Exhibition showcases heritage of former Traffic Police HQ

Former Traffic Police officer David Pattiselanno with the postcards he drew, featuring various Singapore landmarks based on places he patrolled when he was on duty. The postcards are being given out as part of the Maxwell Memories exhibition.
Former Traffic Police officer David Pattiselanno with the postcards he drew, featuring various Singapore landmarks based on places he patrolled when he was on duty. The postcards are being given out as part of the Maxwell Memories exhibition.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

28 Maxwell Road has a special place in the heart of 75-year-old Noordin A. Rahman.

It is where he was born and spent part of his childhood, and even worked for nine years.

The building was the Traffic Police (TP) headquarters for 72 years until 1999. Built in 1928 by the British colonial government, the Frank Dorrington Ward-designed building had also served as barracks for the police. At one time, it also housed Singapore's first driving test centre.

Mr Noordin, who retired from the police force in 1997, lived there when he was young because his father was also a TP officer.

He has many fond recollections of the place: from flying kites on the roof as a child, to working there with his fellow TP officers. He recalled taunting the children who played on the street and had no access to the roof because their families did not live in the building. He and his friends would tease the children whose kites could not fly as high.

"I grew up there, spending my childhood, up till the age of nine, living in the building. I have many memories there," he said.

In 1999, the TP HQ was relocated to Ubi. The building in Maxwell Road reopened in 2005 in a striking red hue to house the Red Dot Design Museum as well as eateries and creative companies.

It is currently being refurbished and has been renamed Maxwell Chambers Suites, as part of the expansion of the adjacent Maxwell Chambers.

The heritage of the 89-year-old building is being showcased at a public exhibition called Maxwell Memories, which was officially opened last Saturday by the Ministry of Law (MinLaw).

The exhibition, located outside the Urban Redevelopment Authority Centre, features a model of the former TP HQ, built by Singapore University of Technology and Design students.

As part of the exhibition, MinLaw is giving out a set of five limited edition postcards. They feature various Singapore landmarks and were drawn by Mr David Pattiselanno, 78, who was a TP officer in the 1950s and 1960s.

Mr Pattiselanno said he chose the landmarks based on places he patrolled when he was a TP officer.

The exhibition is on till Jan 31.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2017, with the headline 'Exhibition showcases heritage of former Traffic Police HQ'. Print Edition | Subscribe