The humble beginnings of public housing

In the early 1960s, the newly set-up Housing and Development Board (HDB) announced plans to build Toa Payoh town.

However, the plan ran into difficulties early on when it proved difficult to reach an agreement on the terms of resettlement with the squatter families who were occupying the Toa Payoh site, according to the Singapore Infopedia website. HDB then went on to promote the development by releasing information on the jobs that would be created with the construction of the town.

On Feb 27, 1963, nine families, including the one pictured, moved from their squatter huts into new homes. Seven moved into new terraced houses in Kim Keat Road, while others were given accommodation in prefabricated homes in Thomson Road.

This week, The Straits Times features four black-and-white photos from the Singapore Press Holdings' archives that were colourised using the Government Technology Agency's new and free online tool that adds colour to old black-and-white photos almost instantly.

The tool, called, takes about 3 1/2 seconds to add colour to an uploaded photo.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2019, with the headline 'The humble beginnings of public housing'. Print Edition | Subscribe