Discover with Timothy Tye
Old Supreme Court Building

Start here
Look for Property in Penang

The Old Supreme Court building of SingaporeThe former Supreme Court building of Singapore (2 August, 2017)

The Old Supreme Court Building is one of the most handsome buildings in Singapore. It is located along St Andrew's Road, just beside the equally historic City Hall building. Both have now been combined to house the National Gallery Singapore.

National Gallery Singapore

Allow me to tell you more about the National Gallery Singapore, which now occupies the former Supreme Court building.


The former Supreme Court was constructed between 1937 and 1939 on the site of the former Grand Hotel de L'Europe which comprised three 1830's bungalows designed by George Drumgoole Coleman. The former Supreme Court building was designed by Frank Dorrington Ward, the chief crchitect of the Public Works Department. Ward produced no fewer than eight versions of the design before deciding on this one. The Supreme Court was Ward's last and greatest work, and most critics acknowledged that it was indeed his most significant creation.

The foundation stone was laid by Sir Shenton Whitelegge Thomas, Governor of the Straits Settlements, on 1 April 1937. (Sir Shenton Thomas, after whom Shenton Way was named, was the last governor of the Straits Settlements, and was the governor before and after the Japanese Occupation.) It was, up to then, the biggest foundation stone laid in the whole of Malaya. A time capsule containing six Singapore newspaper and a handful of Straits Settlement coins were buried beneath the foundation stone, only to be retrieved in the year 3000.

The former Supreme Court was completed in 1939 and declared open on 3 August by Sir Shenton, who then handed it over to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Courts, Sir Percy McElwaine.

The most imposing characteristic of the former Supreme Court building are its Corinthian and Ionic columns, as well as the tympanum sculpture on the pediment. These were the work of Cavalieri Rudolfo Nolli, a Milanese sculptor. The centre figure in the tympanum, holding a sword in the left hand and scales in the right, is Justice. The figure immediately to its left represents the lost soul begging for protection from it. Next to this figure are two legislators with books in hand, representing the Law. To the left of Justice is a figure who bows in gratitude. Then we see a man holding a bull, representing Prosperity. Finally, two young children holding a sheaf of wheat represent Abundance from law and justice.

The big copper dome (oxidized to green) is one of the most distinctive features of the former Supreme Court building. However, there is in fact another, smaller dome, which is hardly visible from street level. This smaller dome used to house the library.

Now, before I end, let me add a little bit about why this building is called the former Supreme Court building. Because, right behind it, there's now a present Supreme Court building which was opened by Singapore President S.R. Nathan, on 7 January, 2006. The present Supreme Court building sits on the site of the former Colombo Court, and it is attracted quite a lot of attention among Singaporeans, not all of which are flattering. Many are questioning the reason for selecting a design from "yet another" foreign architect, in this case (Lord) Norman Foster. Another grievance aired was that the Singapore public had no opportunity to voice their opinion about the design until after it was already approved for construction. It is perhaps a bliss that the new Supreme Court building is hiding behind the more handsome structures such as the former Supreme Court and City Hall.

The former Supreme Court plaqueThe former Supreme Court plaque (28 July, 2017)

List of the Historic Buildings in Singapore

Add your business/shop to my site

How would you like to have your business or shop added to this website, so that would-be customers can easily find you? This website provides place information of the whole world, with special emphasis on Malaysia and Singapore.

If you has a shop or business anywhere in Malaysia or Singapore, with a physical location, you may have your shop listed on one of the pages of this site. For example, a shop in Cheras will be placed on the Cheras page, another in Kota Bharu is listed in the Kota Bharu page, and so on. You only need to pay a one-time fee, and your shop will be listed for you for as long as this site is still running. There are different placement plans available. To find out more, CONTACT ME

Visiting Singapore? Get your hotel room here

Compare the room rates from different online booking sites to get the best rates for your trip.

Going somewhere?

If you're travelling somewhere, look for accommodation using the Search Hotel engine below. It helps you find the online booking site that offers the best rates for the room you want.

Going somewhere by express bus in Malaysia/Singapore?

Book your bus ticket online right here. It is easy, safe and fast!.

 Latest pages in Discover with Timothy Tye

 Vital Links

Hire a car | Our Recipes | Facebook Posts | Just Curious | Not In The Dictionary | Our Flowering Garden

My YouTube Videos

Timothy Tye YouTube Channel

Check out my YouTube Channel and don't forget to subscribe!

 List of 553 sights in Singapore

 List of 190 streets in Singapore

Planning Areas of Singapore

"Planning Areas" are the de facto districts of Singapore. This map shows you all the planning areas of the island nation. Click on them to get to know each area.

Explore Singapore made easy with MRT

This comprehensive map of the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit shows you every station in the network, so that you can easily plan your journeys and change trains accordingly. As with the bus and LRT, you are charged a fare according to the distance travelled.

 Discover the World

About Timothy Tye

Welcome to my website, Discover with Timothy Tye. I started it in 2003 to freely share information about places. Today it has close to thirty thousand pages. I have been writing this website full time since 1 November 2007, and continue to do so as a means to satisfy my curiosity about the world around me. I am happy if the information I have assembled is useful to you. Please follow me on Facebook!

As a Christian, I hope that through this website, I am able to deliver God's Good News to those who need it all over the world. If you wish to contact me, please submit the contact form. Thanks again, don't forget to follow me on Facebook!

 Malaysia Travel Tips!

My Malaysia Travel Tips has useful information on every state in Malaysia (Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Terengganu) and every major city and destination (Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Ipoh, Langkawi, Cameron Highlands, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Alor Setar, Seremban, Petaling Jaya, Putrajaya, Kota Bharu, Kuala Terengganu, Taiping) and hundreds of smaller towns.


This website is hosted on Bluehost, one of the biggest web hosting companies in the world.

Copyright © 2003-2019 Timothy Tye. All Rights Reserved.