Nee Soon Post Office

While most modern post offices are now located in the new towns’ centers or shopping malls, there is one still standing proudly at the interception of Upper Thomson Road and Mandai Road. However, it is no longer functioning as a post office and is largely being used as a storage place instead.

Officially called Nee Soon Post Office, the colonial-styled building has served the nearby old Nee Soon community well for decades. Nee Soon Village was named after one of Singapore’s pioneers Lim Nee Soon (1879 – 1936)

There is a distinctive orange and white postal box at the front of the post office. The design was a trademark of Telecommunication Authority of Singapore (TAS), the former body of the present-day Singapore Telecom and Singapore Post. Introduced in 1982, the once-familiar postal box was used all over the island for 10 years.

The postmaster used to live on the second floor of the post office with his family, while the first level served as the office area.

In 2003, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) intended to turn Mandai Post Office into a visitor center to showcase local natural and socio-cultural history, but the plan did not materialise.

Before 1971 when the rectangular letter boxes were introduced, cylinder-shaped pillar boxes were used for the public to deposit their letters. Made of cast iron, each pillar box weighs 400kg and is about 1.5m tall. These pillar boxes were the products of British colonial days, appearing as early as 1900. The one located in front of Singapore Philatelic Museum is the only operational pillar box in modern days.

Near Hong Lim Park, there is a similarly designed building formerly known as North Canal Road Post Office. It has been converted to Kreta Ayer Neighbourhood Police Post, also a registration center for anyone who wishes to give speech at the Speaker’s Corner.

For a brief history of post offices in Singapore, read You’ve Got Mail… Singapore’s Former/Old Post Offices.

Published: 18 December 2010

Updated: 10 July 2012

23 Responses to Nee Soon Post Office

  1. Victor says:

    There was never a Mandai Post Office. The office had always been Nee Soon Post Office.
    Also, the current Kreta Ayer NPP was previously North Canal Road Post Office. Kreta Ayer Post Office is a completely different office which was at the HDB block behind the Kreta Ayer CC.

    • Thanks for the info!
      I have added some amendments to the article.. However, for Kreta Ayer Post Office, I have retrieved the info from the URA website:

      Hong Lim Park is located at the gateway to the Central Business District and is close to Singapore River and the Chinatown Historic District. It is an island site bounded by busy roads – North Canal Road, South Bridge Road, Upper Pickering Street and New Bridge Road. At present, part of the site is occupied by Telok Ayer Hong Lim Green Community Centre, as well as a ‘Modern’-style multi-purpose stage built in the 1950s. There is also a neighbourhood police post, which is housed in the former Kreta Ayer Post Office building, as well as an entrance to the future Clarke Quay MRT Station at the northern corner of the site. The site has several large mature trees as well as a green open space.

      Hong Lim Park is a site of historical and national significance. It is Singapore’s first privately-owned public garden and is named after Cheang Hong Lim, a wealthy Chinese businessman, who bought the land in 1876.

    • Kpanjang , KTP, KPee says:

      Victor is right , Nee Soon post office ,at Mandai junction.
      My dad had P.O. Box no. 1 , from 1963 until the post office closed in the 90′s

  2. ray killelay says:

    can anyone remember the happy cafe bar in old nee soon circa 1957 -1963.i used to go the//re when i was based in hms terror at sembawang. many happy memories i visit singapore often my last big trip due to advancig age is going to be in october 2012 for one month.can the site of the old bar still be identified

    • Kpanjang , KTP, KPee says:

      Alot of changes in Nee Soon . i believe it was opposite Transit Road, well Transit Road leeds to Nee soon camp. Nee Soon Road has been change from a two lane to a four lane road, so all the shops are gone . A few shop along transit road are still around the rest burned down in the 80′s.
      For landmark use Nee Soon Camp, Transit road and the post office at Mandai Junction in order to get your bearings around the place.
      Have good trip.

  3. Passed by Mandai Road and saw the whole building fenced and covered up…
    Not sure if they are going to refurbish the post office or demolish it

    • Anonymous123 says:

      The building will be undergoing major renovation to its facade, the annex single storey building next to it had been demolished

  4. Peter Dunlop author "Street names of Singapore" says:

    Even the caption in Victor’s link is a bit weird, why Boat Quay area? When its is Hong Lim. Kereta Ayer Street is quite a long way away. The wells for the water carts were near the little temple at the foot of the hill. Hong Lim used to be a Teo Chew area as was Boat Quay. There was of course a Hong Lim constituency and a famous bye election which was not won by the PAP. If you are into conspiracy theories then think about it. Upper Circular Road which is south and west of the river is in Moulmein Kallang GRC previously it was in Kampong Glam Ward of Jalan Besar constituency. It was in Hong Lim and one would think of the river as a boundary and that it should be in the Kereta Ayer ward of Tanjong Pagar GRC after the demise of the old Hong Lim Constituency.
    Hong Lim Green is named after Cheong Hong Lim, 1841-93, a philanthropist who made his money as an opium and spirits farmer, and in property and shipping. In 1876 he donated $3000 to create a public garden which was originally called Dunman’s Green after Thomas Dunman, then Hong Lim Green and now Hong Lim Park.
    The Straits Chinese Recreation Club, formed in 1885, was granted permission to use Hong Lim Green, and built a pavilion facing New Bridge Road for the purpose of playing lawn tennis, cricket, and practising English athletic sports.
    The park was used for some of the early PAP rallies. Hong Lim constituency was the scene of some bitterly contested elections. Ong Eng Guan won against the PAP’s Jek Yuen Thong in the 1961 by-election and again, against their Seah Mui Mok, in the 1963 general election. In 1965 Ong resigned his seat and the PAP won against Barisan in the subsequent by-election.
    On 1st September 2000 the “Speakers’ Corner” modelled on the Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park, opened with a few speakers and a large number of journalists to witness the event. The corner allows Singaporeans, within certain constraints, to continue Hong Lim’s political tradition by publicly airing their views.

    • Hi Peter, how do the names of Kim Keat, Lorong Ah Soo and Foo Kim Lin Road come about? I couldn’t find any info on their origins.

    • Victor says:

      Re the North Canal Road Post Office being in the Boat Quay area is really just a sweeping statement that reflects sloppy research or inadequate knowledge.
      North Canal Road starts in the Boat Quay area and extends pass North Bridge Rd till New Bridge Road, so I suppose that whoever wrote the caption just conveniently lumped the entire road into Boat Quay.
      A friend of mine pointed out numerous examples of similar mistakes in the NHB publications.

  5. Ray says:

    thank you to KPee for reply to my enquiry about happy cafe.as you came from transit camp 1957 you turn right at t junction you ere then on main road into city. happy cafe was only about 1 or 2 hundred yards on the right hand side. intend explore the area in oct when on holiday.am prepared to be dissapointed but will have tried best to recollect.

  6. A new look of the former Nee Soon Post Office (October 2012)

    • JW says:

      I used to take 138 from the bus stop opposite it back home when I booked out of Nee Soon Camp. This building is now being turned into a Vet….

  7. Celroy says:

    I always go to the executive golf course near there and always pass by this building, today just found out what it was, and the renovation has been completed.

  8. Ferrari19 says:

    Its now been turned into a pet shop and vet clinic for pets and animals it looks the same as it used to it still keeps this old style but now has a carpark and an extended area my dad always thought it would be a pretty good location for a restaurant

    • It’s nice to hear that they have made good use to this iconic old building. Better than demolition like what they did to the old Jalan Kayu Post Office last year

      • ferrari19 says:

        yeah it was my old kindergarten it used to be called chatsworth now thats gone to seleater aerospace park i remember just how it looked on the inside now its a new road what a waste of such a nice building

    • Anonymous la says:

      They retained the distinctive mail box which I think is quite a nice thought.

  9. Ray Killelay says:

    in 1956 i used the happy cafe bar a bit further down the road towards the city.it was on the right hand side going towards the city.i have been back to singapore on several occaisions since starting from 1990 onwards he last visit was for a month in october 2012 but sadly could not figure out the exact location.anyone old enough to remember it i would be pleased to hear what became of it thank you RAY KILLELAY.

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