Located at what is today Empress Place, the Victoria Theatre was originally known as the Town Hall. It was designed by John Bennett, a civil engineer. Construction of the Town Hall began in 1855, but due to financial constraints, it was completed only in 1862.
The completion of the Town Hall marked an important milestone in Singapore's architectural history. It was the first of a number of buildings that were constructed on a scale and grandeur unprecedented in the colony. The construction of the building also signalled the beginning of Victorian Revivalism, reflecting a British architectural shift towards the style of the Italian Renaissance.
The Victoria Memorial Hall (now known as the Victoria Concert Hall), which was built adjacent to the Town Hall, opened in October 1905. The Town Hall was upgraded and re-opened as Victoria Theatre on 11 February 1909.
The Victoria Theatre, along with the Victoria Concert Hall, was gazetted as a national monument in February 1992.
1. Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. St. J. (Eds). (1991). One hundred years of Singapore (Vol. 1, p. 334). Singapore: Oxford University Press. Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE.
2. Buckley, C. B. (1984). An anecdotal history of old times in Singapore (p. 670). Singapore: Oxford University Press. Call no: RSING 959.57 BUC.
3. [Untitled]. (1855, March 20). The Straits Times, p. 4; [Untitled]. (1862, February 22). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Buckley, 1984, p. 687.
4. Buckley, 1984, p. 669; Reith, G. M. (1892). Handbook to Singapore: With map and a plan of the Botanic Gardens (p. 62). Singapore: Singapore and Straits Print. Office.Retrieved January 24, 2014, from BookSG.
5. Liu, G. (1996). In granite and chunam: The national monuments of Singapore (p. 45). Singapore: Landmark Books and Preservations of Monuments Board. Call no.: RSING 725.94095957 LIU.
6. Memorial Hall. (1905, October 19). Eastern Daily Mail and Straits Morning Advertiser, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Liu, 1996, p. 45; “Pirates of Penzance”: Opening performance in new theatre. (1909, February 12). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Republic of Singapore. Government Gazette. Subsidiary Legislation Supplement. (1992, February 14). Preservation of Monuments Order 1992 (S56/1992, pp. 226–241). Singapore: [s.n.]. Call no.: RSING 348.5957 SGGSLS.
The information in this article is valid as at 2014 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.