Saturday, 13 March 2010

The Cold Store

Reading James Seah's latest blog post on supermarket shopping (and the cold store) in the 1960s, reminded me of the cold store we used to visit in Singapore. Although we went there for our shopping, I think one of the main reasons for going inside was just to cool down from the heat and humidity outside! The cold stores were air conditioned and seemed at the time like the only place where you could cool down in those days. I don't remember any houses having air conditioning, ours certainly didn't.Another thing that Alan and me found fascinating about the cold store was that when you approached it (I think that the store was Fitzpatricks) the doors flew open to let you in. I'd only ever seen anything like this in Star Trek and usually, you'd have to open the doors yourself. Of course, nowadays, all supermarkets and stores have self-opening doors but, at the time, it seemed very space age!
Somewhere near the coldstore, was a shop that had the first escalator in Singapore. I can't remember what the shop was called but I remember going on it just before we came back to England in 1968. All these things are taken for granted now but were fascinating to small boys back in the 1960s. I remember we stayed in a hotel on the way back and the thing we enjoyed about it the most was going up and down in the lift! We were easily pleased.
Anyway, I don't really remember what we bought in the cold store, all I remember is the Star Trek technology and being able to get away from the heat of the sun (and the smell) of the Singapore streets!


  1. When I lived in Kuala Lumpur my mum used to leave me in the wonderfully cool Cold Store there. I was about 6 or 7 and I used to sit up on a stool at the counter where I was served a strawberry milk shake. The Malay girl behind the counter would look after me for the time it took mum to go round the "smelly market" hence my reluctance to join her. This was a regular event and a treat so is very vivid in my memory. I still have a great fondness for Strawberry milkshakes even at the age of 58!!!

    1. We used the JB cold storage too. My mum and sister liked to visit the restaurant upstairs as well, where I ate nothing but soup and strawberry ice cream, wish I could try a curry now!

  2. Thanks to Derek for the interesting, informative and memorable photo on "The Cold Store". The is an educational and historical blog with every relevant topics young people nowadays to learn.

    My classmate Kim Choon's article on "Supermarket Shopping" was written 40 years ago and testify Derek and Alan's descriptions of a brand new consumer supermarket experience. Never before in the past were shopping in the established local shophouse proprietor businesses, specialised single products not unlike a wider range of multiple products under the same roof like Cold Storage and Fitzpatrick's. (Similar to
    Robinson's Department Store which C. K. Tang had cloned the marketing concept later).

    It is no wonder that the new shopping experience remembered by Kim Choon which Derek had aptly described as "I'd only ever seen anything like this in Star Trek and usually, you'd have to open the doors yourself". Other advance technology and new service techniques in air-conditioned comfort with neatly arranged and displayed shelves with product categories and signage, Do-It-Yourself (DIY) with shopping carts, payment counters with courteous packaging helpers for customers convenience. It was a "total supermarket experience" with more creative, relaxing piped-in music, and designed methods improved over the years for many most countries.

  3. I have such vivid memories of the Cold Store (but I think my brother and I called in Cold Storage!). There was a record department and I remember listening to "These boots are made for walking" by Nancy Sinatra and looning about with my little brother who was about 5 and I was 8. We came alive when we were in there - so lovely and cool and yes, I remember the doors. Everything seemed so exciting in those days. It was an amazing place to live at an amazing time

  4. I think it was called Cold Storage. I remember the most fantastic milkshake bar nearby, vanilla ice cream plus the ingredient of choice to flavour the drink. Or perhaps it was near Fitzpatricks, but the market always fascinated me as a child, mainly the smells and tastes. Have just been given a packet of sour plums, can hardly eat them now, treated them like wine gums in those days.