The Empress Place Building is a heritage building in the Civic District of Singapore. Its address is 1 Empress Place, Singapore 179555. The Empress Place Building today houses the Asian Civilisations Museum
. When it was planned, the Empress Place Building was originally intended to be a courthouse. However, it was used as government offices instead, and was called simply Government Offices.
Asian Civilizations Museum, Empress Place Building
(11 September, 2010)
The Empress Place Building was constructed in four phases between 1864 and 1920. The original section, which is closest to the Old Parliament House, was designed by J.F.A. McNair using convict labour, between 1864 and 1867. As the colonial administration grew, more office space was needed, and so the Government Offices building extended. The wing close to the Singapore River completed in 1875, and was used as courthouse from 1875 until 1939, when the Old Supreme Court Building was completed.
In 1854, a new Town Hall was built, and completed in 1862. The Town Hall building today houses the Victoria Theatre.
The space in front of the building was named Empress Place in 1907, in honour of the late Queen Victoria. The Government Office became associated with the Empress Place, and consequently took its name, becoming the Empress Place Building.
As more administrative space is required, the Government Offices building continues to expand, with extensions added in 1880, 1904-1909 and 1920. The Empress Place Building continued to serve as the government offices right up to the late 1980, and was best remembered as the Registry of Births and Deaths, the Citizenship Registry and the Immigration Department. Plans to turn it into a museum was afoot from the late 1980s.
After extensive renovation, the Empress Place Museum was opened on 7 April 1989. From the start, the museum was plagued with all sorts of structural and logistical problems, until eventually it closed down on 30 April 1995. It then underwent another round of renovations and was eventually reopened, this time as the second wing of the Asian Civilisations Museum on 2 March 2002 to house Southeast, South and West Asian artefacts.
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