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Statue of Sir Stamford Raffles

By: kimberly on 15 Jun 2012
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While visiting the Victoria Concert Hall, one is sure to see the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, the founding father of Singapore, nearby. A second replica statue stands guard at the Raffles' Landing Site.

Sir Stamford Raffles had been working for the East India Company, establishing and settling British colonies in Bencoolen and Java. Because of his knowledge of the area, he was appointed the task of finding a port from which the British could establish their presence in the Riau area.

Initial research had pointed him towards Singapore, and upon inspection he found that Singapura (as it was called before its founding) indeed met all his requirements and he soon established a free port there that was under the British rule. His arrival awakened Singapore's economy, and very quickly turned Singapore into one of the busiest ports in the world.

To commemorate his works in setting up the British colony, British sculptor-poet Thomas Woolner was instructed to create a statue of Raffles. This statue was cast in bronze and unveiled in 1887, Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Year. It first sat on the Padang, and soon became a vantage point for spectators to climb onto to get a better look at the matches being played there.

In 1919, the statue was moved to its present site in front of the Victoria Concert Hall. It was later placed in the Museum after the Japanese surrendered, but was eventually returned to its original position in 1946.

In 1972, a polymarble statue, made from plaster casts of the original figure, was unveiled and placed at the supposed landing site of Sir Stamford Raffles. This place is located on the North Boat Quay, where his back is facing the Singapore River and the Central Business District of Singapore, providing tourists with an excellent photo opportunity, whether day or night. This statue stands on a plinth, in his now famous pose of crossed arms and looking off into the distance with an aura of command about him.

Perhaps the best way of summarising his contributions to this country can be seen from the inscription on his plinth, 'On this historic site, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles first landed in Singapore on 28th January 1819, and with genius and perception changed the destiny of Singapore from an obscure fishing village to a great seaport and modern metropolis.'

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