04 October 2009

Old Singapore Quiz (12) - Circus, Circa, Circle... - Answers

Thank you for all your answers to Old Singapore Quiz (12). Peter and Chun See got the answers right. YG almost got one answer right but he was not sure in the end.

The correct answers are:

1. What is the name of this circus?

A. Delta Circus.

2. What is the name of a landmark which you could identify from the photo? Beside and besides the circus, that is.

A. Singapore Steam Laundry.

Hear is another view of Delta Circus in the early 1970s:

Photo credit: Both old photos of Delta Circus are by courtesy of db1688.

You can see from the right side of the above photo that Blk 77 Ganges Avenue had been constructed by the early 1970s. Some plants could be seen growing in the circus in this photo while the circus in the earlier photo looks bare. Both photos were taken from Blk 48 Lower Delta Road which is still standing today:

Below is a 1963 map of the area:

Below is a recent photo taken from the same angle. As you can see, the view of the road junction is largely obscured by trees - testament to the very successful move by the authorities to turn Singapore into a Garden City. The site occupied by Singapore Steam Laundry is where Delta House stands now. (You can see part of Delta House at the left of the photo.)

Db1688 has a vivid memory of the laundry building on the other side of the Delta Circus:

"My mother lost some heirloom blankets there as the neighbour she entrusted to drop them off forgot to get the claim ticket. My mother pleaded her case with management but apparently some unscrupulous employee took the blankets. You probably remember back in the day when heirloom blankets were given as a wedding gift, right?"

More About Singapore Steam Laundry:

1. Straits Times 9 May 1927 - Apparently, Singapore Steam Laundry had been operating in Singapore as early as in 1927 as the following extract from an advertisement shows:

"Singapore Steam Laundry 361, Havelock Road. Phone 43??7. Proprietors The Indian Trading Co., Ltd. (Incorporated in Denmark) ... done by the most modern and sanitary methods under European supervision, at competitive rates. Our lorries will call and deliver regularly at customers' houses or flats. Special terms to hotels..."

2. Straits Times 5 Apr 1934 - There was even a "receiving depot" under the company's name at 255 Orchard Road, opposite Cold Storage:

"Articles may be handed in for special and express laundry service. Dry cleaning waterproofing invisible mending undertaken. Weekdays, hours 7 a.m.-2 p.m. 4-6 p.m.; Saturdays, hours 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Receiving depot Singapore Steam Laundry Limited. 255 Orchard Road, opposite Cold Storage..."

3. Possibly in the 1930s, the company was owned by Straits Steamship:

"A much smaller Company purchased at the same time was the Singapore Steam Laundry which eventually was to launder all Straits Steamship's linen. Small and insignificant at the time, this Company grew into a valuable asset of Straits Steamship."

4. In the 1950s, Straits Steamship disposed of most of its holding in Singapore Steam Laundry to Sime Darby & Co Ltd even though it was continuing to expand and extremely profitable.

5. Straits Times 19 Aug 1977 - Singapore Steam Laundry up for sale:

"Sime Darby (S) Pte Ltd. is taking the steam out of its laundry business. It is now looking for buyers to take over the name and operations of Singapore Steam Laundry, a wholly-owned subsidiary which has been in existence in Alexandra Road since 1932..."

Below are some 1927 photos of Singapore Steam Laundry, courtesy of National Archives of Singapore:


yg said...

victor, how can you say i wasn't sure in the end. i must have been sure. otherwise, i would not have taken the trouble to take photos - the two that i sent to you - of the blocks of flats at ganges avenue and delta house.

Victor said...

YG, "I had my doubts" = "not sure".

Anyway, in our education system, any work not submitted in the examination hall (= blog platform) is not considered for marking.

But to be fair, our education system does have compassion. Ok, you get 50 marks (= pass grade) after appeal.