The Old Ford Factory Museum of how it is officially called: Memories at Old Ford Factory is famous for being the place where British troops have officially surrendered to the Japanese forces in 1942, 15th February during the World War II, which even is largely seen by many as the end for the British Empire. The Ford Factory has been recently renovated and turned into a beautiful museum where visitors can admire relics from the past and learn a lot about the history of Singapore.
Indeed, with Japan’s surprising victory over the British troops that no one thought it was ever possible before, meant that a very important era in world history is soon ending. With the words of Winston Churchill, the defeat of Singapore was the “largest capitulation ever in British history”.
The Old Ford Factory was built in 1941 by the US Ford Motor Works as the first ever car assembly plant of Ford in South East Asia. It is interesting to note that the car assembling machines left in the Ford Factory were used to assemble fighter planes by the Malayan Royal Air Force during the Japanese invasion, although most of them were later not used. These planes were shipped out on time before Japanese took over the Ford Factory and used it as their temporary headquarters until the time they moved in to the Raffles College following the British capitulation. The Ford Factory was taken over by Japanese and was used by the already operating Nissan factory in order to assemble military vehicles for the Japanese Army. The factory finally stopped its operation in 1947 and went on this way until its closing in 1980. The Preservation of Monuments Board of Singapore decided in 2006 to make the historical building into a museum and long restoration works have followed. The announcement of the turning Ford Factory Museum into a national monument happened exactly on the 64th anniversary of the British surrender on 15th February in 2006.
The restoration works did their best in order to bring back the old light of the building with the implementation of modern methods especially referring to the façade of the building, which is its main distinguishing feature. The important boardroom where the capitulation document was signed was left in its original form with a replica of the table on which the documents were signed as the original table is with the Australian War Memorial. There is even a clock in the room set on the exact time of the capitulation’s signing with a map of Malaya.
There is a modern structure attached to the original building which lets visitors walk inside the Ford Factory Museum where the journey to the past begins through a tunnel where you will read lots of historical facts and information especially considering the last days before the Japanese occupation. In front of the Museum building, you can see a beautiful Chinese calligraphy sculpture with the Chinese characters meaning Peace written on it. Documentation is preserved in forms of maps and newspapers. Other artefacts are exhibited here, coming from the very age of the World War II era. The Old Ford Factory Museum today includes a great audiovisual theatre for max 76 guests. It features contemporary films, documentaries, and tells on the life of Singapore during the Japanese occupations when it was called Syonan-To. Behind the main gallery of the museum we can even find a nice garden where those crops grow which were the mostly grown during the war time including tapioca, sugar cane, banana and you will even get some explanation on the growing and planting of the crops.
In the transmission tower of the Old Ford Factory Museum, you can learn about the Malayan Campaign which was the form of resistance in those times and you can learn about the history of Bukit Timah too. Admission fees of the Old Ford Factory Museum cost SGD 3 for adults and SGD 2.50 for children.