Black & White Houses

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Singapore's Striking Black & White Houses
In Singapore, “black and whites” refer to the colonial-era bungalows of that color combination built by the British for married officers and civil servants. The oldest date back to the 1890s and the newest the 1940s, with the majority built between the two world wars when the military presence in Singapore was at its peak; about 500 or so survive today and most are owned by the government and rented on a monthly basis. Naturally, clusters of black and whites were built near military installations, from Tanglin to Sembawang, Portsdown, Sime Road, and Alexander Park. The higher your rank the larger the house; some are quite grand. The white was for the cooling properties and the black trim is cresote, a natural black “paint” that wards off termites and insects. To see a string of them, from the Tanglin Mall (at the junction of Tanglin, Grange and Napier roads), walk south about a kilometer along Tanglin Road and there are several on the left side of the road and more when you make a right turn onto Ridley Park road and then a left turn after walking about 10 minutes onto a side street also called Ridley Park (at this point, you’re near Dempsey Hill, a great place for dining and drinks). Or stick to Tanglin Road a short distance more and make a left turn onto Chatsworth Road and look along the left side for charming black and whites.
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