The former Fullerton Building, now known as The Fullerton Hotel, was officially gazetted on Monday (Dec 7) as Singapore’s 71st national monument, by the country’s National Heritage Board (NHB).
It is the highest form of recognition given to a building for its national significance. This ensures that the building’s historical features will be protected.
First built in 1928, the former Fullerton Building was widely known as a General Post Office. It also housed several Government departments in its early years.
The building, located at the mouth of the Singapore River, was part of several key historical events. For instance, it once served as a hospital for wounded British soldiers during World War II, before Singapore fell to the Japanese.
With its new status, the building will be preserved under the Preservation of Monuments Act. The former Fullerton Building is one of three icons to be given the national monument status this year. The other two are Jurong Town Hall and Istana Kampong Glam.
NHB said this is to commemorate some of the country’s key milestones as part of its Golden Jubilee celebrations.
The gazetting ceremony held on Monday was attended by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who said the building has a significant place in Singapore’s history and holds special meaning to the country and its people.
Mr Lee, too, has fond memories of the former Fullerton Building.
The Fullerton Square was once a platform for political rallies during Singapore’s General Elections, from the 1950s through the 1980s. Mr Lee recalled his father, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, delivering some of his most memorable speeches here, while his mother, the late Madam Kwa Geok Choo, would watch from a nearby balcony.
He said the gazetting of the building was made “all the more special” because it happened during Singapore’s Jubilee Year and since the building is now part of the Jubilee Walk.
Said Mr Lee: “Connected to other national monuments nearby, like the new National Gallery of Singapore, Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall and the Asian Civilisations Museum, together, they define a fine Civic District for Singapore. It looks beautiful in the daytime; it looks very beautiful at night. And if you are here first thing in the dawn, as I was two weeks ago for the Jubilee Walk, you will find it something special too.
“This transformation of the building, in a way, is a reflection of how Singapore, as a nation, transformed in one lifetime; going from an old, historic building, something which has been updated, keeping the essence of the old, but of this age and up-to-date and better than before. And the building has done so, and Singapore has done so from Third World to First.”
Mr Lee noted that when the building was opened in 1928, the Governor was Sir Hugh Clifford, whom Clifford Pier was named after.
The Prime Minister recounted Sir Clifford’s declaration back then: “He said: ‘The building is, and will be for many years, one of the principal landmarks of Singapore.’ And almost 90 years later, his words remain true. I am sure this building will continue to stand proud and handsome, and witness an even more prosperous and vibrant Singapore for many years to come.”
An exhibition is being held where the public can look back at some of the historical events that took place at the former Fullerton Building.
Source : Channel NewsAsia – 7 Dec 2015