There’s An Abandoned Bungalow Near Keppel Hill Reservoir, Once Housed Staff Of Private Dock

Keppel House – Abandoned mansion near the reservoir

Adventurous souls who’ve made the hike down to Keppel Hill Reservoir may have stumbled upon a small, narrow road that led to a green gate with a sign that reads “No.11 Keppel Hill”

Peek through the closed gates and you’ll catch a glimpse of a dilapidated 19th-century mansion. After our little hiking adventure, we were curious to find out more about the history of this bungalow that seems to be in the middle of nowhere. So we did some research and found out that it’s called Keppel House

Once housed employees working at Keppel Harbour

Nestled on Keppel Hill, the bungalow is believed to have been completed around 1899. It was originally built to house the manager of the New Harbour Dock Company, one of the privately-owned docks in Singapore at that time.

It was actually the largest house out of a cluster of black-and-white residences built around 1897 – and at one point, even functioned as a radio station. 

The view from the gate – doesn’t it look mysterious?
Image credit: @jerome980d via Instagram 

When New Harbour Dock Company merged with Tanjong Pagar Dock Company to form the Singapore Harbour Board (SHB), the mansion was then renamed to Keppel House. It’s actually believed that the nearby Keppel Hill Reservoir functioned as a swimming pool for residents and guests of Keppel House. 

Over the years, it became the venue for important events and gatherings from around 1939. Think The Great Gatsby, but colonial Singapore. Up until 1942, that is. If you remember Social Studies lessons, that’s when the Japanese Occupation started.

Image credit: Urban Redevelopment Authority 

SHB’s European staff were evacuated, and the Keppel House was then used to house employees from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as part of the Syonan Shipyard. Over the years, it served many other purposes – in the 1970s, it was a PSA Central Training School for the maritime industry before being leased out as offices after. 

And don’t worry – while it’s currently left vacant, the building is protected, as it was given conservation status in 2005. 

Currently not accessible to the public

You may have gotten your urban explorer hat on, ready to check out the grounds of this mansion. We hate to disappoint, but access to Keppel House is currently restricted, save for some private events where the mansion is used as a super posh venue.

With such a long history, one of the questions on your mind might probably be, “Haunted or not ah?”  

Exploring 11 Keppel Hill | Abandoned 19th Century Singapore Mansion

Because of our kaypoh nature, we found a video of someone showing us his POV as he explored the building. We held on to the edges of our seats as he crept into dark corners of the mansion, opening door after door to find hallowed out rooms and corridors. Eh, like got nothing only. 

Thank you to the person who explored No. 11 Keppel House so we don’t have to.
Image credit: @pirate_explorer99 via Instagram 

Ghosts aside, we also virtually admired the architecture of the bungalow that is rare to see in Singapore these days – think cast iron columns, arched windows, and Art Deco-style railings.

This bath tub would be a dream in the modern-day HDB; what a vibe.
Image credit: @pirate_explorer99 via Instagram 

Admire No.11 Keppel House… from the outside

No.11 Keppel House is currently managed by the government, and it seems that there are no plans to develop this mansion for now. But it still stands at the same spot, shrouded by greenery. For the curious, poke your head there the next time you’re in the area, and then make a detour to Keppel Hill Reservoir for your weekend nature fix. 

More for urban explorers: 

Cover image adapted from: 茶柱タツ子 via Google Maps, Urban Redevelopment Authority, @pirate_explorer99 via Instagram 

Dewi Nurjuwita

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