Journey to Singapore
Work in Singapore
Visiting homes by horse-carriage in the estates bounded by Telok Ayer and Neil Road led to the establishment of a second school for girls. Tan Keong Saik, along with other influential Chinese families, had persuaded her to teach their daughters - an uncommon request as girls were not a priority for education amongst the Chinese then. A widow, Nonya Boon, later offered Blackmore her home along Cross Street to start a school for girls. Beginning with just eight girls, the Anglo-Chinese Girls' School began in August 1888. Under the leadership of Emma Ferris, who was principal from 1892-1894, the school grew and eventually became the Fairfield Methodist Girls' School. In 1983, the school went co-educational and the school was renamed as the Fairfield Methodist Secondary School.
Entrusted with the care of a young girl when she recently arrived in Singapore, Blackmore saw the need for a home for girls. Thus on 1 May 1890, a boarding home was set up for girls. First located at Sophia Road, the home moved several times along locations up the hill until its move to a bungalow at No. 4 Sophia Road. The house stood at the pinnacle of the hillock with a bird's eye view of the city. It was known initially as the Deaconess Home because it also housed many single lady missionaries and teachers. It is now more familiarly known as Nind Home (1912) after Mary C. Nind. The home served as a residence to many of the school-going girls and several runaways, mui tsais, abandoned girls and orphans. The Blackmore's girls, as they became known, were nurtured in the Christian faith and became suitable mates for Christian boys from similar homes in Malacca and Singapore.
In 1894, Blackmore's home became the base for a Straits Chinese church headed by Goh Hood Keng, beginning with just six members and 16 probationers. Prior to this, Blackmore had already been preaching regularly in Malay on Sundays to girls from the Nind Home, Epworth boys and workers from the Missionary Press. Blackmore would accompany Reverend Goh and Dr Benjamin F. West to preach in the open-air at Telok Ayer. By 1901, the blossoming Straits Chinese church had grown large enough to move to the Christian Institute at Middle Road. The Kampong Kapor Methodist Church thus traces beginnings to Blackmore's early preaching work in the 1890s.
The Bible Women's Training School was organised to train local women to carry on the duties of Christian social work that had already been established. Blackmore was the first to head it between 1901 and 1903. The School trained Eurasian ladies and gradually Chinese women from various parts of Malaya, in home visitation. The Bible Women's Training School was considered ahead of its time in developing local, self-supporting work.
Fairfield Methodist Secondary School. (2006). History. Retrieved September 10, 2008, from http://www.fairfieldsec.org/general/history.aspx
Ho, Seng Ong. (1965). Methodist schools in Malaysia: Their record and history (p. 66). Petaling Jaya: Board of Education, Malaya Annual Conference.
(Call no.: RCLOS 370.9595 HO)
Koh, T....et. al. (Eds.) (2006). Singapore: The encyclopedia (p. 65). Singapore: Editions Didier Millet with the National Heritage Board.
(Call No.: RSING 959.57003 SIN)
Sng, B. E.K. (2003). In His good time: The story of the church in Singapore, 1819-2002 (pp. 112-114, 118, 120, 160). Singapore: Bible Society of Singapore : Graduates' Christian Fellowship.
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.
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Blackmore, Sophia, 1857-1945