Many of the old buildings in the city of Yangon, which were built during the early days of the British colonial period, have passed through the ages and withstood on sloughs of earthquake, storms , heavy rains and other natural disasters. These massive buildings, which have lasted so many decades, look as if it’s going to be new to the public view.
Among the old buildings the following buildings are still durable with prestige and diginity:
(1) The City Hall (2) The Supreme Court (Chief Court) (3) The Secretariat (4) The parliament Building (5) The President House (6) The Sorretto Villa (7) The Rangoon College Building (8) The Rangoon University College Building (9) The Teachers’s Training College (10) The Medical College (11) The Rangoon General Hospital (12) The Central Women Hospital.
(13) The Row & Co., Ltd.
It is Located at the corner of Dalthuzie Street (now Maha Bandoola Street) and Bar Street (now Maha Bandoola Garden Street). It is a three-storied concrete building. It is near the City Hall across the Bar Street. During the British colonial period it was a department store owned by an English businessman. A variety of goods imported from abroad was sold in retail to the customers with fair prices. It had been very popular as “Row & Co” until it was nationalized by the Revolutionary Government in March 1964. The Government of the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) had used this building as the Head office of the Immigration and Manpower Department.
(14) The Sein Brother (or) Waziya Building
It is situated in the middle block of Pandodan Street. Its is one of the older three-storied buildings in the pre-war days. Before the WWII, it had been very popular as Watson Department Store owned by an English merchant. Like the Row Co.,Ltd, it had sold a variety of goods imported from abroad to the customers at fair prices. After the War its name was changed to Waziya or Sein Brother Department Store owned by Myanmar business U Tun Sein. It was also nationalize by the Revolutionary Government in March 1964. Throughout the period of the BSPP Government it has stood as the Head office of the Myanma Insurance.
(15) The Myanma Port Authority (MPA)
This three-storied building is located at the corner of Pansodan Street and the Strand Road. It had been popularly known as the office of the Port Commissioner during the reign of the AFPFI. Government and the Revolutionary Government until the Government until the Government of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) used it as the Myanma Port Authority up till now.
(16) The Custom House
This three-storied builing is situated in the Strand Road between Pansodan Street and Sule Pagoda Road. It was constructed round about 1900 and formerly known as the Custom House or the Commissioner of Custom Duty. Nowadays, it stands the Department of Custom Duty.
(17) The Strand Hotel
This three-storied building is one of the oldest buildings in Rangoon and was built in 1902. Although this building has a passed through 113 years, it is stille going strong and firm. Since it is located in the Strand Road, it is widely known as the Strand Hotel. The wedding reception ceremonies and the music concerts from abroad have been inaugurated at this Hotel. Before the Inya Lake and Thamada Hotels have not sprung up, the affluent persons took great pride when they hold the wedding receptions and Shinpyu (novitiation ceremonies) at the City Hall and the Strand Hotel. Since the days of the political government a large number of foreigners who have come here on business or on tour have put up at the Strand Hotel.
(18) The General Post Office (GPO)
It has stood as the massive three-storied building and is located at the corner of the Spark Street (npw Bo Aung Kyaw Street) and the Strand Road. It is one of the remnants of the British colonial period. It is constituted with the departments of percel, letter-sorting, letter-distribution , postage, dead letter and many others. Nowadays, it is widely known as the Central Post Office.
(19) The Aung San Stadium
Before the WWII, it had been widely known as the B.A.A. (Burma Athletic Association) Foot-ball Ground. In those days the popular University College foot-ball team and the Burma Police foot-ball tema had played with all-out effort to win a shield at this foot-ball ground. In 1934, the former was awarder with a shield for winning the match against the latter for three consecutive years.
After the War its name was changed to the Aung San Stadium. The State and Division foot-ball teams, the Myanmar selected foot-ball team vs. the foreign foot-ball team played strenuously at this foot-ball ground. The track and field teams and foot-ball ground. The track and field teams and foot-balls teams of universities and colleges participated at the annual events. In 1961 rows of the sitting seat on the eastern sidle was abolished in order to celebrate the SEAP Game grandiosely and replaced with rows of new seat made of concrete.
In December 1962 the American artistes presented short plays with the title of “Holidays on Ice” on the man-made field of ice in the centre of this stadium. They created a large field of ice which lasted for many days and presented musical plays and short plays to the audience flavourly and humorously. The audience was very much pleased with their music and actions. It was the first and only once performance on ice in Myanmar.
(20) The Fire Brigade Building
The tow-storied building with a very tall tower was located in the Sule Pagoda just opposite to the City Hall. One can see from this tower which buildings is set on fire in the city of Rangoon. Fire-fighting vehicles are placed stand by on the ground floor in order to go quickly and extinguish the burnt houses.
In 1959 a visiting foreign stuntman rode a motorcycle on the nylon rope joining between the top floor of the city hall and the roof of the fire brigade building. A large number of pedestrians standing in the Sule Pagoda Road looked at his stunt with excitement and suspense.
(21) The Police Court Building
Among the remnants of the British colonial period this massive and strong building is situated at the corner of the Sule Pagoda Road and the Strand Road. Since the days of the AFPFL Government and the Revolutionary Government it had been constituted with various departments, viz : Office of the Additional Magistrate, Office of the Superintendent of Excise, Office of the Revenue Department and so on. It was formerly known as the Police Court. Next, it had become the Headquarters of the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) and then the Headquaters of the Lanzin Youth Central Organizing Committee.
(22) The Bank Buildings
Bank buildings are located in the vicinity of the Sule Pagoda Road, the Merchant Street and Pansodan Street and were constructed before the WWII. Before nationalizing the foreign banks in March 1963, the Chartered Bank, the Imperial Bank of India, the Greenlay Bank and the Overseas Chinese Bank had been possessed by the foreign capitalists. Before 1988 the Union Bank of Burma had transected the banking business in the sule Pagoda Road, downtown Yangon.
Source : The traveller Vol 2, No.31 From Jan 12 To 18, 2015