While in the colonial district, check out the Old Parliament House, which is now the Arts House for the Victorian architecture and to learn about its place in Singapore's history.
The Old Parliament House is an example of Neo-Palladian architecture, completed in 1827 and intended to be a Scottish merchant's private residence, although the government took over the estate before he could move in. Over the years, the building has been refurbished and extended several times and its architecture replaced with Victorian architecture. Frequent also were the changes of use for the building and over the years it has been the site for government offices, a court house, a storehouse, the site for the Department of Social Welfare and eventually the Parliament House when Singapore gained independence. Today, it's the Arts House, where music performances, art exhibitions and other functions are regularly held.
The bronze elephant that sits at the front of the building is a gift from King Chulalongkorn, which makes Singapore the first country to be visited by a Siamese king.
The building was gazetted a national monument on 14 February 1992. On 6 September 1999, the Parliament of Singapore moved into an adjacent new building which faces North Bridge Road.
Visit the Old Parliament House for a dose of history, admiring the colonial architecture of the time and now to get a taste of the arts scene in Singapore.