tap within their own household.
In the 1950s, more of the rubber plantation was given up to build a private housing estate. This was Fuyong Estate, that was also developed by the Lee Foundation, comprising terraced, semi-detached and detached bungalow houses.
The original four rows of workmen's quarters were then sold or rented out as there was no longer a need for plantation workers due to the fall in demand for natural rubber. These workman quarters were mostly converted into shophouses for various trades ranging from tailoring, provision shops to motor workshops and coffee shops.
|Click on the picture for a detailed view.|
The Lee Kuo Chuan Children's Home was built on land donated by Lee Kong Chian to the Salvation Army for them to run a Children's Orphanage.