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Three buildings in Queenstown to be conserved

SINGAPORE — Queenstown Public Library, the former Commonwealth Avenue Wet Market and Alexandra Hospital will be conserved as part of the coming Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) master plan, Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin announced yesterday.

Alexandra Hospital once served the medical needs of the British armed forces. TODAY file photo

Alexandra Hospital once served the medical needs of the British armed forces. TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — Queenstown Public Library, the former Commonwealth Avenue Wet Market and Alexandra Hospital will be conserved as part of the coming Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) master plan, Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin announced yesterday.

Speaking at the URA Architectural Heritage Awards, he said these three buildings in Queenstown are “important representations of what conservation can do to reinforce a community’s identity and preserve its ‘flavour’ for past, present and future residents”.

The conservation of Queenstown library, which is Singapore’s first branch library and is used by many of the area’s residents, will ensure its longevity as a community touchstone and gathering place, noted Mr Tan.

The same goes for the former Commonwealth Avenue Wet Market — the only remaining market built by the Singapore Improvement Trust; the Housing and Development Board’s predecessor — which remains a marker of important changes. It was the first to house itinerant hawkers to serve the suburban public housing estates.

Alexandra Hospital has also been a stage to significant scenes from Singapore’s history, said the minister.

At various times, it served the medical needs of the British armed forces, was overrun by Japanese troops, and it was also where the first successful limb re-attachment in South-east Asia was performed, he pointed out.

The three buildings in Queenstown that will be conserved follow three others in the town that have already been conserved: Princess House, the Blessed Sacrament Church and Anchor Brewery.

Mr Tan also noted that while conservation is important in reflecting the nation’s growth, social history and memories, it is “rarely a cut-and-dried process”. “We require your continued support, as we work together to build a consensus on the legacy we want to create through the conservation of our built heritage,” he said. “Conservation is never just for one person’s advantage — when done well, its benefits ripple to the surrounding community and beyond.”

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