Past, Present and Future – National Art Gallery Open House

December 6, 2010 at 11:11 pm | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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Besides trying out the trails of the New Balance Real Run on the 10.10.10, Itchyfingers also visited the former Supreme Court during its Open House in the afternoon. Ya…we were still so energetic after the run! Hahaha…! It was a great opportunity for public to see it before it is converted to the National Art Gallery.

Tisu Girl with the 9 August calendar tote bag. While waiting for our tour
to start, a middle age woman seated next to me saw my bag and
asked if
it was the goodie bag for the open house…hahah….so funny…Didn’t know
if there were any cos we weren’t given anything when we marked our

I love museums! 😀

We were led by the volunteer guide to the Old Supreme Court building and given a brief introduction. Built and opened in 1939 at the cost of $1.75 million, it was said to be modelled after the Old Bailey Court House in London.

It was interesting to start the tour at the prison holding cells! This was only opened to the guided tour groups.

Big tall metal gates opened up to allow the vehicles holding the prisoners to
go through

This was where the vehicles were parked and prisoners unloaded…

Loo next to the entrance…not in use anymore liao, so hold it in if you
feel the urge to go…hahah…

We passed through this gate…Don’t be misled by our pictures….There
were lotsa visitors in the group. Sometimes there were more than one
group at the same time. We had to wait for all to move on before stealing a
shot of the various empty rooms whenever possible and then catching up
with our group…

The Law Needs Proof. The security guard room with a Prison Department
organisation chart from 1997

This is called the Interview Room…probably for prisoners to meet their

A newspaper clipping on the wall outside the Interview Room…

Then we proceeded to the inmate holding cells….There were ten reserved for men and two for women.

We visited the male holding cells. We were told that one of these was where
the notorious criminals like Adrian Lim and Anthony Ler were held while
waiting for their verdicts to be announced

Inside the cell. A lone red plastic mug was all that was left behind…

It was where the prisoner ate, slept and sh*t…all in a cell of not more than
a quarter of my room…

You do your business right next to the caged window…no privacy at all…
Notice there was no flushing system inside?

Toilet cisterns were installed oustide the cells…probably to prevent any
suicidal attempts…which I can’t imagine how that could happen…so
everytime you finished your business, you gotta trouble the prison warden
to help you do the flushing…

In the future, two of these cells will be kept when it is converted to the National Art Gallery as a reminder of what this place used to be.

From the holding cells, we climbed some narrow stairs….all caged up
to prevent any escapes…

And led through this narrow passageway…guess it should be tougher to
try to run when it is so cramp…

..that would bring us to the Court of Appeal…

Equally narrow steps…

The prisoner would be led to sit here…wow this accused looked so happy.. :p

The Court of Appeal…a familiar sight only on tvs…hahah…actually I remembered
visiting the Supreme Court years ago during another Open House, but
we weren’t in any guided tours so didn’t get to see some restricted areas…
only one of the courts…but din take any photos then!

Nice lamps and ceiling designed to give the room a good acoustic sound effect

Next, we were brought to the main corridor. Built during the time of the
Great Depression, the former Supreme Court suffered from a lack of
funding and used lots of economical building materials

Do you know that this beautifully designed floor tiling was made with
rubber? We had many rubber plantation at the time so rubber was the
obvious choice of use…

When told that rubber was used for the tiling, many visitors’ immediate
response was to squat down and feel it…hahah…But it felt like normal

Small dome-shaped window above the tile

Window outside Judges’ Chamber

I like the green tinted glass

The Rotunda Library with its copper dome used to hold the law library
before the collection outgrew the circular space and moved to the City Hall
Building in the 1980s. There were beautifully crafted wooden book shelves
on the ground floor as well
as the top. I hope they will preserve these!

Stairs leading to the upper level…too bad it was closed…no access to public

Beautiful pillar next to the spiral stairs

Next we took a peek into the Chief Justice’s Chambers.

This was where the Chief Justice Yong Pung How, the second of three local
Chief Justices of Singapore, chaired his meeting with the other judges. He
was the one who abolished the wearing of traditional wigs for the justices…
Haha….might as well, cos wearing that looked so comical! Hahaha…Dunu
he abolished it for vanity reason or not? Buahahahahah….

Nice lamp

And this was the Chief Justice’s Chamber, or his office lor…hahah…This
Y-shaped table is the only one in the building

During those days when there were no air-conditioning, these specially
designed ventilation system under the table provided a cooling current of
renewed air through the floor and up into the legs of the table. Similar
system was found under the meeting table too! Shouldn’t we bring back
such innovation to modern offices to cut down on electricity usage? :p

One of the many emblems featuring arms of the Inns of Court, a professional
association which provides legal training, selection and regulation for
every barrister in England and Wales, on the bookshelves behind the table.
This reminded me of Ferrari or the old Mobil logo…hahah

Window knob. A private loo was added later in the Chief Justice’s

The Chief Justice’s Chamber had direct access to the Courtroom 1

We proceeded to Courtroom 1, which had similar designs to the Court of Appeal…

There was this nice drawings of the lightings..

Tisu Girl at the Accused’s Stand, pretending to plead guility…hahah

Transformation to be done on the main lobby

Look above and you see the nice lamp hung from a huge piece of chocolate

The bench was stained with droppings…evidence of nesting swifts…

True enough, I could see swift’s nest up there…too bad my camera can’t
zoom nearer

Our last stop was the Supreme Court Balcony. Do you know that the Lady of Justice is not blindfolded, unlike those in other countries?

The 36 feet long and 9 feet high relief was made by Italian sculptor Cavalieri
Rudolfo Nolli. Lady Justice sits as the centre piece holding a balancing scale
has her eyes wide open with the wrong-doers being punished on her right
and administration of law and justice on her left

Another nice pillar

By now it was towards the end of our tour and past 2pm, the sun was burning hot and Itchyfingers were famished…only managed to rush home for shower after the trial run and no time for lunch…so we din really take that many pictures here…

Nice checkered stairs…

The tour of the Old Supreme Court ended in front of this Foundation Stone
laid by Sir Shenton Thomas on 1 April 1937, the 70th anniversary of the
proclamation of the Straits Settlement as a separate colony

We were led back to the City Hall Building for some self-guided tour but Itchyfingers had to go fill our tummies. It was great to be able to see the Old Supreme Court before it is due for a transformation into the National Art Gallery. We will certainly be looking forward to its opening!

Also see related post:
> Singapore 1960


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