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Singapore Badminton Hall is opened 7th Jun 1952

The Singapore Badminton Hall was officially opened on 7 June 1952 by then governor of Singapore, J. F. Nicoll. Located on Guillemard Road,[1] the hall was originally built to host the 1952 Thomas Cup, a premier international badminton competition, but the games were eventually held at the Happy World Stadium.[2] The Singapore Badminton Hall hosted subsequent Thomas Cup matches, as well as entertainment events, meetings, rallies and other functions.[3] Recognised as a historical site by the National Heritage Board on 1 September 1999,[4] it was relinquished to the government after its land lease expired in January 2008, and reopened as Guillemard Village in 2009.[5]

The construction of a badminton hall had also been proposed in response to the need of the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) for a place to train their players and hold matches.[6] Sourcing for public funding started on 30 May 1949.[7] Response was lukewarm, and the fundraising committee faced difficulties in raising the $300,000 needed for the project.[8] This figure was later increased to $800,000.[9] Plans for the hall were able to proceed due to a $250,000 loan from businessman Aw Boon Haw, and the contractor’s agreement to be paid later.[10]

Construction began on 7 July 1951 and was completed in June 1952.[11] The hall seated 5,500 spectators and housed four courts besides canteens, changing rooms, a banquet room and offices.[12] The venue was used for both sporting events, such as the 1955 and 1958 Thomas Cup, the 12th and 17th Southeast Asia Games (in 1983 and 1993 respectively), and non-sporting ones: British rock group The Rolling Stones held their concert there in 1965 and it was also the vote-counting station for the 1962 merger referendum, which decided the shape and form of Singapore’s unification with the Federation of Malaya.[13] However, despite its popularity, the cost of the hall’s construction left the SBA heavily in debt. It had to surrender the hall to the Singapore Sports Council, which undertook the debt in 1978.[14]

The offices of the SBA were located at the hall until the association decided not to renew the lease due to the high rent. The land was returned to the Urban Redevelopment Authority when the hall closed in January 2008.[15] The building subsequently reopened as Guillemard Village in 2009, under the helm of Turf City Management, as a food-and-beverage and leisure hub.[16]

References
1. Opening of ‘hall of dreams’. (1952, June 6). The Straits Times, p. 15; Singapore diary. (1952, June 7). The Straits Times, p. 5; Governor opens new S.B.A. hall. (1952, June 8). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Happy World will be Thomas Cup venue. (1952, March 10). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. It’s all-purpose hall, says Lim. (1953, October 30). The Singapore Free Press, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; BAM will spend $13,000 for more seats at stadium. (1955, February 7). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Tan, H. Y. (1999, September 2). ‘Hall of dreams’ makes history. The Straits Times, p. 44. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Wang, J. (2007, July 29). Start saying goodbye. The Straits Times, p. 38. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tan, J. (2009, April 6). Badminton hall reborn as F&B, leisure hub. The Straits Times, p. 24. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. S.B.A. wants hall of their own. (1950, June 12). The Singapore Free Press, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Badminton hall plans take shape. (1949, May 20). The Singapore Free Press, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Appeal. (1951, June 28). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. The hall will be completed in May. (1952, February 22). The Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Singapore’s hall. (1952, May 10). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Badminton Hall hero is contractor. (1952, May 11). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Badminton Hall: piling test today. (1951, July 7). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; The Straits Times, 6 Jun 1952, p. 15.
12. Thomas Cup: a hall at last. (1951, June 3). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. The Straits Times, 7 Feb 1955, p. 12; BAM decides on venue. (1958, February 10). The Straits Times, p. 14; Chandran, K. (1983, May 11). ‘Live’ coverage of SEA Games. The Straits Times, p. 11; Day 3 what’s on. (1993, June 14). The New Paper, p. 29; Two pictures that tell the story. (1962, September 3). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; The Straits Times, 2 Sep 1999, p. 44.
14. The Straits Times, 29 Jul 2007, p. 38; SSC to take over Badminton Hall. (1977, May 28). The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. The Straits Times, 29 Jul 2007, p. 38.
16. The Straits Times, 6 Apr 2009, p. 24.

 

The information in this article is valid as at Aug 2015 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

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