Its builders probably never realised it: that when they built the Old Hill Street Police Station (OHSPS), originally known as Hill Street Police Station and Barracks, the building would change the geography of Hill Street and its vicinity for all time.

Its builders would never have imagined that it would be gazetted as a national monument in 1998 and with this, become the longest standing building at the foot of Fort Canning, at the junction of Hill Street and River Valley Road. Up till then, throughout the 19th century and early 20th century, previous buildings erected at the site of the OHSPS were temporary and demolished within 10 years of their construction. But now, whether you are approaching the Civic District from River Valley Road, or entering the area through Chinatown, the OHSPS is the first architectural structure of significance to greet you.

Its architects probably never realised it too: that with the OHSPS, they were creating a space that would bring history one full cycle. They would never have imagined that a building once designed for the purposes of housing a police station would one day house the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, right on the very site where performances were once held.

This twist in the history of the OHSPS is significant, for the OHSPS, where performances are sometimes held today, stands at the site of the old Assembly Rooms. In the 19th century, the Assembly Rooms housed the Theatre Royal, where concerts and theatricals took place.

And for the OHSPS, this return to a memory that finds a resonance in the present could not have been more fortuitous.




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