Singapore Cricket CLub

A symbol of British and European exclusiveness in the Colonial era; an exclusive Club for the 'Tuan Besars' (big bosses) of the Colony.

Before the present Clubhouse was built the first one was a humble square but where the cricketers kept their gear. At one time before 1852 the cricket bats, pads and other equipment were stored in the Masonic Hall nearby at Coleman Street.

A meeting was called in October 1852 to establish the Singapore Cricket Club but the modest Clubhouse served its members from 1859 to 1870. The second, a single storey Clubhouse, was completed in 1877; in 1884 the third Clubhouse was erected on a cast iron frame with verandahs all round. It was built in two levels; the upper level was ladies' viewing gallery.

In 1906 extensions were made to its square central core; a three dimensional appearance was given to the Clubhouse by the addiction of the jail roof above the main one. Two wings were added in 1922.

The membership of the Club was kept exclusively to British and European residents of Singapore and it therefore became a symbol of British colonialism.

Cricket was the most popular sport in 1902 and 1903 and the Governor of the Straits Settlements, Sir Frank Swettenham, was both the President of the club as well as its cricket captain. Cricket was not played on Sundays for a long time because of the services at the St Andrew's Cathedral nearby.

The membership of the Club in 1940 was 1093, the highest number before the outbreak of the Pacific War.

Even when the Japanese were advancing through Central Malaya the Singapore Cricket Club functioned normally with the members having their favorite whiskey and soda. The British believed that Singapore was invincible, the Japanese myopic and their aircraft were made of rice paper. It was a reflection of the British superiority complex. When the Battle for Singapore had begun the members crestfallen.

During the battle for Singapore the club was converted into a temporary hospital to meet the mounting casualties. In February 1942 a bomb was dropped by a Japanese aircraft in Empress Place close to the Club's car park.

When the Japanese occupied Singapore they converted the Club into a luxurious restaurant and bar for Japanese military officers and Japanese girls served as waitresses. The restaurant was named Yamato Butai. Field Marshal Count Terauchi, the Commander of the Southern Army, hearing this ordered it be closed. In July 1942 it became a Japanese military officers' exclusive club where meals were served even during lunchtime.