Upper Thomson Secondary & Other Abandoned Schools

Sitting nicely on a small hill opposite Springleaf Estate along Upper Thomson Road, this school has been forgotten since its closure in 1997.  This is the previous campus of Upper Thomson Secondary School and Seletar Institute.

Upper Thomson Secondary School started in 1965, the same year Singapore achieved its independence. When it was first established, the classes were split into English and Chinese streams. In its first year, there were 13 classes of 484 Secondary One students taught in English and 10 classes of 365 students taught in Chinese.

As years went by, the number of student intakes rose to 1,500 to 2,000, where Chinese made up a majority of 80% or more. The school offered Secondary One to Four educations for all races of Singaporeans.

Despite limited budgets, Upper Thomson Secondary School had good facilities. Its premises consisted of a main block, assembly hall, a science laboratory block, basketball court and a man-made pond.

Many early batches of Upper Thomson Secondary School students excelled in table tennis and badminton, winning numerous trophies in national competitions for their alma mater.

In 1988, the school moved to a new site in Yishun and changed their name to North View Secondary School. The old campus was taken over by Seletar Institute (SI), which was established in the same year, and the old buildings were given fresh paintings, renovations and fitted with air-conditioners. A library, conference room, gymnasium, art studio, staff lounge and computer room were also added.

Seletar Institute was one of the four original centralised institutes (CI) in Singapore that offered three-year study and General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (Singapore Cambridge). The other three were Outram Institute (OI), Jurong Institute (JI) and Townsville Institute (TI). Outram Institute and Jurong Institute had merged to form Millennia Institute (MI) in 2004, while Townsville Institute closed down in 1995.

Likewise, Seletar Institute could not escape the fate of closure as Ministry of Education (MOE) announced there would not be any more enrollment of ‘A’ Levels students in 1996. The institute was closed a year later, and the campus was left vacant and forgotten for more than a decade.

Elsewhere in Singapore, there is another abandoned school compound located along Braddell Road. It was the former Braddell-Westlake Secondary School. Although it was vacated only since 2005, the conditions of the buildings had deteriorated rapidly due to the lack of maintenance.

The former Outram Campus of Nanyang Polytechnic has been abandoned for some 15 years. Situated opposite the Silat Road Sikh Temple along Jalan Bukit Merah, the campus was Nanyang Polytechnic’s five temporary campuses when it was first established in April 1992; the other four being Bukit Merah, Tiong Bahru, Yishun and Jurong.

former nanyang polytechnic outram campus2

In 1998, Nanyang Polytechnic consolidated its schools and faculties and moved to a permanent site at Ang Mo Kio. The Outram Campus has since been vacated and forgotten, while the other four campuses were demolished and redeveloped.

former nanyang polytechnic outram campus

former nanyang polytechnic outram campus3

Published: 02 May 2011

Updated: 23 March 2013

61 Responses to Upper Thomson Secondary & Other Abandoned Schools

  1. The 1968 alumni book of Upper Thomson Secondary School

  2. Ian Martin says:

    My name is Ian Martin and was a former student from 1977-1980 and can we visit the school when we visit there?
    Regards

    • Hi Ian, its main gate is locked most of the time. There’s a CCTV at the entrance so it’s not advisable to trespass the compound.

    • R Nagen says:

      Hi Ian. This is Naga. Hope you remember. Sec 4 C.

      • Hi Nagen, I’m not sure if you are the same Nagen I know but if you were from UTSS and worked in Woodlands before do drop me a mail.
        To the rest it was indeed very interesting to see the posts and the pictures. Yes UTSS was not the top school during the 70’s but she produces some outstanding Singapore icons… I live abroad now and was just browsing through the FB and was surprise to see UTSS Alumni List. Great job whoever started this… I never fail to tell my children ( well adults now) about the Mr. Nair ( white horse) and Mr. Anthony ( hard to smile) and some others like Mrs .Su… who were good role models… All the best to all of you………

    • nadirah omar says:

      can i have ur email address so i can add u in the upper thomson sec. school facebook group

  3. syima says:

    Why didn’t they demolished the school???

  4. Rydwan says:

    I was in the final batch of students at SI. Really great natural environment perfect. Not many schools in SG are embedded in nature. Best years of my teenage life there. :)

  5. Chew kok leong says:

    Those are fond growing up memories we have there. It made me who I am today and those parts of me will be sorely missed. Something not everyone can understand. I am very glad to have many close friends from those days, including a little god-daughter.

  6. Lim Jew Meng says:

    Hi, I was in Upp Thomson Sec School, year of 1975 before leaving for overseas. I’ve lost total contacts with my classmates and schoolmates. Linking up with 1 might lead to others. I used to play badminton on very competitive level with fellow schoolmates like Foo Kong Fai, Tan Guan koon (mango), lionel and Ang Cheng Lam and dearest Sim Kian Bee. Our teacher/trainer was Mr Richard Chee. Some of us made it to SAFSA and the national squad. If by some miracle I can find them thru your help I will be most grateful. Please contact me at jonaafr@gmail.com

    • sneakergaze says:

      Hi, I just happened to be scrolling through the comments on this post and saw yours. I was a student at RGS from 2002 – 2005 and one of our PE teachers was a Mr Richard Chee. A rather memorable fellow indeed! (When teaching us how to play tennis, he always said, “Girls, you must SLAP the ball (with your racquet).” And he played the song “Goodnight, Irene, Goodnight” for us on the ukulele.) If you’re trying to get in touch with him — well, he might still be at RGS / someone there might know? :)

      • steadyhands says:

        Mr Richard Chee taught me PE at CJC from 1994 to 1995. The last time I met him around 2008, he had already retired from teaching. Yes, I believe your Mr Chee is the same as mine as they love singing a song on the ukelele….

    • Hi Jew meng..I’m Jahra x student fr utss final yr 1975 class sec 4d class teacher MrLee Yiew Tee..

  7. serina ong says:

    Yes… Missed those days…. And missed you guys out there from Seletar institute!!!

  8. Ellen Tan says:

    Miss those days. I pass by it almost everyday. Class of 79.

  9. kong sway foo says:

    Hey, you know what, I was the one who supervised the building of the school under the PWD of old! Still have some old photos taken with school as background.

    • Mayparol Sinnappu says:

      Hi im Mr May the oprations manager of North View Secondary School{formerly upper Thomson secondary}.I am in the process of setting up a heritage corner to celebrate the 25 yrs of the school/The school still holds the name Upper Thomson Secondary in Mandarin.I can be reached at 97535683.

    • TYT says:

      Dear Mr Kong SF
      U may not remember me. I from Drg Office. We were @ Adam Drive W&B. U & Miss Kee were looking after the “C” Div. KI Rpzario the SA(W&B). Glad to “see” U in this website. Rgds.

  10. Fauziah Mohd Shariff says:

    Deares former Seletrians…wow!! its such a long time since i used that name/term. Once I typed it, almost instantly I was brought back to those fantabulous years of SI. I was one of the pioneer batch of teachers to have started SI. I remembered our Principal Mdm Soh Bie Leng, such a dear dame. As a teacher back then, just starting out, Mdm Soh had been such an inspiration and her gentle yet steady persona helped mould me into a teacher with a sense of purpose. Thank you Mdm Soh! And to all my colleagues back then, i felt so much a member of the SI family. We started small and that made such a difference to instill the family spirit among the teachers and students. I am ever grateful that I had the chance of meeting great students who walked through the gates of SI. And it is so heartening to know that many of you became teachers! My first batch of ML students….can you still remember the drama we put up? I had such a blast! I would not change it for the world lah! As now, to all former Seletarians (students and staff), may your life be filled with sweet memories and may your heart smiles always :)

    • Elaine Tan says:

      Ms Fauziah!!!! I’m Elaine Tan Pei Yen, a Seletarian from 1993-1995, from your form class!! Do you remember me? (Together with Ivan Ho, we created quite a hoo-ha in school back then… ;p)
      How have you been? If you could, pls contact me at elaineteo76@hotmail.com so that we can chat further… Miss all of you!!

  11. othman says:

    I was school at Naval Base but in 1973 to 1974, I took my technical class at Upper Thompson. Such a memorable school. I am proud that mostly my projects were nicely display at the common corridor. For sure highest mark obtained.

  12. passer by says:

    RGS is to be moved to the location presently occupied by braddel westlake by 2018

  13. razz says:

    hi there, is there a CCTV for the Braddell-Westlake Secondary as well?

  14. Devil says:

    hmm why no pics of Gong Shan Xiao Sue at Outram Rd ?

  15. Suguna says:

    Ian – finally I found someone from the same school. This school has a great impact in my life

  16. BEVINN says:

    LIKE SELEGIE AND FARRER THEY BOTH WERE CLOSED IN IN THE PAST

  17. Great pics. I was the pioneer batch of Seletar Institute (1988)… brings back many fond memories

  18. Putra says:

    I’m 17 and waiting for my ‘N’ Level results. I frequently have nightmares, of this school. Believe me I’ve never gone inside the school but somehow I can memorize part of the school grounds.

  19. Melissa says:

    Wow! I had to go to Braddel-Westlake to do some “A” level papers about a million years ago! So sad to see this school just rotting away! Sigh!

  20. firrrdaus says:

    Back then in SI, my late grandmother was a Malay food stall owner. Her stall was at the very end of the canteen. Whenever my mum came over to help her, I played behind the stall with some of the students. There was a chin-up bar I think. I was only less than 6 years old. Does anyone remember a very young boy at the canteen back then?

  21. Jonathan loh says:

    If Im not wrong, MOE shld be renovating braddell westlake sec sch for RGS? so that the RI family is combined. Btw, was the compound used for filming jack Neo’s “I not stupid”?

  22. nadirah omar says:

    Hi, former Upper Thomson Secondary School students..there is a facebook group that uniting all former students all the way from when the school was initially open to the day of its closure. i was with the last batch before we are moved to North View Sec School in Yishun.

  23. nadirah omar says:

    hi again, i was in upper thomson from 1985 to 1989 than we move to north view sec. we open up facebk group upper thomson secondary school to be in continuous contacts, exchange pictures, memories n conduct reunion events. currently we are in process in preparing our 3rd reunion consist of former teachers n students. please contact or email me 94895571 or icy_ira@yahoo.com .

  24. nagenthiran.ramanujam@facebook.com says:

    I was doing my ‘O’ Levels in 1979.

  25. Another campus that has been abandoned for many years, the former Singapore School for the Deaf, located at Prince Charles Square:


  26. Jacky Lee says:

    Hi Just wondering was Bradell Westlake Secondary the same as Braddel Secondary School which closed down on 1999???

    • braddellite says:

      Braddell sec sch and Westlake sec sch were 2 separate schs until they merge sometime in the 1990s when intake for the 2 schs shrunk. Perhaps the ministries can consider transforming these 2 buildings into nursing homes since it is some distance away from HDB dwellers and at the same time near convenient amenties

  27. 9varz says:

    Hi, just wondering who has current jurisdiction over the UTSS and SI sites?

  28. David Lye says:

    Oh wow, I just chanced on this website. UTSS will forever hold a special place in my heart. I still remember the school song!! (Yes, in mandarin). My culture shock (happiness) as I was from an all boy’s school. My first crush (it certainly felt like love then). My first fight. My first beating (sic). My first hockey game where the spectators carried hockey sticks. My having to lead the school in reciting the National Pledge…in Malay! The air rifle range. My first awesome goalkeeper dive. My 3 year pursuit of a medal in the 1,500 metre run. Basically, UTSS was where I experienced many of my life’s FIRSTS. 1977-1980 Those were good years!

    • Suguna says:

      Hi David I remember you because of Corrine ow

    • Hello David, Yes I do remember you now after reading the “having to lead the school in reciting the National Pledge, the air rifle range” etc….. interesting in deed….!!!! Am I correct to say you were living across the schools?
      It will be good to meet if God be willing whenever I come to Singapore……

    • kkb says:

      my late father was a teacher in UTss & i think he used to coach hockey.

  29. Suguna says:

    Hi! David, I think I remember you as we are from the same batch of 1977 – 1980

  30. Y says:

    Any idea how/who shld I look for to access the schools? Thinking of organizing event there.

  31. CRiXEL says:

    how about researching on the school at marsiling area. Old fu chun primary/secondary i not quite sure which is it. Its heard to be haunted.

  32. Muhd Rifqi Solihin says:

    I am a student from North View Secondary School and by this story, Idk that there was a school before this. i am only sec 1 this year 2014

  33. lala says:

    Another is Manjusri Secondary (Sims drive, geylang area). It’s left there since 2006.

  34. Tiff Tay says:

    UTSS was my Mum’s Secondary School back then and till now she’s still so proud of her school. It was also kinda coincedental that i’m staying near NVSS so naturally i applied NVSS as my first choice when choosing my Secondary School. When i was studying at NVSS it was magical that i came to realised my form teacher, who taught me since Sec1 to Sec5, Mrs Rufus was from UTSS too and even the Drink Stall’s owners at the canteen was previously working at UTSS too.

  35. The former campus of Changkat Changi Secondary School (1966-2001) and Changkat Primary School (temporary, 2002-2004) at Jalan Tiga Ratus, off Upper Changi Road East. Have been vacated since then.


  36. Sathick says:

    That Nanyang Poly campus, it used to be Silat Primary School. I was studying there till P3 when it closed it’s doors and a few years later became a campus of Nanyang.

  37. fafa says:

    Hey people. sorry to interrupt. Do you guys still remember parry primary school ? It was called parry avenue boy’s school in the late 1974’s if I remember. it’s located off yio chu kang road. But it’s converted into boys and girls school since then. (parry primary school )I do not know if the school still exsist or has been demolished. My dad used to go to that school and he is still finding for his long lost friends. Does anyone still remember that school ? You can email me at falloutgirl18@live.com.sg

    thanks ! :D

  38. Mahalakshimi says:

    I was from UTSS (1986-1988) then moved to NVSS (1988-1990) almost every weekend I pass by UTSS and all the memories … oooo my … No words to express…. Is there any way to be able to enter the school for the last time …. Who can I appeal to …am very sure …most ex students have the same feel as me ….

  39. Hi,

    There is an abandoned school right along Depot Road, I work at HP which so everyday I will pass by the school when going to work, would be interesting if you can research on the history of this school too

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