Monday, September 01, 2008

Treasured Items Discovered!

caption: Mr Lawrence, adviser of Michaelian Catholic Society, checking the prized items.
Remember the English “S. Withers & Co.” safe which is believed to be more than 80 years old? It was crane-lifted to the ground floor from the former Brothers' quarters and the current school chapel and now placed opposite St Michael's Chubb strong room. and , waiting to be placed at a permanent spot within the school.
The safe was believed to have been used by Japanese officials during World War II to keep important documents and valuable items. When they left, the safe was emptied before it was used by Brother Paul, Brother Vincent and other Brother directors to keep important school papers. Exposure to the elements had resulted in the weakening of the wooden cabinet placed under the safe. As a result, the joints gave way and what found inside amazed many. We found old school magazines, old leaflets, journals written by Brother Paul, school reports, old postcards, floor plans of St Michael's and even an old, wooden badminton racquet. Luckily, the teachers, instead of the school cleaners, arrived there first. All items will be handed over to Brother Vincent Corkery and Brother Matthew for safekeeping.

4 comments:

Andrew Lim said...

Hi Peter,
Is there a chance for us to take a look at it?

harrneak said...

Hi Mr Peter,

Good job by the teachers in salvaging part of SMI history which could be passed on as "rubbish".
This particular safe was indeed used by the Japs during Occupation and the Royal Decree of the Emperor was kept in this very safe. Upon liberation, the British Army combed the school and removed all Jap documents, arms and the Royal Decree from this safe. It's a pity the supporting cabinet has been destroyed. However, It is indeed a blessing or we would not have known the items locked in safely.
I would suggest that damage be repaired and the safe be done up(repainting??). The wall opening behind the safe be glassed up and the safe positioned properly. A brief history of both safe (the Chubb Door and this safe)be scribed here.

Besides repairing the damage to the wooden cabinet, the safe should be also locked up. This is to prevent the "mighty Michaelians" from doing any damage to it and also for safety purposes.

Harneak SIngh
Class of 80.

Henry Yew said...

I remember seeing the safe quite often when I used to go through a small pass on the second floor which connects the Form 4 classrooms back in my days with the Brother's Quarters, without having to go through the chapel.

I would always see the safe standing in front of what is now the counsellor's office, and wondered what could be inside.

I had a glimpse of what was contained in the safe when the lower part of the safe (now deteriorated probably due to ageing), and saw to my surprise some letters, documents, old school magazines, and yes, a badminton racquet.

This large treasure chest is part of the Michaelian legacy that is not known to many people, not even our own Michaelians as it had been kept hidden away in the Brother's Quarters until Form 6 classes were opened there.

Surely such a treasure chest is worth preserving to show to the people what sort of historical wealth St. Michael's possesses!

Yew Guo Zheng
Civil Engineering Department
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS
(Form 5Sc1 of 2005)

LX said...

It's going to be 1 year after the completion of the SMI Roof changing but the " Incredible English S. Withers & Co Safe' have no been given a safe place. What had happen to the promised SMI Gallery and the opening back of the school chapel? The room below the counseling room which was said to be the SMI Gallery is in a bit sad condition, why nothing have been done till now? Why don't the chapel be used by the Michaelian Catholic Society on Friday or other day to have gathering & masses? PLEASE DO SOMETHING BEFORE ITS TOO LATE!!!