Singapore’s colonial history spans nearly 150 years. From January 1819’s arrival of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles and William Farquhar to set up a trading post on behalf of the British East India Company, through to September 1963 when Singapore joined Malaysia.
The vestiges of this era can be seen in much of our architecture especially around the lovely Civic District with its impressive government buildings and monuments, many of which now serve as homes to the arts. In addition, we have colonial bungalows (known as black and white houses) and old military establishments such as naval and air bases, army barracks, and forts dating from the 19th century.
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Black & White Houses
Step back into a more gracious era by visiting some of these beautiful and iconic colonial houses, set in green and tranquil oases. Learn about their history, architecture, and role in Singapore's heritage. Plus the stories of who lived in them, why they were built, and how they are being used both as residences and commercial establishments today. We visit four black and white houses in different parts of Singapore. Travel is by air-conditioned bus and refreshments are included in the price.
Military Black & White Houses
Explore the accommodation built for the military personnel in the popular black and white style from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. The large grand “bungalows” were intended for the top officers while smaller homes and blocks of flats went to more junior ranks.
Colonial, Commercial, & Civic
Explore the history and transformation of these areas with particular emphasis on the Civic District. We will also explore the role of the Singapore River — the how, when and why the island grew out from its banks — and the importance of commerce to Singapore’s history and evolution.
In 1892 the Reverend Reith, minister at the Orchard Road Presbyterian Church (aka the Scots Church), wrote “A Guidebook to Singapore.” It was aimed at visitors in town for a short stay who wanted to see the highlights. We have recreated one of Reith’s suggested routes for getting to know the island.