Sunday, January 1, 2012

Factories around P.E.E. (3) - Ford Motors

Ford Motors set up their factory at Bukit Timah in October 1941.
However, in Feb 1942, just over 3 months later, the Japanese Army invaded Singapore.
Some of the fiercest battles between the invading Japanese and the British Army took place around the Bukit Batok region. Ultimately, the Japanese occupied the Ford factory and used it as their initial campaign headquarters in the Battle for Singapore.

When the British capitulated, it was to this Ford factory headquarters that Lt-Gen. Arthur Percival proceeded to sign the surrender of Singapore over to the Japanese conquerors.

The Ford factory subsequently became a maintenance depot for the Japanese Army until the end of WWII. The factory resumed car assembly operations after the war.

It continued functioning until June 1980 when protectionist tariffs for locally assembled vehicles were lifted by the government. The defunct factory was converted to a heritage museum in 2006 in view of its unique place in Singapore's history. The heritage museum is now called Memories at Old Ford Factory.

The Ford factory in 1941. Bukit Batok hill in the background.

Upper Bukit Timah Road, in front of Ford Motors, in 1960s.

The same Upper Bukit Timah Road in 2012. Portions of the old Ford factory seen just to the left.


  1. There were many labour strikes outside Ford Motor. Saw worker spicket outside the locked main gate. Tents were constructed, banners were hung on the fence facing Upper Bukit Timah Road and food cooked for the striking workers.

  2. Hi Peter,
    I remember there was always some sort of industrial action also at the Rothmans of Pall Mall cigarette factory down Bukit Timah Road. Plenty of strikes those days.
    I have a picture of the strike at Ford in my other article here:

  3. hi james and peter,

    do you all know what were strikes caused by? unpaid wages?