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history

Designed by prominent architect G.D. Coleman and built in 1827, The Arts House is Singapore’s oldest colonial building. It served many uses and was the Parliament of Singapore until the new Parliament Complex was built. In 1992, it was gazetted a national monument and is today home to The Arts House. 

1819      Site of the building was occupied by the temenggong of Johor and his followers
   
1828    Irish architect George Coleman designed and built a neo-Palladian residence for Scottish merchant John Argyle Maxwell. Upon completion, Maxwell leased it out to the government for use as a Court House.
   
1839 - 1847 A single-story building was constructed next to the main building to serve the new courthouse (Annex Building today). Later, an extension was built to accommodate the recorder, the jurors and the prisoners.
   
1865 Court House relocated to a new building, the Attorney-General’s Chambers. The main building was retained as the Council Chambers and the annex as the Post Office.
   
1873-1875 Main building extended towards the Singapore River and eventually used as the Supreme Court.
   
1901-1912 After major reconstruction to both buildings, the original Neo-Palladian style was diluted with compositions of late Victorian styles. A third storey was added over the front porch, and the Annex later served as a District Court.
   
1939 Supreme Court moved to a new building and the site remained as a government storehouse.
   
1942-1945 At the end of the Japanese occupation of Singapore during World War II, Maxwell’s building was used by the newly-created Department of Social Welfare and other government departments as a storehouse.
   
1954 Officially declared as the Assembly House on 9 July.
   
1964 The building was renamed the Parliament House when Singapore gained independence.
   
1999 Parliament House moved to a new building on North Bridge Road.
   
2004 Official opening of The Arts House, occupying the building that was the former Parliament House.



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T: +65 6332 6900 / F: +65 6336 3021 / E: enquiries@artshouse.sg
1 Old Parliament Lane Singapore 179429