Pearl's Hill School



Pearl’s Hill School, formerly known as the Singapore Chinese Branch School, was established in 1881.1 It was one of the first government English elementary schools set up by the British colonial government.2 It became known as Pearl’s Hill School in 1913. The school relocated to a 12-storey building on Chin Swee Road in 1971, and ceased operations in 2001.3

Early history
The history of Pearl’s Hill School can be traced back to the Singapore Chinese Branch School, which was established in 1881 on Cross Street as a feeder school for the Raffles Institution and other bigger schools. It had an initial enrolment of 193 boys and five teachers.5 By 1885, the school had become known as Cross Street School.6 It offered elementary education up to Standard Four.7


In 1906, the school was converted into a preparatory school, acting as a feeder school for Outram Road School (the predecessor of Outram Secondary School).8 It became known as Cross Street Infants’ School,9 and M. A. Buxton was appointed its head mistress.10 Under the new scheme, students who had completed their Standard One education were posted to Outram Road School to complete the rest of their elementary education.11 The affiliation between the two schools continued until 1953.12

Developments
In 1914, Cross Street Infants’ School was closed down and replaced with a new school on Pearl’s Hill Road. Known as Pearl’s Hill School, the new school could accommodate 640 pupils compared with only 370 pupils at the former Cross Street building.13 Buxton continued to be the head mistress until 1921 when she was succeeded by Mrs L. A. Bishop.14


The Parent-Teacher Association was established in Pearl’s Hill School in 1953 to create greater contact and co-operation between parents and teachers. In the following year, the school was converted into a full primary school that provided primary education up to Primary Six.15

Due to the Urban Renewal Scheme, Pearl’s Hill School had to be shifted again to a new 12-storey building on Chin Swee Road, lying on the slope of Pearl’s Hill. Declared officially opened by then Minister of Finance and member of Parliament for Havelock Hon Sui Sen on 2 June 1972, the building was the tallest school building in Singapore at the time, housing both Pearl’s Hill School and the Sekolah Melayu Sepoy Lines (Sepoy Lines Malay School).16

Pearl’s Hill school celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1981.17

In 1995, Pearl Park Primary School merged with Pearl’s Hill School, with the latter retaining its name.18

The school ceased operations on 31 December 2001.19 The Stamford Student Residence occupied the school building subsequently, before it was leased out by the Singapore Land Authority.20 The former school building currently houses Hotel Re!.21

Significance
Pearl’s Hill School had a long history in providing education for underprivileged children living in Chinatown.22 It nurtured many prominent personalities, including the fourth president of Singapore, Wee Kim Wee; former Supreme Court Judge Choor Singh; and former Cabinet Minister Yeo Ning Hong.23




Author
Chow Yaw Huah




References
1. Pearl’s Hill School. (1981). Centenary celebration souvenir programme. Singapore: Pearl’s Hill School, p. 7. Retrieved via BookSG; Havelock Community Centre. (1979). Havelock Community Centre souvenir magazine in commemoration of completion of new building. Singapore: The Committee, pp. 115–116. (Call no.: RCLOS 300.95957 HAV); School on stilts has come a long way. (1981, September 26). The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. National Heritage Board. (2015, December 8). Pearl’s Hill School. Retrieved 2017, December 19 from Roots website: https://roots.sg/Content/Places/historic-sites/pearls-hill-school; Cross Street School. (1898, January 19). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Havelock Community Centre. (1979). Haveloc18k Community Centre souvenir magazine in commemoration of completion of new building. Singapore: The Committee, pp. 115–116. (Call no.: RCLOS 300.95957 HAV); School on stilts has come a long way. (1981, September 26). The Straits Times, p. 13; Where has my school gone? (2014, November 24). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Former primary school at Pearl’s Hill transformed into S$13m hotel. (2008, February 8). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
4. The government schools. (1885, January 7). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Havelock Community Centre. (1979). Havelock Community Centre souvenir magazine in commemoration of completion of new building. Singapore: The Committee, pp. 115–116. (Call no.: RCLOS 300.95957 HAV)
5. Pearl’s Hill School. (1981). Centenary celebration souvenir programme. Singapore: Pearl’s Hill School, p. 7. Retrieved via BookSG.
6. Pearl’s Hill School. (1981). Centenary celebration souvenir programme. Singapore: Pearl’s Hill School, p. 7. Retrieved via BookSG.
7. Cross Street School. (1898, January 19). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Havelock Community Centre. (1979). Havelock Community Centre souvenir magazine in commemoration of completion of new building. Singapore: The Committee, pp. 115–116. (Call no.: RCLOS 300.95957 HAV); The Cross Street preparatory school. (1906, December 4). Eastern Daily Mail and Straits Morning Advertiser, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Outram Secondary School. (n.d.). History. Retrieved 2017, December 20 from Outram Secondary School website: http://outramsec.moe.edu.sg/about-us/history
9. A government experiment. (1907, December 20). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), p. 8; Cross Street School. (1911, March 30). The SingaporeFree Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), p. 5; Pearl’s Hill School. (1913, December 18). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), p. 398. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Pearl’s Hill School. (1981). Centenary celebration souvenir programme. Singapore: Pearl’s Hill School, p. 7. Retrieved via BookSG.
11. Havelock Community Centre. (1979). Havelock Community Centre souvenir magazine in commemoration of completion of new building. Singapore: The Committee, pp. 115–116. (Call no.: RCLOS 300.95957 HAV); Outram Secondary School. (n.d.). History. Retrieved 2017, December 20 from Outram Secondary School website: http://outramsec.moe.edu.sg/about-us/history
12. Outram Secondary School. (n.d.). History. Retrieved 2017, December 20 from Outram Secondary School website: http://outramsec.moe.edu.sg/about-us/history
13. Pearl’s Hill School. (1913, December 18). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), p. 398; New school opened. (1913, December 17). The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. School principal’s retirement. (1932, June 24). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Havelock Community Centre. (1979). Havelock Community Centre souvenir magazine in commemoration of completion of new building. Singapore: The Committee, pp. 115–116. (Call no.: RCLOS 300.95957 HAV)
16. Havelock Community Centre. (1979). Havelock Community Centre souvenir magazine in commemoration of completion of new building. Singapore: The Committee, pp. 115–116. (Call no.: Others RCLOS 300.95957 HAV); Ministry of Culture. (1972, June 2). Speech by Mr Hon Sui Sen, Minister For Finance at the official opening ceremony of the new building for Pearl’s Hill School and Sepoy Lines Malay School at 7.30 p.m. on Friday, 2nd June 1972, p. 2. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/; Former primary school at Pearl’s Hill transformed into S$13m hotel. (2008, February 8). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; Minister: Moving school should be occasion for joy. (1972, June 2). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Pearl’s Hill School. (1981). Centenary celebration souvenir programme. Singapore: Pearl’s Hill School, p. 7. Retrieved via BookSG.
18. Pearl’s Hill School. (1996). Pearl’s Hill School. Singapore: Pearl's Hill School, p. 2. (Call no.: RCLOS q372.95957 PHS)
19. National Heritage Board. (2015, December 8). Pearl’s Hill School. Retrieved 2017, December 19 from Roots website: https://roots.sg/Content/Places/historic-sites/pearls-hill-school; Former primary school at Pearl’s Hill transformed into S$13m hotel. (2008, February 8). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg
20. Teo, J. (2005, January 3). Boom in hostels for foreign students. The Straits Times, p. 3; Tan, H. Y. (2007, March 2). From school to hotel. The Straits Times, p. 43. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. Hotel Re!. (n.d.). About us. Retrieved 2017, December 19, from Hotel Re! website: http://www.hotelre.com.sg/about-us/; Former primary school at Pearl’s Hill transformed into S$13m hotel. (2008, February 8). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg
22. Ministry of Culture. (1972, June 2). Speech by Mr Hon Sui Sen, Minister For Finance at the official opening ceremony of the new building for Pearl’s Hill School and Sepoy Lines Malay School at 7.30 p.m. on Friday, 2nd June 1972, p. 2. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
23. Singapore chronicles: A special commemorative history of Singapore. (1995). Hong Kong: Illustrated Magazine, pp. 52–54. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SIN-[HIS]); Wee, K. W. (2004). Wee Kim Wee: Glimpses and reflections. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 15.  (Call no.: RSING 959.5705092 WEE-[HIS]); Chua, J. (n.d.). In memory of Justice Choor Singh. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/; Who’s who in Singapore. (1981/82). Singapore: City Who's Who, p. 35. (Call no.: RCLOS 920.05957 WWS)




The information in this article is valid as at 1 February 2018 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
Politics and Government>>Education
Schools--Singapore
Education>>School and their activities
Education>>Elementary education
Education
Education, Elementary--Singapore