Singapore ’50s Ex-Pats

Poppy sculpture

Elizabeth joined us this afternoon for a few days. She brought us a Poppy for the garden.

Our sister-in-law Frances’s father was an excellent photographer. I was therefore very pleased when Elizabeth also brought a 7 x 5 cm. packet of medium format black and white negatives from the 1950s. The envelope bears the stamp of Lim Photo Studio, 235 East Coast Road, Singapore. My sister came with a joint project for us. This was to produce a set of prints of family photographs taken during the years in Singapore. We scanned 30 images today, and will make the prints tomorrow. Here are a few:

Frances's Mum, Patricia, Catherine and Frances 011

From left to right, this family portrait features Frances’s Mum, sisters Patricia and Catherine, and Frances herself,

Frances 006

who here stands alone, perhaps in their garden.

Frances and Patricia 025

Frances and Patricia enjoy the swimming pool recognised by Elizabeth’s friend Paul, who also grew up in Singapore,

Frances and Vauxhall 018

and whose father also owned a similar Vauxhall car, here seen under its corrugated iron shelter.

Rickshaw bike 010

Perhaps the family travelled on one of these rickshaw bikes,

Frances's Mum reflected 015

or shopped here, where Mrs. Boyle, Frances’s Mum, is reflected in the windows.

Frances, Patricia, and their Dad 024

Socks and sandals worn by her husband, were clearly quite acceptable at the time.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome chilli con carne (recipe) and pilau rice with green beans. Elizabeth and I drank more of the cotes du Rhone.


  1. How nice you have a Poppy in your garden! These photos give me a sense of a relaxed family whose children had a certain amount of freedom. They do reflect a place and time, but also an atmosphere. Interesting.

  2. “This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome child” – you devoured the child already? I’ve heard of cooking with Poppy seeds but not the entire Poppy. Lovely black and White photos – and I love the Vauxhall!

  3. With ‘printing the prince’ and ‘devouring the child’ I can’t help but think that there’s a joke or a riddle in here? Or too much wine

  4. swimming pool is back to front , buildings, including sweet shop, is on the right, beyond the parasols is a drop to a beach. We used to swim out and play in the jap built concrete gun emplacements. We also had to vacate the beach when the the fleet came in as the wash from the ships caused a mini sunami. Paul

      1. We didn’t have a Vauxhaull we had a simca V8 (dad) and a Renault Floride convertible.(mums ) called a Caravelle in the U.K. Both rusted terribly in the salty damp atmosphere.

  5. My mother also lived in Singapore for a while, when my grandfather lived there for his work as a Merchant Marine captain. I have zero photos of the family from that time, and I love it that you have these.

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