Made up of a dozen bungalows and 26 small blocks of flats, Wessex Estate is one of the few areas where colonial black-and-white houses still remain.
Built in the 1940s by the British administration Public Works Department (PWD), the houses were homes for non-commissioned British officers and soldiers from 1948 up to the 1970s, with the iconic COLBAR known to be the official mess area for these stationed soldiers.
Aside from a designated number, each block was also given a name (e.g. Aden, Blenheim) that corresponded to military feats of British History, dating as far back as to the 18th century.
Aside from Wessex, similar black and white houses can also be found in areas like Seletar (former British Air Base) and Sembawang (former British Naval Base), were constructed towards the end of the 19th century until the outbreak of the Second World War to house various British military officers as well.
Walking in Wessex
I managed to take a walk along a more secluded stretch along Whitchurch and Wonking Road, passing many empty houses that were too inviting to not trespass into.
One would also be obviously envious of the occupants and the wide-open space they enjoy and the amazing effort each houses places into maintaining the clean white façade of their homes.
Mosquitoes aside, the peace and serenity of the area is still very much intact, though tampered a little by the Ayer-Rajah Expressway(AYE) that runs parallel to the houses.
It is also a little bonus perhaps that Singapore’s first satellite town of Queenstown dominates the background the houses are laid up against.
The Wessex estate is now managed by the Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) which over time has transformed it into an enclave that includes studio space for use by local artists, such as sculptor Han Sai Por and a few classy restaurants in the newly minted Wessex village-square.