Price: $75 / ticket
Singapore’s multi-faceted history reaches back over 700 years. The arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles on behalf of the British East India Company (EIC) in 1819 marked a turning point that set the island on a new trajectory, and launched it onto the global stage.
Learn the personal journeys of British East India men such as Raffles, Farquhar, and Crawfurd, and those of the many intrepid souls from all over the world — especially China, India, and the Middle East as well as neighbouring countries (today’s Malaysia and Indonesia) — who decided to take a gamble on this new outpost. As we commemorate the 200th anniversary of the EIC’s arrival, join us to explore not only its colonial and pre-colonial history, but also the impact these figures still make on today’s Singapore.
This is a multi-part series that may be purchased as either a one-off or a package of three tours.
Each tour will be held both on a Saturday & on a Tuesday in February.
Please also note that details of where exactly each tour will meet will be emailed to all those registered 2 or 3 days in advance.
PART 1: FROM SUMATRAN KINGS TO STAMFORD RAFFLES
Our journey first leads to Fort Canning Hill — an extensive and fascinating repository of Singapore’s unique history. The seat of power for centuries, it’s been instrumental in the island’s management and defences as reflected in its many names. Thirteenth-century Sumatran kings chose this hill overlooking a bustling river port as the site for their palaces, and the area demanded such exclusivity that it was known as Forbidden Hill. The legends of the Sejarah Melayu (the Malay Annals) charmed Stamford Raffles, who built his residence here to enjoy the beautiful views and cooler breezes. He also set up our first botanic gardens on Fort Canning to experiment with different plants and we can still see its legacy in the Spice Garden that thrives in today’s Singapore Botanic Gardens on Cluny Road.
Together we’ll explore both its pre-colonial and colonial history, plus its military heritage as both a fort and later a bunker HQ. We’ll also wander among the tombstones of the former Christian cemetery to hear the stories of our early pioneers.
This tour ends at the National Museum, giving you the option to explore the museum’s collection on your own should you wish to do so.