Standing along Braddell Road, across Raffles Institution, are three vacated school buildings awaiting demolition. However, unlike most other vacated buildings that are locked behind “No Trespassing” signs, the gates of Westlake Primary School and Braddell-Westlake Secondary School remained open, instead brandishing the signs “Enter at Your Own Risk”.

Westlake Primary School 02
The gates near Toa Payoh Industrial Estate and Toa Payoh North HDB flats were left open…

Braddell Road is named after the Braddell family, which includes Thomas Braddell (Attorney General of the Straits Settlements from 1867 to 1882), his son Sir Thomas de Multon Lee Braddell (Chief Judicial Commissioner of the Federated Malay States from 1913 to 1917), and his son Dato Roland St. John Braddell (Municipal Commissioner from 1914 to 1929).

Westlake Primary School 03Westlake Secondary School 01
… while the other gates remain locked

In 2012, it was announced that Raffles Girls’ School will be moving over to this plot of land by 2018, bringing the entire Raffles school family together.

Braddell Secondary School 08
The “Enter at Your Own Risk” sign

Westlake Primary School
Designed by Public Works Department
Constructed: 1977
Status: Losing

Westlake Primary School 04
Westlake Primary School

Westlake Primary School was opened in 1977, and was one of the 6 primary schools (Bedok View, Bendemeer, Beng Wan, Boon Keng, Ghim Moh & Westlake), 1 secondary school (Boon Lay) and 2 junior colleges (Anglo-Chinese & Temasek) to begin conducting lessons that academic year.

Westlake Primary School 01
The pedestrian entrance to Westlake Primary School

As the government was rushing out new schools at that time, the same building design was replicated for various schools built in the same period. In particular, Boon Keng, Ghim Moh and Bedok View Primary were almost identical in design with Westlake Primary. These 3 buildings are still standing today, and have all been refurbished for various other purposes. The remaining 2 primary schools opened at that time, Beng Wan Primary and Bendemeer Primary, seem to follow another design template. Both buildings, which stood side by side, have since been demolished.

Westlake Primary School 05
The concrete beam / drainage piping detail is replicated in many other schools of that period

Westlake Primary School 06
The front porch

The Westlake Primary campus is perhaps most recognisable by its mosaic mural, located outside the school hall. It was completed in 1979, designed by Ho Cheok Tin of New Town Secondary School. The mural is themed “The History of Development in Singapore”, and features numerous landmarks of Singapore, including the National Theatre which was demolished about 7 years after the completion of the mural.

Westlake Primary School 08
The mural at Westlake Primary. How many landmarks can you recognise?

In 2002, Westlake Primary was merged into First Toa Payoh Primary, along with Braddell Primary and San Shan Primary.

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Westlake Primary School 11
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Westlake Primary School 12
Games from the past – hopscotch, fitness corner, basketball court, and places to run around

The school compound was used as a filming location for the 2002 local film, I Not Stupid by Jack Neo. It served as the school that the 3 protagonists studied in.

Westlake Primary School 07
Westlake Primary School 10
Westlake Primary School 14
Westlake Primary School

Since then, the building has been left vacant.

Westlake Secondary School
Designed by Public Works Department
Constructed: 1978
Status: Losing

Westlake Secondary School 02
Westlake Secondary School 12
Westlake Secondary School

One year after the opening of Westlake Primary School, a secondary school of the same name was opened next to it. 2 other secondary schools (Bedok View & Yuan Ching), 2 primary schools (Merlimau & Yung An) and 2 JCs (St Andrew’s & Nanyang) were opened at the same time.

Westlake Secondary School 09
Notable features of this design include the large staircase cores (not seen here) and the slope leading up to the hall

Westlake Secondary School 14
Note the beam ending detail is similar to that of Westlake Primary, but flushed

Westlake Secondary School 15
Westlake Secondary School 17
Westlake Secondary School

As with other schools built during that period, Westlake Secondary shared the same design with Boon Lay Secondary along Jalan Boon Lay, which is currently vacant.

Westlake Secondary School 10
The school hall on the second level

Westlake Secondary School 06
Bleeding canopy?

Westlake Secondary School 11
Vandalised over the years

During the first year of its operation, the Westlake Secondary School campus also housed students from Nanyang JC, while its school buildings at Lorong Chuan were being completed.

Westlake Secondary School 03
Westlake Secondary School 08
Westlake Secondary School

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Recent additions to keep people away from upstairs and the internal spaces

Westlake Secondary School 13
The technical block. Note the column detail for accommodating the pipes

Westlake Secondary School 19
The footbridge leading to Braddell Road

Westlake Secondary merged with the adjacent Braddell Secondary in 2000 to form Braddell-Westlake Secondary School.

Westlake Secondary School 16
Westlake Secondary School 18
Westlake Secondary School

Westlake Secondary School 07

Braddell Secondary School
Designed by Tan Lien Seng of Public Works Department
Constructed: 1981
Status: Losing

Braddell Secondary School 01
Braddell Secondary School 02
Braddell Secondary School

Braddell Secondary School was opened in 1980, and was housed within the Teck Ghee Secondary School campus for a year before its own campus was completed.

Braddell Secondary School 03
Braddell Secondary School 06
Braddell Secondary School 07
Braddell Secondary School

In 2000, Braddell Secondary and Westlake Secondary were merged. The Braddell Secondary campus became known as Campus 1, and housed the lower secondary students. Campus 2 of Braddell-Westlake was located at the old Westlake Secondary buildings, and was used for the upper secondary students.

Braddell Secondary School 04
Braddell Secondary School 05
Braddell Secondary School

Due to declining student numbers, Campus 1 was eventually closed, and the entire school functioned in Campus 2.

Braddell - Westlake Secondary School 01
This linkway was used to connect Campus 1 to Campus 2

Braddell-Westlake Secondary School was closed at the end of 2005, and the remaining students were transferred to Guangyang Secondary School. For the next ten years, the buildings remained vacant.

Since mid-2016, the campus ground has been closed off to the public, most likely in preparation of demolition to give way to Raffles Girls’ School. It is now no longer possible to visit the old school buildings.

File Last Updated: May 25, 2016

12 responses to “Braddell-Westlake

  1. Doesn’t work a

  2. Hi i was from westlake primary from 95 – 98 was a great exp and was so crowded with the prinary and both braddle sec and westlake sec students and miss and love thosevwonderful days there

  3. How to get in? is there security guards?

    • Hi, the gate along Braddell Road (closer to Bishan flyover) was open. There was a security guard stationed at the old Braddell Secondary School building; he will advise you on where you can go and where you can’t. This was a few months back though, not sure if anything has changed. Hope this helps!

  4. went today. the security guards were not friendly.
    said not supposed to be there and is for nearby residents only.
    i said but there’s no no trespassing sign. then he said want to call the police and see?

  5. Hey all. As of today, 12 May 2016, according to a construction contractor at the school site, the area is now no longer “Enter At Your Own Risk”, but is now “No Trespassing”. We nearly entered the compound, but the man was kind enough to tell us that if we take a single step into the compound they will call the police. Just a heads up for all of you. They said that they are starting demolition works at the site.

  6. This was a beautiful piece and evoked nostalgia for me. I went to Westlake Secondary (88-91) and we didn’t have the covered walkways leading to technical block and entrance (over the canal) at that time.

  7. Morrisonian-Rafflesian from Raffles

    Dont worry guys, the murals would still be there so there is a part of Braddell-Westlake left behind.

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