National symbol and where important national ceremonies are held. Singapore's first Prime Minister declared self-government here in 1959 and independence through Malaysia in 1963.Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Goh Chok Tong were sworn in here as Prime Ministers.
City Hall was previously known as the Municipality. It occupied the site of a private house of two pioneers: Dr William Montgomerie of the East India Company and Thomas Church, the Resident Councillor. The house was built by Singapore's first architect. G.D. Coleman.
Soon after the founding of Singapore, municipal matters were under the jurisdiction of the magistrates and later a Municipal Committee was established in 1851. The Municipal Committee comprised Thomas Church, as Chairman and members which included the Superintendent of the Convicts, a Representative from the Court and two other Europeans.
It was only in 1856 that a proper Municipal Council was set up. It looked after street lighting, water supply. Maintenance of roads, in 1864 gas supply and 1906 electricity. The Municipal Health Department was opened in 1887 and the Municipality also controlled public transport provided by the jinrikishaws.
From 1856 to 1897 the Municipality functioned from a room in Town Hall and later the offices were moved to Finlayson Green in 1893.
The present building was completed in 1929 in Grecian architecture with dignified columns by F.D. Meadows, the Municipal architect.
In 1856 meetings of the Municipal Commissioners were open to the public.
In May 1858 the first Town Engineer and one person who was both the Surveyor and Architect were appointed by the Municipal Commissioners.
The Singapore Gas Company, a London Company carried on business in Singapore for 38 years sold its business to the Municipality in 1901.
During the Japanese Occupation the Municipality carried on the normal duties.
One of the major ceremonies held during the Japanese Occupation was the appearance of Subhas Chandra Bose the Indian Leader who addressed a mammoth rally of Indians on 24 October 1942 standing at the Municipality steps to get their support for the Indian National Army.
Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Commander, South-East Asia Command, accepted the surrender of the Japanese who were represented by Lieutenant General Seishiro Itakagi. It was also on the City Hall steps that a ceremony was held to remember the Singapore patriot and martyr Lim Bo Seng.
On 22 September 1951 Singapore was proclaimed a City by Royal Charter granted by King George VI and Sir Franklin Gimson the Governor presented the Charter to the Municipal chairman.
The first mayor of Singapore was sworn in at City Hall on 24 December 1957. In 1959 Mr Lee Kuan Yew proclaimed self-government on the steps of City Hall. Again here he made the declaration of independence for Singapore in 1963. Mr Lee Kuan Yew was sworn in as prime Minister in City Hall and so is his successor, Mr Goh Chok Tong.
After the first fully elected City Council in 1957 multi-lingualism was introduced at City Council meetings.
When the first President of the Republic Inche Yusof bin Ishak died on 23 November 1970 his body lay in state at the City Hall for the people to pay their last respect to him.
For Singaporeans City Hall will also be the proud symbol of our constitutional development and it is from City Hall that President, Prime Minister and Cabinet, Members of Parliament and Singaporeans witness the National Day rally which reflects our achievements in all spheres of life.