Balestier: A walk back in time

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Balestier is the place for architctural sightings, such as the Sim kwong Ho shophouses (left), and Balestier Point (right) (Credit: Albert Chua/ EdgeProp Singapore)
Balestier, a subzone in the planning area of Novena in the Central Region of Singapore, is home to rows of shops selling lighting equipment and bathroom accessories. Unlike Novena, its neighbour – which the government has plans to turn into Singapore’s largest healthcare hub, Health City Novena, by 2030 – Balestier has mostly been left untouched by the urban planning policies.
Unknown to most, Balestier also served as an important medical hub from the 1860s Healthcare institutions at Balestier were pivotal as the medical staff cared for the wounded during World War II, and also trained and educated generations of medical students.

Landmark architecture

Take a walk along Balestier’s streets and one would be transported back in time, for it is reminiscent of the idyllic vibes of the 1980s. In the early 1900s, shophouses sprung up along Balestier Road in response to the growing number of residents entering the area. Today, many of the traditional shophouses from the past are still present, namely Sim Kwong Ho shophouses on 292 to 312 Balestier Road, Kwan Yow Luen shophouses on 412 to 418 Balestier Road, the Art Deco apartment blocks at 230 and 246 Balestier Road, and prewar terrace houses on Pegu Road and Martaban Road.
Sights at Balestier (Credit: Bong Xin Ying/EdgeProp Singapore)
Situated at the junction of Balestier Road and Kim Keat Road, the Sim Kwong Ho shophouses, designed by architectural firm Westerhout and Oman, are in a...