Singapore Recreation Club



The Singapore Recreation Club (SRC) is a social club that was founded on 23 June 1883 by members of the Eurasian community. It began as a sports club and has, since then, expanded to include many other social activities.1
 
Beginnings
According to the club’s official history, the SRC began as the Straits Cricket Club in 1880 with a group of young Eurasians cricketers.2 However, a Straits Cricket Club fourth-anniversary ball in July 1881 was mentioned in the press, suggesting that the club might have started in 1877 instead.3 The SRC was officially established on 23 June 1883, and played its first cricket match against the Royal Artillery on 1 September that same year.4 J. R. MacFarlane was its first president, B. E. D Aranjo the secretary and C. V. Norris the treasurer, while its first patrons were W. H. Read, Henry McCallum and John Anderson.5

 
First pavilion
With the formation of the club, permission was granted the following month in July for the use of the lower end of the Padang for cricket matches and later, lawn tennis.6 Club members, however, met in a building at Waterloo Street. On 25 March 1884, the government granted permission for a pavilion to be erected between the present building and St Andrew’s Road.7 Completed in November 1885, it was a simple structure occupying the present SRC carpark.8


By 1900, with increasing attendance at sporting events, the club decided to build a new pavilion to accommodate the crowds during cricket matches.9 Funds for its construction were raised from members, business firms and friends. Construction started after approval for the new building was obtained in 1904.10 Built next to the old pavilion, the new clubhouse was formally opened on 2 September 1905 by Governor John Anderson’s daughter.11

Second pavilion
The second pavilion was built by Messrs. Hogan & Co, under the direction of D. M. Martia, the architect and vice-president of the club. It was a two-storey building with servants’ quarters on the ground floor and members’ rooms above. A verandah ran round the building on the second floor. Besides the large hall, there were rooms on both sides of the hall to accommodate committee meetings.12 By 1 March 1931, the building had been expanded with the addition of two wings to provide extra rooms for billiards, reading, card games and a grill, as well as a ladies’ room.13

With the outbreak of World War II, the SRC building was requisitioned by the British military authorities at the beginning of February 1942.14 Members fought against the Japanese, serving in the Eurasian Company of the Singapore Volunteer Corps.15 After the Japanese conquered Singapore on 15 February 1942, the Eurasian community was assembled at the Padang in front of the Syonan Recreation Club on 3 March 1942.16 The clubhouse was used as a registration centre and those with British or Dutch parentage were sent to internment camps. It was used subsequently during the Japanese Occupation as a medical outpatient centre.17 The club was reinstated on 29 July 1946 after the Occupation. Unfortunately, SRC records had either been lost or destroyed during the war.18

Activities
Cricket was the main sport played at the club.19 Before the clubhouse was constructed, sportsmen had to take shelter under large mango trees. In January 1884, lawn tennis was introduced and the club began to hold tournaments.20 Within months of completing the first pavilion, SRC hosted its first two-day sports event from 1 to 2 July 1886.21 The European and Eurasian communities turned out in strong numbers and the place was crowded.22 This sports meet became an annual affair until it was disrupted by World War I. It resumed in 1919.23

The co-location of the SRC with the Singapore Cricket Club (SCC), which occupied the other end of the Padang, made for a friendly yet competitive relationship, especially during cricket matches.24 Similar clubs such as the Penang Recreation Club, Malacca Cricket Club and Selangor Cricket Club competed with SRC.25 The first cricket match played outside of Singapore was held in 1887, in which the club competed against Malacca Cricket Club.26

Besides cricket, other club sports were football, athletics, tennis and hockey.27 The club shone particularly in hockey, growing to dominate the hockey scene after the war. Seven members of Singapore’s 1956 Melbourne Olympics hockey team were from SRC and their team eventually placed ninth. Before them, at the 1948 London Olympics, was the other SRC Olympian, Lloyd Valberg, who was Singapore’s sole representative. A high jumper, Valberg had placed eighth.28

As a men’s club, the traditional social activities there revolved around drinks and card games on Sunday afternoons.29 The only other social activities were apparently tea parties after athletics meetings, and “a dance or two in a year”.30

Membership

The club served as a venue for Eurasian members, in contrast to its competitor, the European-only SCC just across the Padang.31 However, SRC membership was limited to Eurasian men only. This was the case until the mid-1950s.32 Women were allowed on the club premises from 1927 as guests, and a ladies’ room was part of the 1931 extensions made to the club.33 It was only in 1955 that the club opened to non-Eurasians, after newly-elected Chief Minister David Marshall and two other non-Eurasians applied to become members.34 The three were given honorary memberships.35 Subscription memberships were opened to non-Eurasians and women the following year in 1956. Dato Aw Cheng Chye was one of the first non-Eurasians to join.36

On 11 February 1963, the majority voted to open membership to all residents in Singapore. However, the greatest change came in 1994 when memberships were made transferable and SRC moved from being a sports club to a social one. This was done to facilitate the sale of memberships in order to finance the renewal of the club’s land lease and construction of a new clubhouse.37 This membership sale netted S$48 million.38 That same year, the land lease was renewed for 30 years at a cost of S$12.9 million.39

Membership rose gradually from 30 at the founding meeting in 1883, to 65 in 1891 and 174 ordinary members in 1937. After the war, the membership stood at 494 in January 1948 and reached 900 in 1960.40 It grew steadily until 1992 when membership reached 1,300.41 From 1994 to ’95, SRC made the transition from being a sports club with non-transferable memberships to a social club with transferable memberships that could be bought and sold. A total of 5,500 transferable memberships were sold, and existing ordinary members had the option of purchasing the S$15,000 transferable memberships at S$3,000. Existing female members could purchase the S$7,500 transferable female memberships at S$1,500.42

Club subscription was $1 with an entrance fee of $1 when the club was first founded, and in 1921, according to the book One Hundred Years of Singapore, admission to the club cost $5 and monthly subscription was $2.43 When membership became transferable, its monthly fee was S$20. By 2005, although subscription cost had risen to S$42 per month, it was still about the lowest in Singapore.44

Logo
SRC adopted its red and blue corporate colours in 1886 – red for brotherhood and navy blue for sportsmanship.45 The club crest was adapted from the winning design of Hoon Siew Hong in a 1978 competition. It features four pillars, which represent the four main cultures in Singapore meeting at the club in common fellowship and sportsmanship. The pillars arch around the club’s initials and its founding date of 1883, and are surmounted by a lion’s head, which represents Singapore.46

1997 clubhouse
When the club moved to the sixth floor of the former SISIR Building at 179 River Valley Road at the end of 1994, the old clubhouse was demolished.47 The new S$68-million, seven-level clubhouse was opened on 28 June 1997, with then Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan as its guest-of-honour. The long list of new club facilities included the first heated subterranean swimming pool “in the region”, an underground gymnasium, and a ten-lane bowling alley.48




Authors

Joshua Chia & Bonny Tan



References
1.
Singapore Recreation Club. (2008). Singapore Recreation Club celebrates 1883–2007. Singapore: Author, pp. 17–18, 152. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)
2.
Singapore Recreation Club. (1957). SRC: [souvenir programme]. Singapore: Singapore Tiger Standard Press. (Call no.: RCLOS 796.06 SIN); Singapore Recreation Club. (2008). Singapore Recreation Club celebrates 1883–2007. Singapore: Author, pp. 17–18. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)
3.
Saturday, 23rd July. (1881, July 28). The Straits Times Overland Journal, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4.
Singapore Recreation Club. (2008). Singapore Recreation Club celebrates 1883–2007. Singapore: Author, pp. 18–19. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)
5.
Wyatt, D. (1983). Looking back a century. In Singapore Recreation Club 100 anniversary: Centenary celebrations, 1883–1983 (pp. 32–35). Singapore: Singapore Recreation Club, p. 32. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)
6.
Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. St. J. (Eds.). (1991). One hundred years of Singapore (Vol. 2). Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 365. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE)
7.
Singapore Recreation Club. (1957). SRC: [souvenir programme]. Singapore: Singapore Tiger Standard Press, pp.4–5. (Call no.: RCLOS 796.06 SIN)
8.
Wyatt, D. (1983). Looking back a century. In Singapore Recreation Club 100 anniversary: Centenary celebrations, 1883–1983 (pp. 32–35). Singapore: Singapore Recreation Club, p. 32. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)
9.
The Recreation Club. (1900, July 28). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10.
Singapore Recreation Club. (1957). SRC: [souvenir programme]. Singapore: Singapore Tiger Standard Press, pp. 6, 17. (Call no.: RCLOS 796.06 SIN); Singapore Recreation Club. (1904, July 30). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11.
Recreation Club. (1905, September 4). Eastern Daily Mail and Straits Morning Advertiser, p. 3; Singapore Recreation Club new pavilion opened. (1905, September 4). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12.
Singapore Recreation Club new pavilion opened. (1905, September 4). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13.
Singapore Recreation Club. (1957). SRC: [souvenir programme]. Singapore: Singapore Tiger Standard Press, p. 10. (Call no.: RCLOS 796.06 SIN); Fifty years of the S. R. C. looking back on a great record. (1933, June 11). The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14.
Singapore Recreation Club. (1957). SRC: [souvenir programme]. Singapore: Singapore Tiger Standard Press, p. 19. (Call no.: RCLOS 796.06 SIN)
15.
Wyatt, D. (1983). Looking back a century. In Singapore Recreation Club 100 anniversary: Centenary celebrations, 1883–1983 (pp. 32–35). Singapore: Singapore Recreation Club, p. 33. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)
16.
Decree. (1942, March 2). The Syonan Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17.
Singapore Recreation Club. (2008). Singapore Recreation Club celebrates 1883–2007. Singapore: Author, pp. 57–59. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)
18.
Singapore Recreation Club. (1957). SRC: [souvenir programme]. Singapore: Singapore Tiger Standard Press, p. 20. (Call no.: RCLOS 796.06 SIN)
19.
Singapore Recreation Club. (1957). SRC: [souvenir programme]. Singapore: Singapore Tiger Standard Press, p. 21. (Call no.: RCLOS 796.06 SIN)
20.
Fifty years of the S. R. C. looking back on a great record. (1933, June 11). The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21.
Singapore Recreation Club athletic sports. (1886, July 2). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22.
Singapore Recreation Club athletic sports. (1886, July 5). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. Fifty years of the S. R. C. looking back on a great record. (1933, June 11). The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Singapore Recreation Club. (2008). Singapore Recreation Club celebrates 1883–2007. Singapore: Author, p. 20. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)
25. Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. St. J. (Eds.). (1991). One hundred years of Singapore (Vol. 2). Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 366. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE-[HIS])
26. Cricket. (1887, April 18). Straits Times Weekly Issue, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
27. Singapore Recreation Club. (1957). SRC: [souvenir programme]. Singapore: Singapore Tiger Standard Press, pp. 21, 24. (Call no.: RCLOS 796.06 SIN)
28. Singapore Recreation Club. (2008). Singapore Recreation Club celebrates 1883–2007. Singapore: Author, pp. 67, 79. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)
29. Singapore Recreation Club. (2008). Singapore Recreation Club celebrates 1883–2007. Singapore: Author, p. 35. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)
30. Singapore Recreation Club. (1957). SRC: [souvenir programme]. Singapore: Singapore Tiger Standard Press, p. 17. (Call no.: RCLOS 796.06 SIN)
31. Wan, M. H., & Lau, J. (2009). Heritage places of Singapore. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 95–98. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 WAN-[HIS])
32. Wyatt, D. (1983). Looking back a century. In Singapore Recreation Club 100 anniversary: Centenary celebrations, 1883–1983 (pp. 32–35). Singapore: Singapore Recreation Club, p. 34. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN); From ‘men’s only’ to a new trend. (1983). In Singapore Recreation Club 100 anniversary: Centenary celebrations, 1883–1983 (pp. 60–61). Singapore: Singapore Recreation Club, p. 60. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)
33. Fifty years of the S. R. C. looking back on a great record. (1933, June 11). The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
34. Khaw, P. (1987). The Singapore Recreation Club: 1883–1963. Singapore, pp. 43–44. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 KHA)
35. Singapore Recreation Club. (2008). Singapore Recreation Club celebrates 1883–2007. Singapore: Author, p. 80. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)
36. Khaw, P. (1987). The Singapore Recreation Club: 1883–1963. Singapore, p. 44. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 KHA); From ‘men’s only’ to a new trend. (1983). In Singapore Recreation Club 100 anniversary: Centenary celebrations, 1883–1983 (pp. 60–61). Singapore: Singapore Recreation Club, p. 60. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)
37. Singapore Recreation Club. (2008). Singapore Recreation Club celebrates 1883–2007. Singapore: Author, pp. 84, 114. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)
38. Bhalla, S. T. (1994, September 20). Singapore Recreation Club plans to move. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
39. Soh, T. K. (1995, July 31). SRC members okay budget increase for redevelopment. The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore Recreation Club. (2008). Singapore Recreation Club celebrates 1883–2007. Singapore: Author, p. 135. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)
40. Wyatt, D. (1983). Looking back a century. In Singapore Recreation Club 100 anniversary: Centenary celebrations, 1883–1983 (pp. 32–35). Singapore: Singapore Recreation Club, pp. 32, 34. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN); Singapore Recreation Club. (1891, August 28). The Straits Times, p. 3; Barney. (1937, August 20). Increase in local recreation club membership. The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 15; Fifty years of the S. R. C. looking back on a great record. (1933, June 11). The Straits Times, p. 13; Lazaroo, R. (1960, August 30). A move to enlist more. The Singapore Free Press, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
41. SRC releases grand plans. (1992, June 2). The New Paper, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
42. Singapore Recreation Club. (2008). Singapore Recreation Club celebrates 1883–2007. Singapore: Author, pp. 113–115. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN); SRC gets applications before membership drive is launched. (1994, January 10). The Straits Times, p. 24. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
43. Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. St. J. (Eds.). (1991). One hundred years of Singapore (Vol. 2). Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. 365, 367. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE)
44. Long, S. (1995, May 7). Singapore Recreation Club. The Straits Times, p. 13; Leong, C. T. (2005, April 10). Value-for-money country clubs close to home. The Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
45. Singapore Recreation Club. (1957). SRC: [souvenir programme]. Singapore: Singapore Tiger Standard Press, p. 6. (Call no.: RCLOS 796.06 SIN)
46. Singapore Recreation Club. (1983). Singapore Recreation Club 100 anniversary: Centenary celebrations, 1883–1983, Singapore: Author, p. 31. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)
47. Bhalla, S. T. (1994, September 20). Singapore Recreation Club plans to move. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore Recreation Club. (2008). Singapore Recreation Club celebrates 1883–2007. Singapore: Author, p. 121. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)
48. S’pore Recreation Club re-opens. (1997, June 29). The Straits Times, p. 32; Ho, J. (1997, April 19). You can swim underground in reopened clubhouse. The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore Recreation Club. (2008). Singapore Recreation Club celebrates 1883–2007. Singapore: Author, p. 139. (Call no.: RSING 796.0605957 SIN)



The information in this article is valid as at 2010 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.

 

Subject
Sports and games
Recreation>>Sports
Athletic clubs--Singapore
Singapore Recreation Club
Organisations
Clubs--Singapore
Sports, recreation and travel
Organisations>>Associations