Ramchand Ramesh

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Trip into Wessex Estate

Published July 2nd, 2012

Wessex Estate is a secluded group of buildings close to Portsdown Road in Singapore. Affectionately called 'Black and Whites', they are of a style once commonly used to house European expatriate or colonial families in tropical colonies, typically the Southeast Asian colonies of the British Empire in the nineteenth century.

In Singapore, they were built from the 19th century until World War II. The style incorporated elements of UK's Arts and Crafts and Art Deco movements as well as the need of wealthy expatriate families for airy and spacious family homes. Black-and-Whites were built by wealthy families, the leading commercial firms and above all, the Public Works Department and, in the case of Wessex Estate, the British Armed Forces.

Many still serve as residences and, with renovation some have been converted into commercial buildings such as restaurants and bars.

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