Of the two buildings that make out the Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall
, the first was originally the Singapore Town Hall. It was completed in 1862, when the Victorian Revivalism style was in fashion in Great Britain. It was the first building in Singapore to adopt that style, with its Italianate windows and rusticated columns.
In 1901, the Victoria Memoral Hall was constructed next to it, in memory of Queen Victoria. The foundation stone was laid in 1902, and the Victoria Memorial Hall was officially opened by Sir John Anderson, Governor of the Straits Settlements, on 18 October 1905. The Victoria Memorial Hall was designed by Major Alexander Murray of the Public Works Department, with additional input from R.A.J. Bidwell from the architectural firm of Swan and McClaren. To bring the Town Hall and Victoria Memorial Hall together in style, the Town Hall was then renovated.
Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, Singapore
In 1906, the clock tower was added. It is 54 meters tall, and holds a clock donated by the Straits Trading Company. When the Anderson Bridge a couple of years later, the bridge was aligned on the same axis as the clock tower.
On 6 February 1919, on the occasion of the centenery of Singapore's founding, the statue of Stamford Raffles, which was sculptured by Thomas Woolner in 1887 in conjunction with Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, was transferred from its original located at the Padang, to stand in front of the Victoria Memorial Hall. This is the first of two statues of Stamford Raffles in the immediate vicinity. A second one was erected at the Raffles Landing Site on 1972.
During the start of World War II, the buildings were used as a hospital for victims of Japanese bombings. Although it did sustain some damage to its columns, it was well intact throughout the war. Raffles's statue was however taken to the National Museum for safekeeping, and was only reinstalled in 1946, after the war. The buildings were subsequently used as the venue for Japanese war crime trials.
The Victoria Memorial Hall was renovated in 1954 by Swan & McClaren. The PAP, the People's Action Party that today governs Singapore, was founded there on 21 November of that year. The town hall was also renovated, and became known as the Victoria Theatre. In 1979, the Victoria Memorial Hall was renovated again to house the the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO), and it too was renamed, as the Victoria Concert Hall.
The Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall was gazetted as a National Monument of Singapore on 14 February 1992.
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