Memories of Former Traffic Police Headquarters in Maxwell Road Captured in Public Exhibition
1. The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) today opened Maxwell Memories, a public exhibition showcasing the heritage of 28 Maxwell Road, which once housed the Traffic Police (TP) Headquarters and Singapore’s first driving test centre.
2. 28 Maxwell Road, the 161m-long heritage building in the heart of Singapore’s city centre, is currently being refurbished for the expansion of the adjacent Maxwell Chambers, the world’s first integrated dispute resolution complex. This is part of MinLaw’s plan to boost Singapore’s position as an international dispute resolution centre.
3. Maxwell Memories is held at the URA Centre, from which one can see the ongoing refurbishment works, and is open to the public till 31 January 2018.
4. The exhibition’s centrepiece is a 1:50 scale model of the former TP Headquarters and its various rooms and functions. The model was built by a team of students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), to pay tribute to the many generations of TP personnel who served at 28 Maxwell Road. Based on interviews with nearly 20 TP personnel past and present, stories are told from the perspectives of four different groups of occupants over four time periods spanning 50 years:
(i) Traffic policeman (1950 – 1965)
(ii) Driving tester (1965 – 1978)
(iii) Clerical officer (1975 – 1988)
(iv) Mobile Squad officer (1985 – 1999)
5. As part of the exhibition, MinLaw also released a set of five limited edition postcards. The postcards were drawn by Mr David Pattiselanno, 78, and depict his experiences as a TP patrol officer in the 1950s and 1960s, with various iconic Singapore landmarks as backdrops. The public can collect these postcards at the exhibition.
6. Over 70 guests, including TP officers past and present, their families and their friends, attended the launch of Maxwell Memories. Amongst them was Mr Tay Soo Heng, 68, a former TP officer who came with his five grandchildren aged between 10 months and 17 years, as part of their Grandparents’ Day celebration. Mr Tay said, “I was thrilled to hear about this event, and shared the news with many of my fellow retirees. I am very happy that I could share with my grandchildren the happy memories I have of 28 Maxwell Road. It was a very meaningful way for us to spend Grandparents’ Day.”
7. Through Maxwell Memories, MinLaw hopes to raise public awareness of the building’s rich heritage. Singaporeans are invited to share their own stories and old photographs of 28 Maxwell Road by dropping them into a heritage mailbox at the exhibition, or by emailing them to [email protected]. These will go towards a permanent heritage exhibit which will be put up at 28 Maxwell Road when refurbishment works are completed in 2019.
8. Mr Han Kok Juan, Deputy Secretary, MinLaw, said at the opening, “When MinLaw started on the expansion of Maxwell Chambers, our task was clear: to develop a dispute resolution complex that will put Singapore on the world map. But we also have a duty to preserve the rich heritage of the building and to honour the memories of pioneer TP officers – to not lose them, but to pass them down to the next generation. The refurbishment of a heritage building is an opportunity for us not just to create our future but also to remember our past, to connect with the public, and to involve the young.”
9. When completed in 2019, the refurbished building at 28 Maxwell Road will house 50 new offices for international dispute resolution institutions, arbitration chambers, law firms and ancillary legal services. The ground floor of the building will feature F&B outlets, set around five open-to-sky courtyards. A new 24-hour public thoroughfare through the building will also provide better connection between Tanjong Pagar and Chinatown. The new building will have a permanent heritage exhibit showcasing its rich history as the former TP Headquarters and Singapore’s first driving test centre.
Once Upon A Time
10. Constructed in 1928, 28 Maxwell Road was designed by Frank Dorrington Ward, the Government Architect of the Straits Settlements Public Works Department, when Singapore was still a British colony. Mr Ward also designed other familiar landmarks such as the former Supreme Court and the former Hill Street Police Station.
11. From the 1930s to 1999, 28 Maxwell Road was used solely as the TP Headquarters. The building also housed Singapore’s first Driving Test Centre when driving tests were introduced in 1941, and was Singapore’s only driving test centre until the Queenstown Driving Test Centre opened in 1968. In 2007, it was gazetted as a conservation building by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
MINISTRY OF LAW
25 NOVEMBER 2017