Civil Defence Heritage Gallery is a symbol of pride the state has in its civil defence system. The gallery outlines Singapore’s fire fighting as well as civil defence developments from the late 1800’s until contemporary times, and aspires to raise public awareness about civil defence.
Civil Defence Heritage Gallery Highlights
You will be impressed by the building which houses the gallery, which was made in 1909 and thus has a distinct British colonial influence in its architecture. Upon entering the gallery, you will see that the displays are arranged chronologically to unfold the history of Singapore’s Civil Defense. Exhibits include various displays of antique fire engine. Beyond the static models and displays are various interactive portals that simulate the experience fire fighters and rescuers have on their respective jobs. Some especially educational parts of the gallery include a public education corner that provides information on how to handle various emergencies.
Fire-fighting itself has evolved, both in its equipment and its strategy. Here are some of the featured vintage items portrayed in the Civil Defense Heritage Gallery:
- The Merryweather Fire King, Singapore’s the first completely motorized fire engine which was imported from Britain.
- The Dennis Pump Escape is a vehicle first acquired by Singapore’s Fire Brigade in 1951: it was the first kind of fire engine that was engineered to protect its rescuers in an unprecedented way. Since its use was discontinued in the late 1970’s, it is only in this museum you will see anything like it.
- One of the first fire helmets, the Hendry Leather helmet, was designed in the colonial tradition.
- The Big Nozzle, another apparatus which is no longer used, is a 1930’s nozzle that sprayed an enormous quantity of water while keeping a safe distance from a fire. This nozzle was effective in helping firefighters maintain a curtain of water between buildings so that fires would not spread.
- The Indian Pump, or a knapsack pump, started to be used in the late 1930’s to counter long grass fires in distant areas.
Civil Defence Heritage Gallery Tours
Here are the two tours the gallery offers:
- A guided tour of the gallery itself.
- A tour of the tower, a 30 metre ascent where you see of how firemen completed their fire surveillance duties in the early 1900’s. The point you reach at the top is what Singapore’s highest point was during the 1920’s: you will without doubt be startled at the development that has taken place since then. The tour is worth it simply for the breathtaking unique view of the city.
The Civil Defence Heritage Gallery gives not only an overview of the history of civil service, but of the evolution fire fighting has undergone through history. Children who have a penchant for fire trucks are sure to be awed by the legendary items and history on display! As always, a visit to the souvenir shop is always worthwhile to select a trinket to remind you of your tour.
Opening Hours & Admission
The Civil Defence Heritage Gallery opens daily from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm (Tues-Sun) and closed on Monday. There are no admission charges so if you want to learn about the history of fire fighting and civil defence in Singapore then do pay a visit to Civil Deference Heritage Gallery.
Civil Defence Heritage Gallery
62 Hill Street,
Tel. (+65) 6332 2996
Photo Credit: Charlie Kwan & Flickr