White House Park



White House Park is a 194,138-square-foot estate sited on White House Park Road and Dalvey Road. It lies within a designated Good Class Bungalow area, where bungalow development requirements stipulate a minimum plot size of 1,400 sq m and a maximum two-storey height.1 These requirements ensure that the exclusivity and low-rise character of the area are preserved. In 1991, the Urban Redevelopment Authority earmarked some areas, including the White House Park and Nassim Road area, for conservation.

History
White House Park once stood on a vast 54-acre nutmeg and betel nut plantation owned by Gilbert Angus (1815–1887), who started out as a bookkeeper but later ventured into business as an auctioneer. By 1862, he had sold the White House Park area to insurance firm Reme Leveson & Company. The next known proprietor was John Fraser of Fraser & Neave, who was involved in many diverse businesses. He had formed a company with James Cumming, called Fraser & Cumming, to make bricks and carry out development in the White House Park area.3


Originally, there were four houses in the White House Park estate, all of which were built in the 19th century. The first, Whitehouse, had existed in 1862 and was possibly built by Angus. Fraser built the other three houses: Glencaird in 1897, and possibly Cree Hall and Sentosa between 1875 and 1880. Fraser had lived in Cree Hall. In 1908, Mansfield & Company purchased the estate and, in the 1920s, erected a few more houses as staff quarters. It is not known when Whitehouse and Sentosa were demolished but Cree Hall was demolished sometime after 1967 when the Housing and Development Board acquired the land.4

Description
Of the original four houses in the White House Park estate, only Glencaird remains today.5 The house has retained its original features despite alterations carried out throughout the years. It was designed by Regent Alfred John Bidwell of Swan & Maclaren and was unusually asymmetrical, having the entrance at a corner instead of the centre of the house.6


In 1947, the government of Australia bought Glencaird and it became the official residence of the Australian High Commissioner. It was one of the bungalows that were given conservation status in 1991. The Australian High Commission put up the Glencaird site for sale in 1994 and sold it to Wheelock Properties in 1996.7 Based on the minimum plot size of 15,000 sq ft for each bungalow, it was estimated that 12 bungalows could be developed on the plot. Since Glencaird must be conserved, 11 more could be built.8 Wharf Holdings bought the freehold site for S$98 million and Marco Polo Developments became its developer. Wharf and Marco Polo are part of Hong Kong’s Wheelock Group.9

A 12-unit development, Glencaird Residences, was completed in 1999. The new bungalows were designed by Argentinian Ernesto Bedmar, and they reflected a tropical architecture that was clean and elegant. The restored Glencaird had a price tag in the region of S$22 million, while the other 11 new units were priced at an average S$14 million each.10 In 2007, Glencaird was finally sold to a mystery buyer at a record price of S$29 million.11



Author
Marsita Omar




References
1. Kerk, C. (1999, August 26). Glencaird Residences’ tropical elegance. The Business Times, p. 17; Rashiwala, K. (1997, April 5). Five bungalows in Glencaird Residences soldThe Straits Times; Sim, A. (2009, July 16). In a class of their own. The Business Times, p. 28; Khor, K., & Teo, L. K. (2000, March 23). Outperformers: Good class bungalows. The Business Times, p. 32. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Lee, H. S., & Low, M. (1991, March 9). Posh residential areas chosen for conservationThe Business Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Lee, K. L. (2015). The Singapore house, 1819–1942. Singapore: Times Edition, pp. 107, 178. (Call no.: RSING 728.095957 LEE)
4. Lee, K. L. (2015). The Singapore house, 1819–1942. Singapore: Times Edition, pp. 63, 178. (Call no.: RSING 728.095957 LEE)
5. Rashiwala, K. (1997, April 5). Five bungalows in Glencaird Residences soldThe Straits Times. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Lee, K. L. (2015). The Singapore house, 1819–1942. Singapore: Times Edition, p. 178. (Call no.: RSING 728.095957 LEE)
6. Zaccheus, M. (2007, September 2). $29m for a piece of Singapore history. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Lee, K. L. (2015). The Singapore house, 1819–1942. Singapore: Times Edition, p. 178. (Call no.: RSING 728.095957 LEE)
7. Zaccheus, M. (2007, September 2). $29m for a piece of Singapore history. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Aussie High Comm’s Glencaird site draws 11 bids. (1994, October 8). The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved NewspaperSG.
9. Kerk, C. (1999, August 26). Glencaird Residences’ tropical elegance. The Business Times, p. 17; Rashiwala, K. (1997, April 5). Five bungalows in Glencaird Residences soldThe Straits Times; Oon, D. (1996, July 20). Wharf to borrow $190m to develop luxury bungalows. The Business Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Kerk, C. (1999, August 26). Glencaird Residences’ tropical elegance. The Business Times, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Zaccheus, M. (2007, September 2). $29m for a piece of Singapore history. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2008 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
Arts>>Architecture>>Residential buildings
Architecture and Landscape>>Building Types>>Residential Buildings
Residential buildings
Architecture, Domestic--Singapore