City Hall

By Tan, Bonny written on 17-Apr-1999
National Library Board Singapore

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City Hall at St Andrew's Road was originally known as the Municipal Building when it was completed in 1929. It was renamed in 1951 and thereafter housed various government bodies before it became home to the Singapore judiciary in 1987. On 14 February 1992, it was gazetted as a national monument.

On the land where City Hall now stands, there once stood two private homes. They were built in 1828 and 1830 and belonged to Dr William Montgomerie of the East India Company and Thomas Church, the Resident Councillor. In 1926, the two homes were demolished to make way for the Municipal Building.

The Municipal Council, which oversaw municipal matters including transportation and infrastructure needs such as gas and lighting, was formed in 1856. The municipal offices were initially located in the Town Hall and later moved to a building at Finlayson Green. But as the city's administrative needs grew, so did the need for a building to house its civil services. In 1929, the Municipal Building was completed. It was designed by municipal architects, A. Gordon and F. D. Meadows.

With Singapore proclaimed a city by the Royal Charter granted by King George VI in 1951, the Municipal Building was renamed City Hall. It served the City Council until 1963, after which it was the location of several public administrative departments including the Public Utilities Board, the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the former Ministry of Culture and the judiciary.

Several key events that marked Singapore's history were held here. These included the Japanese surrender accepted by Lord Louis Mountbatten; the swearing in of the first Mayor of Singapore; the installation of the first honorary citizen of Singapore, Sir Franklin Gimson, in March 1952; the declaration of Singapore's self-government in 1959 and independence in 1963; and the swearing in of Singapore's prime ministers.

In 1987, the building underwent renovations and was annexed by the Supreme Court to provide space for more courtrooms and for the Academy of Law.

Bonny Tan

Liu, G. (1996). In granite and chunam: The national monuments of Singapore (pp. 60-69). Singapore: Landmark Books.
(Call no.: RSING 725.94095957 LIU)

Samuel, D. S. (1991). Singapore's heritage: Through places of historical interest (pp. 124, 126). Singapore: Elixir Consultancy Service.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 SAM)

Singapore’s buildings, our heritage (p. 25). (1985) Goodwood Journal, 4th Qtr., 23-26.
(Call no.: RCLOS 052 GHCGJ)

Tyers, R. K. (1976). Ray Tyers' Singapore: Then and now (p. 45). Singapore: University Education Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE)

Further readings
City Hall. (2010). Retrieved October 25, 2010, from Preservation of Monuments Board website:

Kwek, L. J., et al. (2009). Resonance: Songs of our forefathers (pp. 94-99). Singapore: Preservation of Monuments Board.
(Call no.: RSING 725.94095957 RES)

The information in this article is valid as at 2009 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Architecture and Landscape>>Building Types>>Civic and Administrative Buildings
City halls--Singapore
Municipal buildings--Singapore
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings
History>>Asia>>Southeast Asia>>Singapore

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