I would say that this is the first stop I had for the half-day trip. I happened to pass by this area while travelling east for an interview in Duke-NUS two to three times and this building caught my attention in the midst of the rushing traffic. That was the moment I came up with the idea of taking a trip around Singapore. I realized I had been in Singapore for three years yet haven’t really walk through the whole map. This made me biased if I were to say Singapore is a boring place when I didn’t spend some times look through it thoroughly. So I started to do some basic research on the maps near that area, setting CHIJMES as the first stop.
I managed to find an angle for the chapel which makes it look nice, capturing it from behind the building, near Caldwell House.
Of course, you should not be surprised to find the view towards CHIJMES looked like this because it was not a building located on top of a hill like the Athens Temple. Development had somehow ripped the good capturing view of it somehow.
And let us step into the place and find out what is CHIJMES. CHIJMES, which is its name currently, stands for Convent of Holy Infant Jesus Middle Education School. In fact, it started as CHIJ, a convent set up by four French nuns who came over from Penang in 1854. There’s a Caldwell House which is just next to the chapel building, which became the nun’s headquarters. The whole venue is located at Victoria Street in Downtown core. In November 1983, the Chapel offered its last service and went into diligent refurbishment until being gazetted in October 1990 as National Monuments of Singapore.
From several aspect of the chapel, there were some gothic element existed.
And so for the chapel part, there were beautiful columns and colourful tainted glass.
Looking into the chapel, would be a view like this. Since it was closed that day, not sure due to it’s now a national monument or it’s just not open that day, I had to take this photo through the glass door.
And right next to the chapel was Caldwell House. There are corridors towards the sides, built with interesting structures and decorated with neoclassical elements.
The quarters however, had been transformed into a complex now with several restaurants and planted with some decorative plants, such as the hibiscus here.
The beautiful thing about this complex is that it was not just a flat ground with many restaurants. In the middle of the area, just next to the chapel, was thi lower ground which you could look down into it. It is a small piazza filled with tables and chairs for the restaurants. I wondered how would it look like when all the shophouses were working.
Next to CHIJMES’ entrance, there was this door, which was plated with ‘The Gate of Hope’
1) Pan, Aram. “CHIJMES”. http://www.singaporevr.com/vrs/CHIJMES/CHIJMES.html. 2011.
2) Wijesinghe, Pushpitha. “Chijmes – Once a Catholic Convent now a leading Lifestyle Centre”. http://www.articlesbase.com/travel-articles/chijmes-once-a-catholic-convent-now-a-leading-lifestyle-centre-3329754.html. September 2010.