Constructed in 1935, the site bears many aspects of western classical architecture. Facades are embellished with pediments and mouldings, characterised by pronounced symmetry. Mouldings on the ground floor arches and pilasters imbue authority and prestige to complete the building’s visage.
Additional modifications were also made to adapt to Singapore’s tropical weather. These included an overhanging roof, tall windows to help dissipate heat and augment air circulation, and ventilators above or below the windows.
The building was part of a defensive initiative by the British Army to protect Singapore’s eastern front to the Johor Straits. It is part of a series of military buildings throughout the Changi Point area. Areas like Sealand, Biggin Hill and Upavon were designated for housing British soldiers and officers, whereas the Hendon Road area featured administrative military buildings.
It was here, at 33 and 42 Hendon Road, that the British Royal Engineers were housed, as part of the larger Changi Camp. During the Japanese Occupation which began in 1942, the Japanese forces converted the entire Changi area into a large prisoner of war (POW) camp.
After the war, Changi Camp was ceded by the British Army to the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was utilised for military administration. The Royal Engineers also returned to the site, and 42 Hendon Road served as their headquarters until the British military withdrew from Singapore in 1971.
With the departure of the British military, the buildings, 33 and 42 Hendon Road included, became part of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Hendon Camp. It functioned as such until military operations were moved to the new Hendon Camp in the 1990s.
The site saw little use until the late 2000s, when the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) took over the space as part of a larger group of buildings to be repurposed for commercial and hospitality uses. In 2013, Raintr33 Hotel took over and converted the buildings into the boutique hotel it now stands as.
Buildings and sites featured on Roots.SG are part of our efforts to raise awareness of our heritage; a listing on Roots.SG does not imply any form of preservation or conservation status, unless it is mentioned in the article. The information in this article is valid as of August 2019 and is not intended to be an exhaustive history of the site/building.