Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Memories of the MPH Building

A month ago, I walked past the MPH Building and took several photographs of it. It brought back some memories.

About a decade ago, I used to play in an orchestra that was based somewhere along Waterloo Street. There were times when I was too early for rehearsals, so one of the places that I would spend time at was the MPH Building. Other favourites include the Central Library that used to be located along Stamford Rd, the Singapore Art Museum and then-Singapore History Museum.

One thing that I remember about the MPH Building was the smell of freshly-brewed coffee and waffle from the cafe that used to operate within the premises of the then-MPH bookshop. I am not a coffee-lover but the smell was very inviting. It was so inviting that I would usually feel an urge to go into the MPH bookshop whenever I passed by the building.

Other than the nice, inviting smell, I like the cosy manner in which the books were laid out and the nice piped music that was played. The then-MPH bookshop also had a fairly nice collection of greeting cards for sale. In those days, I used to enjoy browsing greeting cards so as to get inspirations to design my own greeting cards. It is also one of my favourite spots to buy presents for friends.

But things were no longer the same when the building became what I remember as a commercial educational institute. The building looked fairly similar like how it used to be a decade ago, but its entrances now no longer have the inviting appeal that they used to have. I beg your pardon that for the past few years, I no longer bother to find out what goes on inside the building. The doors simply look too cold to invite an inquisitive visitor to make any enquiry.

Anyway, I suppose it is no harm to recall my past memories of this building. It looks pretty in its own way, especially against the blue skies.

Its architectural style looks pretty unique. I sometimes wish that someone could conduct a walking architectural tour of the various buildings in Singapore.


For the fact-lovers, while I was trying to find out more about the MPH Building, I chanced upon this:

"The MPH Building, built in 1908, was originally known as the Methodist Publishing House but it was later renamed as Malaya Publishing House. Built in the Edwardian commercial street architecture style, it used to be well-known for the retail bookstore until in 2003 the building was sold to commercial educators."

If you have any memories of the MPH Building, please share. I would like to hear.


Sonicstarburst said...

My memories of the old MPH was the tiny stairway that would lead up to the kid's section.I was looked forward to climbing the tiny flight of wooden stairs to uncover a treasure trove of toys, stationery and SANRIO products.I looked forward to Saturdays when I had to swing by the old National Library. A visit there always meant that I could 'persuade'my mom (God bless her soul)to let me pop over to MPH before we went home.

The other thing I remember, related to your SPM post is buying my school textbooks at the old Methodist Book Room, which is now the SPM building!

oceanskies79 said...

Hi Sonic. Yes I vaguely remember that tiny stairway. MPH is one of the nicer bookstore to visit in those times. :)

I just can't recall buying books at Methodist Book Room. I think that is because I always get my textbooks from my school's bookstore.

Rick Cassem said...

My memories of the MPH building was the unique lift that my brother and I loved to use when we were there. Each time when my mom would bring us to the National Library I would always persuade her to visit MPH to get more books and the Matchbox cars. My is a senior staff with MPH and was stationed at the building, now each time we drove past the building we would never missed reminiscing the story of that building.

oceanskies79 said...

Rick Cassem: Thanks for sharing about the unique lift. I was trying to recall very hard if I had taken that lift at the old MPH building, and I don't remember having done so. It looks like I have missed out on something special.

I had usually used the escalator to go to the second and third level.

Like yourself, if I were to be at the National Library that was previously located along Stamford Rd, MPH building would be the next other place to visit!

oceanskies79 said...

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