The Adam Park Project

Virtual Museum

The Adam Park Chapel Collection p.285

Item Information:

Catalogue Number: Chapel 001 Source: The Adam Park Project, BHFineart, National Archives of Singapore, Location: No. 11 Adam Park Report No: Not Applicable Artifact Type: Murals Production Date: 2016-01-18 00:00:00 Dimensions of Item: TBD Copyright with The Adam Park Project

Other Description:

A collection of photographs and images associated with the search for the Adam Park Chapel

Historic Context:

It has been many years since the discovery of POW Chapel murals in Robert's Barracks over in Changi. The location of St Lukes was seen as a seminal moment in the history of the FEPOW story and the chapel has become an icon for Singapore's wartime heritage.

Imagine the excitement then when a second chapel was found intact at Adam Park.

The Adam Park Chapel was built by Capt Eric Andrews who converted the upstairs room of a blown out Class 1 House on the estate. The Chapel was room ideally located above the camp canteen and only accessible from the fire escape at the rear of the building ensured it remained a peaceful place. Andrews had his congregation help repair the house and build the chapel. He himself did the stainglass window and painted the image of Mary Magdalene rolling back the rock. Unfortunately Eric was not too good at painting faces so he cut out a picture of Dorothy Lamour's face from a magazine and stuck that to the glass before painting around it.

Eric made a yellow wash for the walls using the clay found in the gardens around the house and the blue paint for the scroll around the window was sources from Reckett's Blue toilet cleaner.

The artist Pte Robert Mitchel sketched not only the outside of the building but also went upstairs and painted the chapel murals. 70 years on it was his work gave us the vital clue to determine which room the chapel had been located but it did not show us which house it was in as all the Class 1 houses on the estate have basically the same layout

The exact location of the chapel remained a mystery for many years despite the many surveys and much research undertaken by the TAPP team. By 2014 the search had been narrowed to houses No's 9, 10, and 11 Adam Park. It was not until a chance viewing of the Bukit Brown exhibition that the definitive evidence was uncovered. The exhibition's centre piece was an enormous reproduction of a 1948 aerial photograph of Bukit Brown in which Adam Park was featured. The image showed two houses in a state of disrepair some 6 years after the fighting had taken place. No.17, known to have been burnt down during the fighting was still a charred shell. But notably No.11 was also obviously derelict and as the image was so large, it was even clear enough to see the same damage to house as shown in Mitchell's work Work is currently underway at No.11 to assess how much if any of the murals are still in situ. Suffice to say TAPP has discovered only the second Chapel site in the country.

Work is being undertaken by MAEK and Aquimate to assess the state of Eric's murals and assess the feasibility of their recovery. 

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