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Old Supreme Court

By: kimberly on 15 Jun 2012
1 St Andrew's Road, Singapore 178957

(+65) 6336 0644

Operating Hours:
Currently closed for renovation works.

Visit the Old Supreme Court building which was actually made up of two houses belonging to Edward Boustead, and the refurbishment of this building made it the last Classical building built in Singapore.

The Old Singapore Supreme Court building's design was the work of Frank Dorrington Ward of the Public Works Department. It was his last and most significant piece of work, and the building was constructed by United Engineers, featuring Corinthian columns, classical architecture and interiors that possess murals drawn by Italian artists.

The Corinthian and Ionic columns and the tympanum sculpture in the front of the Supreme Court Building were designed by Cavalieri Rudolfo Noli a Milanese sculptor. The tympanum represents several figures, one the figure of Justice, standing at 2.7 metres tall and weighs about 4 tons. Kneeling beside her are physical manifestations of Supplication and Thankfulness. Deceit and Violence stand on the far left, while a man with a bull represents Prosperity. Two children hold sheafs of wheat to represent Abundance.

Previously the location of many colonial-built houses and later the Grand Hotel de l'Europe, which eventually closed down to make way for the Old Supreme Court Building. The foundation stone of the Old Supreme Court Building was the largest foundation stone in the whole of Malaya and it was laid on 1 April 1937, burying a time capsule with six Singaporean newspapers dated March 1937 and a handful of coins from the Straits Settlements beneath the stone, to be opened in the year 3000.

The building was officially opened on 3 August 1939 by Sir Shenton Thomas and handed over to the Chief Justice, Sir Percy McElwaine on the same day. There were 11 courtrooms and adjoining judges' chambers. 12 more courtrooms were eventually transferred over to the Supreme Courts in 1988 to accommodate the courthouse's needs.

The City Hall and the Old Supreme Court Building will eventually be converted into the National Art Gallery of Singapore in 2012. Check out the Old Supreme Court Building for its classical architecture and its role in Singapore's history and try to catch it before its renovation works start in 2011.

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