Caldecottt Hill Mediacorp

Caldecott Hill boasts a rich and multifaceted history, predating its current association with Singapore’s media industry. This exploration delves into the area’s evolution, from its early days as undeveloped marshland to its present incarnation as a premier residential district.

 

From Marshland to Modernity

The narrative begins in the early 1800s, when Caldecott Hill formed part of the expansive Toa Payoh marshland. The arrival of John Turnbull Thomson, a pivotal figure in Singapore’s urban development, marked a turning point. Thomson’s role as Government Surveyor in the 1840s included the creation of the first town-centre maps and the construction of Thomson Road, which significantly improved accessibility within the Toa Payoh district. This development paved the way for the transformation of the surrounding rural land.

 

Seah Eu Chin’s Legacy: Plantations and Prosperity

Seah Eu Chin

The 19th century also witnessed the rise of prominent figures like Seah Eu Chin, a successful businessman who established his presence in the Thomson and Caldecott area. Historical records suggest that the Seah family may have held ownership of vast swathes of land within the Caldecott district at various points. Their grand estate, featuring bungalows like E Choon, served as a venue for lavish social gatherings, fostering a unique confluence of European and Chinese cultures.

 

The Dawn of Modern Housing

By 1935, a burgeoning demand for affordable housing spurred a new chapter for Caldecott Hill. Local firm Fogden, Brisbane and Co. Ltd., a leading development company, embarked on the construction of Caldecott Hill Estate, a collection of modern suburban houses. These residences boasted groundbreaking amenities like electricity, piped water, and modern sanitation facilities, a significant upgrade from the prevalent “night-soil bucket” system of the time.

 

Radio Takes Center Stage

The year 1937 witnessed a pivotal development with the establishment of Singapore’s first permanent radio broadcasting station on Caldecott Hill. This marked the beginning of a vibrant media scene in the area. The subsequent years saw the formation of the Malaya Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), which aimed to further develop radio broadcasting capabilities. However, these plans encountered a temporary setback during the Japanese Occupation (1942-1945). Interestingly, the broadcasting station itself survived the conflict and was even utilized by the Japanese during that period.

 

From Radio Waves to Television Screens

Caldecott Hill Estate

The aftermath of World War II saw Caldecott Hill primarily function as a residential estate. However, the broadcasting station continued to play a crucial role. By the 1990s, the area had transformed into a prestigious private housing enclave, with the Caldecott Broadcast Centre remaining a prominent landmark.

The media legacy continued as Radio-Television Singapore, the forerunner of today’s Mediacorp, established its Television Studio Centre in 1966, further solidifying the area’s association with media production. Finally, in 2015, Mediacorp relocated to its current home at Mediapolis, marking the culmination of Caldecott Hill’s remarkable media journey.

Caldecott Hill’s narrative transcends its current association with television fame. It is a compelling story of transformation, from undeveloped marshland to a thriving residential district and a significant contributor to Singapore’s media landscape. This multifaceted heritage continues