Museum and Gallery Guide

Memories at Old Ford Factory

Events - 01 July 2009 12:00 AM | Updated 09 June 2010

Memories at Old Ford Factory

Memories at Old Ford Factory
Address: 351 Upper Bukit Timah Road,  Singapore 588192
Opening hours: Mondays to Saturdays, 9am - 5.30pm. Sundays, 12noon - 5.30pm.
Admission: Adult/ Students* - $3, Senior Citizens - $2.50
Group admission (for 20 pax and above) - Adult/Students* - $2.50, Senior Citizens - $2.00

Family admission (5 pax, max 2 adults) - $8.00

Please call 6332 7978 for group bookings
* Students with valid student pass and Senior Citizens 55 years and above


There are few buildings in Singapore that play a key significant role in history, as well as being a modern architecture gem - the former Ford Factory along Bukit Timah Road is one of them. From its humble beginnings to the role it played during the Japanese Occupation of World War II, the Ford Motor Factory takes you on a detailed walk through one of the milestones in Singapore's history.

The Factory began its illustrious legacy in October 1941, as the first Ford vehicle assembly plant in Southeast Asia. It was built close to the Malayan railway line, so goods and materials could be easily transported to and from the docks at Tanjong Pagar. Its close proximity to Bukit Timah Road, the main road linking Singapore to Malaya, and ultimately to the rest of mainland Southeast Asia, meant that an alternative transport route could also be used.

It was during World War II that the factory came to play a significant role, where it became a key building in Singapore's history during this tumultuous time. During the Malayan Campaign, the Factory's modern assembly equipment was used by the Royal Air Force to assemble fighter planes. The planes came in parts that were shipped to Singapore in crates. However, most of these aircraft never fulfilled their destiny of defending Malaya - they were flown out of Singapore towards the end of January 1942, when prospects for Singapore looked bleak.

More significantly, the Ford Motor Factory served as the venue for the formal surrender of Malaya by the British General Officer Commanding Malaya, Lt.-Gen. Arthur Ernest Percival, to the Japanese Commander of the 25th Army, Gen. Yamashita Tomoyuki.

During the Japanese Occupation, the Factory was designated as a butai or Japanese facility. Nissan, which was then a prominent zaibatsu or Japanese multinational company, took over the plant to assemble military trucks and other vehicles for the Japanese occupying forces.

The Ford Motor Factory resumed operations after the war in 1947 and was finally shut down in June 1980. Remains of the Factory were gazetted as a national monument on February 15 2006.

The permanent exhibition gallery at the Factory is maintained and preserved by the National Archives of Singapore, and presents first-hand oral history accounts, archival records and primary documents. Visitors can catch a glimpse of life in Syonan-To (Singapore) during the Japanese Occupation, and you can even walk the very same ceremonial route that the British forces took on the day of the surrender. The original Board Room where the British army surrendered to the Japanese forces is preserved as it was then, with the original furniture and fittings still intact.

The courage, resilience and ingenuity of Singaporeans living through the occupation are highlighted as they defied the atrocities and the massive changes brought about by the Japanese Administration; the mass migration resulting from the "Grow More Food" campaign; as well as the Japanese treatment of POWs, civilian internees and the various ethnic communities.

Don't miss...

The Wartime Garden located at the side of the Ford Factory. Discover wartime crops, such as sugarcane and tapioca, and a replica rainwater harvesting system. The garden is maintained with loving care by the National Archives staff.

Please check out other museums in our guide:

Images of Singapore

Chinatown Heritage Centre

Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall

Hospital Museums

IRAS Gallery

Wood Bridge Museum


Singapore Art Museum

Mint Museum of Toys

Art Retreat incorporating Wu Guanzhong Gallery

Asian Civilizations Museum

Alliance Francaise de Singapour

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