Old Ford Factory

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Weather:

Time Required: 1-2 hours

Timings:

Monday - Saturday: 9.00 AM - 5:30 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Open during Public Holidays except on the first day of Chinese New Year

Entry Fee:

SGD 3 per person
Free for:
All Children under 6
Singaporeans and permanent residents
Singapore student pass holders
Museum Roundtable members
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Old Ford Factory, Singapore Overview

The Former Ford factory was a Ford Motors' assembly plant where the British surrendered Singapore to the Japanese. It now is home to an exhibition that charts Singapore's descent into war, the three gruesome years of Japanese control on Singapore and its journey to independence. The exhibition has its way of conveying this grave story through audio-interviews, reels, clippings, photographs, diaries and distressing personal accounts. The Ford Motor Company established at Anson Road was moved to its new state of the art factory at Upper Bukit Timah Road. This national monument became Ford's first motor car assembly plant in Southeast Asia which was later taken over by Royal Airforce during Malayan. National Archives-Singapore restored the Former Ford Factory and now houses a permanent exhibition of World War II and its legacies.

The old factory is now popular among visitors who are more inclined towards history and politics. It hosts a permanent exhibition presented by the National Archives of Singapore, which is focused on the events and memories of British Surrender. The Factory houses maps and booklets that contain annotated photographs from the time of the British colonisation. There are volunteer-guided tours available that give detailed and comprehensive information of the historical and political relationships between Japan and Britain.

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The Factory houses a permanent exhibition of World War presented by the National Archives of Singapore. This exhibition throws light on the diverse experiences of people in Singapore during the critical times of war. The highlight of this is an interactive table which features a model of the original Ford Factory on a 1950's aerial photograph. The visitors get to witness the factory in its former glory and learn about its surrounding area. The exhibition also displays the events that led to the disastrous downfall of Singapore.

The viewers get a three-way perspective through intertwined narratives of Japanese aggression, British rebuttal and the arrest of Singapore civilians. The war's legacies have manifested on different levels in the exhibition. The exhibition concludes on a contemplative note on the remembrance of war and its enduring legacies.

The collections at the Former Ford Factory are broadly divided into categories. Some of them are:
  • Map of Singapore on 83 key locations: The plan is accompanied by a booklet which contains photographs of 83 critical sites in Singapore that were documented by Japanese informants and spies before the war.
  • Air Raid Precaution Squad identity card: Wardens of the Air Raid Precautions department were explicitly trained to provide valuable information and assistance during air drills and raids.
  • Identity Cards: In order to ensure the government to be able to scan potential spies in the population, it was made compulsory in 1941 for all non-military residents of Singapore to carry identity cards. These cards are a part of the collection in the Former Ford Factory.
  • Postcards: Postcards of artists' impressions of war scenes were given to Japanese soldiers to commemorate their victory. They are now a part of the exhibit.
  • Overseas Chinese Certificate of Registration: After the British surrendered, Chinese males were to report to screening centres, and allowed to leave after they received a stamp. A stamped certificate donated by Ow Peng Hoong is kept in the exhibit.
  • Dalforce Medals: The 1939-45 Star, the Pacific Star and the War Medal were awarded to members of the Dalforce, that is the Singapore Chinese Anti-Japanese Volunteer Battalion. These medals now adorn the exhibit at the Former Ford Factory.

The volunteer guides lead the free guided tours and educate the visitors about the war, its legacies and about the deep history behind each of the displays. The tours are free and are done in groups of 20, decided on a first come, first served basis. There are no guided tours on public holidays. Booking of group visits for schools and organisations can be made via the official website.

The schedule of these tours is as follows:
Monday to Friday: 2:30 PM
Saturday: 11:00 PM and 3:30 PM
Sunday: 2:30 PM and 3:30 PM

During Japanese's control from 1942-1945, this place was designated as Butai or a Japanese run facility. Nissan then took over the entire plant to assemble trucks and other motor vehicles for the Japanese military. By the end of 1945, Butai was returned to Ford Corporation, following the Japanese surrender in August 1945. This plant continued to produce vehicles and cars. Later in the 1980's this place was shut down and left abandoned. During the period of abandonment, several horror stories surfaced up, centred on the British colonial rule period.

Locals have reported of hearing Japanese music and songs dating back to the 1930's and 1940's and alleged sightings of restless spirits hovering around the factory building. The current site of the Ford Factory is at Upper Bucket Timah Road. It was shifted there in 1941, before which the site was at Anson Road. The factory was the assembly plant of all Ford vehicles in Southeast Asia. During the Malayan Campaign, it was taken over by the Royal Air Force to assemble fighter planes in. For some time in 1942, the factory was seized by the Japanese and turned into the headquarters of Lieutenant-General Tomoyuki Yamashita, the Japanese Commander of the 25th Army. Just a couple of days later, British forces under Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival surrendered to the Japanese. The Battle of Singapore was fought, and the Japanese were in complete control.

Shortly after the fall of Singapore in the Battle, the factory was taken over by Nissan, which is to date a prominent Japanese multi-national company. The factory was then used to assemble military vehicles for the war. At the end of the war, the British army seized the factory in 1945. It was returned to the Ford Motor Company in 1947, and it stayed as its factory up until 1980, after which it was shut down. The remains were gazetted as a national monument on 15th February 2006.

The Former Food Factory is accessible via many metro stations. The nearest MRT Station is the Hillview MRT Station (DT3). Alight at the Hillview MRT Station. From here, Ford Factory is only 15 minutes walk away. Hiring a cab would be another option.

The Ford Factory has convenient bus services to Upper Bukit Timah Road. The Bus stop at a distance of 2 minutes. Buses that stop here are 67, 75, 170, 171, 173, 178, 184 and 961.

Through cab, take a left turn from the Upper Bukit Timah Road. Limited parking facility is available at the Former Ford Factory.

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