Narayana Pillai was a social entrepreneur and businessman, who spent most of his life in Singapore during the colonial period. Of Tamil origins, he contributed to the Tamil community in Singapore. Prior to 1819, Pillai worked in Penang, ruled by the British. There, he came into contact with Stamford Raffles, a senior official of the British East India Company, keen to establish a new trading post at the southern end of the Straits of Malacca; this resulted in the founding of modern Singapore in 1819. In Penang, Raffles persuaded Pillai to work at his new settlement. Pillai arrived in Singapore with Raffles in 1819 on the ship ‘Indiana’, making him one of the first Tamil men to set foot there, he started his career there as the chief clerk at the government Treasury, where he verified the authenticity of currency. However, he soon moved on to become a successful community leader in his own right. With the establishment of a modern urban settlement at Singapore, Pillai noticed a boom in building works.
He wrote to his contact in Penang to send bricklayers and cloth merchants to Singapore. He established the island’s first brick kiln at what is now Tanjong Pagar. Through these efforts, he became Singapore’s first building contractor. Pillai ventured into the cotton goods trade, he sold these at Cross Street. In time, his shop became the best known in town. However, a fire in 1822 destroyed his business, leaving him in debt to British merchants who had let him large volumes of cloth on credit. Pillai struggled to negotiate with his creditors, secured help from Raffles when the latter returned to visit Singapore. At land he obtained in Commercial Square, he erected new warehouses and rebuilt his business from scratch paying off his debts and remaking his wealth. Apart from his success in business, Pillai is best remembered for his social contributions, he was keen to build a temple on the island to serve the growing Hindu population there. After some difficulty in obtaining a suitable site, he was able to acquire land at South Bridge Road for the purpose in 1823.
Here, he erected the Sri Mariamman Temple in 1827, which endures today as the oldest Hindu place of worship on the island, one of the National Monuments of Singapore. Pillai envisioned a Hindu Institute for young boys, but this did not materialize. Pillai’s standing led to his appointment by the British as the chief of the Indian population, which conferred on him powers to settle disputes within the community. Pillay gained recognition as a leader amongst the Tamils and was appointed chief of Indians from Cholamandalaman, given the authority to settle disputes amongst the Tamils. Tamils Hindu History of Gretchen. In Granite and Chunam: The national monuments of Singapore. Singapore: Landmark Books and Preservation of Monuments Board. Pearson, H. F.. People of early Singapore. London: University of London Press. ‘Pioneer Naraina Pillai should be honoured’. The Straits Times, p. 14. ‘Singapore's first heroes’. The Straits Times, p. 18
Māri known as Mariamman and Mariaai, both meaning "Mother Mari", spelt Maariamma, or Amman or Aatha is a Hindu goddess of rain popular in Tamil Nadu and surrounding regions. She is the main mother goddess predominant in the rural areas of Tamil Thirucherai. Māri is associated with the Hindu goddesses Parvati and Durga as well as with her northern counterpart Shitala devi; the goddess Mariamman is considered by many to be the incarnation of Goddess Kali. It is said that when Kali went to southern India as Mariamman, Bhairava followed her as Madurai Veeran, her festivals are held during the late summer/early autumn season of "Aadi". Throughout the Tamil Nadu and deccan region, grand festival known as "Aadi Thiruvizha" are taken for Maariamman, her worship focuses on bringing rains and curing diseases like cholera and chicken pox. She is worshipped in accordance to the local agamas as "Pidari" or the "Grama Devata" by non-Brahmin priests or in some cases of big temples like Samayapuram Maariamman temple by Brahmin priests.
According to shaktha agamas, she is depicted in sitting posture and might be flanked some times by Ganesha and Subramaniya or Ganesha and Naaga on her sides. She is taken in procession in a decorated chariot. Mariamman is a Tamil folk goddess, whose worship originated in pre-vedic India, she is predominant in the rural areas of Tamil Nadu. In the post-vedic period, Māri was associated to Hindu goddesses like Parvati and Durga as well as with her North Indian counterpart Shitaladevi and Eastern Indian counterpart Manasa; the word Mari has a sangam Tamil origin meaning "Rain" and the Tamil word Amman means "Mother". She was worshipped by the ancient Tamils as the bringer of rain and thus the bringer of prosperity, since the abundance of their crops was dependent upon adequate rainfall; the cult of the mother goddess is treated as an indication of a society. The temples of the Sangam days of Madurai, seem to have had priestesses to the deity, which appear predominantly a goddess. In the Sangam literature, there is an elaborate description of the rites performed by the Kurava priestess in the shrine Palamutircholai.
The worshiping methods are non-vedic and accompanied by various kinds of folk dancing. Offerings such as pongal and koozh that are cooked using earthen pots are made during the festive season. Rituals such as fire walking and mouth or nose piercing are practised. At the temple of Samayapuram, which lies six miles to the north of Tirucirapalli, the Hindu system of worship is still seen today for the worship of Mariyamman. Worship for Mariyamman is a ten-day festival, organized by temple authorities during the second week in April; some continue to use an old village customs of worship by offering chickens and goats to the deity, but the animals are no longer sacrificed but sold after being offered. But the main worshipping of the goddess occurs on two from the temple. A hurried walk and dance carries hundreds of thousands of worshippers along the road to the temple. Countless people in the crowd have fasted, shaved their heads, wear bright yellow clothes, which are sacred to the goddess. Many women and children carry a pot on their heads decorated with the goddess’s favourite leaves of the margosa tree.
Young men and women carry similar pots but are followed by drummers and dance more wildly. Larger men and women carry pots of charcoal fire; some put themselves through a special tribulation of having one of the sacred weapons, trident, or a spear, inserted through their cheeks or tongues. Through this worship each individual realizes others through samsara and moksha. In this self-realization he or she is bonded with the goddess, the underlining reason of the worship. One story about the origin of Maariyamman is that, during Mahabharata, Draupadi, wife of Pandavas is indeed an incarnation of Maha Kali; this was not known to others except Sri Krishna. Draupadi being maha kali used to live just like a normal lady by suppressing all her super powers, but during nights as Pandavas fall a sleep, she used to reach Villages of Vanniyar in the form of Maha Kali. Vanniyars were pleasing her with Bali; this is. Like wise. Sheetla Devi is has same/ similar story and play similar role in protecting village. One other story about the origin of Maariamman is that she was the wife of Thiruvalluvar, the Tamil poet, an outcast.
She caught smallpox and begged from house to house for food, fanning herself with leaves of the neem or margosa tree to keep the flies off her sores. She recovered and people worshipped her as the goddess of smallpox. To keep smallpox away, neem leaves are hung above the main entryways of South Indian homes; this temple houses both Thiruvalluvar and his wife Vaasuki Ammaiyar.. This is in sharp contrast to the life of Thiruvalluvar. Hence this story cannot be taken to be credible; the Tamil word'Muthu' means pearl and hence in the ancient usage of the language'Muthu Maari' was a poetic metaphor for raindrops, whereby they were equated with precious pearls bestowed as the gifts of the Nature goddess. Maariamman was called'Muthu Maariamman' which meant the goddess who gives prosperous rain; this was wrongly connected to the pearl-like small form of the boils. Another story involves the beautiful an
The Agamas are a collection of scriptures of several Hindu devotional schools. The term means tradition or "that which has come down", the Agama texts describe cosmology, philosophical doctrines, precepts on meditation and practices, four kinds of yoga, temple construction, deity worship and ways to attain sixfold desires; these canonical texts are in Tamil. The three main branches of Agama texts are those of Shaivism, Shaktism; the Agamic traditions are sometimes called Tantrism, although the term "Tantra" is used to refer to Shakta Agamas. The Agama literature is voluminous, includes 28 Shaiva Agamas, 77 Shakta Agamas, 108 Vaishnava Agamas, numerous Upa-Agamas; the origin and chronology of Agamas is unclear. Some are Vedic and others non-Vedic. Agama traditions include Yoga and Self Realization concepts, some include Kundalini Yoga and philosophies ranging from Dvaita to Advaita; some suggest that these are others as pre-Vedic compositions. Epigraphical and archaeological evidence suggests that Agama texts were in existence by about middle of the 1st millennium CE, in the Pallava dynasty era.
Scholars note that some passages in the Hindu Agama texts appear to repudiate the authority of the Vedas, while other passages assert that their precepts reveal the true spirit of the Vedas. The Agamas literary genre may be found in Śramaṇic traditions. Bali Hindu tradition is called Agama Hindu Dharma in Indonesia. Āgāma is derived from the verb root गम meaning "to go" and the preposition आ meaning "toward" and refers to scriptures as "that which has come down". Agama means "tradition", refers to precepts and doctrines that have come down as tradition. Agama, states Dhavamony, is a "generic name of religious texts which are at the basis of Hinduism and which are divided into Vaishnava Agamas, Saiva Agamas, Sakta Agamas. Agamas, states Rajeshwari Ghose, teach a system of spirituality involving ritual worship and ethical personal conduct through precepts of a god; the means of worship in the Agamic religions differs from the Vedic form. While the Vedic form of yajna requires no idols and shrines, the Agamic religions are based on idols with puja as a means of worship.
Symbols and temples are a necessary part of the Agamic practice, while non-theistic paths are alternative means of Vedic practice. Action and will drive Agama precepts. This, does not mean that Agamas and Vedas are opposed, according to medieval-era Hindu theologians. Tirumular, for example, explained their link as follows: "the Vedas are the path, the Agamas are the horse"; each Agama consists of four parts: Jnana pada called Vidya pada – consists of doctrine, the philosophical and spiritual knowledge, knowledge of reality and liberation. Yoga pada – precepts on yoga, the physical and mental discipline. Kriya pada – consists of rules for rituals, construction of temples; this code is analogous in the Buddhist text of Sadhanamala. Charya pada – lays down rules of conduct, of worship, observances of religious rites, rituals and prayaschittas; the Agamas state three requirements for a place of pilgrimage: Sthala and Murti. Sthala refers to the place of the temple, Tīrtha is the temple tank, Murti refers to the image of god.
Elaborate rules are laid out in the Agamas for Silpa describing the quality requirements of the places where temples are to be built, the kind of images to be installed, the materials from which they are to be made, their dimensions, air circulation, lighting in the temple complex, etc. The Manasara and Silpasara are some of the works dealing with these rules; the rituals followed in worship services each day at the temple follow rules laid out in the Agamas. The Agama texts of Hinduism present a diverse range of philosophies, ranging from theistic dualism to absolute monism; this diversity of views was acknowledged in Chapter 36 of Tantraloka by the 10th-century scholar Abhinavagupta. In Shaivism alone, there are ten dualistic Agama texts, eighteen qualified monism-cum-dualism Agama texts, sixty-four monism Agama texts; the Bhairava Shastras are monistic. A similar breadth of diverse views is present in Vaishnava Agamas as well; the Agama texts of Shaiva and Vaishnava schools are premised on existence of Atman and the existence of an Ultimate Reality.
The texts differ in the relation between the two. Some assert the dualistic philosophy of the individual soul and Ultimate Reality being different, while others state a Oneness between the two. Kashmir Shaiva Agamas posit absolute oneness, God is within man, God is within every being, God is present everywhere in the world including all non-living beings, there is no spiritual difference between life, matter and God; the parallel group among Vaishnavas are the Shuddhadvaitins. Scholars from both schools have written treatises ranging from dualism to monism. For example, Shivagrayogin has emphasized the non-difference or unity of being, rea
Thian Hock Keng
Thian Hock Keng known as the Tianfu Temple, is a temple built for the worship of Mazu, a Chinese sea goddess, located in Singapore. It is the oldest and most important temple of the Hokkien people in the country. Another shrine at the back is Buddhist dedicated to Guanyin, the Mahayana Buddhist bodhisattva of mercy. Thian Hock Keng was gazetted as a national monument on 6 July 1973; the temple originated as a small joss house first built around 1821–1822 at the waterfront serving the local Hokkien community, where seafarers and immigrants may give thanks to the sea goddess Mazu for a safe sea passage on their arrival to Singapore. The temple is located on Telok Ayer Street and faced the sea. Starting in 1839, the temple was rebuilt with funds collected over the years and donations from the community, the largest of, from Tan Tock Seng, a Hokkien businessman; the building materials of the temple and a statue of Mazu was brought over from China, the statue enshrined in the main hall of the temple in 1840.
Some of the building materials, such as stone for the columns, timber as well as tiles were recycled from ballasts in ships. The local Indian community of Chulia Street helped build the temple, a statue of a man who appears to be an Indian holding a beam up at the ceiling was placed in the right wing as a reminder and gesture for their contribution; the temple was completed in 1842 at a cost of 30,000 Spanish dollars. In 1840, the clan association Hokkien Huay Kuan serving the Hokkien community was formed within the temple ground of Thian Hock Keng. In 1849, the Chung Wen Pagoda and Chong Boon Gate were added to the right of the main temple; the building was renovated in 1906, some'western-style' features were added, such as a wrought-iron gate from Glasgow and dado tiling. A scroll was presented to the temple by Guangxu Emperor to the temple in 1907; the Chong Hock Pavilion was built in 1913, was once used by the Chong Hock Girls' School established in the temple. The temple was gazetted as a National Monument in 1973.
A major renovation of the temple was initiated in 1998 and completed in 2000 at a cost of US $2.2 million. The renovation received an honourable mention from the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation in 2001. Thian Hock Keng, built on a square site, is of traditional Chinese design whereby a group of buildings or pavilions cluster around the main courtyard, it has the standard layout of three halls found in such temple, with an entrance hall, a main hall, a rear hall. The temple is constructed in the temple architecture style found in Fujian; the main halls are of single-storey beam-frame structures with brackets supporting curving roofs with wide eaves. Dragons and other decorative motifs are placed on the roofs of the entrance hall as well as the main hall; the entrance hall has one main door and two side doors, with a high step in front. The side entrances are decorated with coloured tiles with peacocks and the Buddhist swastika motif that symbolises good luck and immortality.
Guarding the doors are the traditional sentinels of Taoist temple – stone lions and Door Gods. The temple is richly decorated with coloured tiles, red and gold lacquered wood, as well as figures of dragons and phoenix, with embellished and gilded beams and ceilings; the entrance leads directly into main courtyard. Overlooking the courtyard is the temple proper where the shrine of Mazu is located. On either side of the temple are pagodas with octagonal base – the one on the left is a shrine of Confucius while the one on the right houses ancestral tablets of the Hokkien immigrants who founded the temple. Behind the main shrine is another courtyard where a smaller altar dedicated to Kuan Yin may be found. Down either side of the temple are aisles leading to the monks quarters; the main deity worshiped in the temple is Mazu, a 10th century Fujianese shamaness deified as a Chinese sea goddess. Early immigrants to Singapore offered incense to the goddess to give thanks for a safe passage across the sea from China.
Today's worshippers come to the temple to pray for peace and good health. A smaller shrine to Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, is located at the back. Other deities worshiped in the temple include Baosheng Dadi, Guansheng Dijun, Kai Zhang Sheng Wang, Qie Lan Pu Sa and Cheng Huang Ye. Confucius is venerated in the temple. Uniquely Singapore website Interactive 360° VR image of the Thian Hock Keng 360° image of the Thian Hock Keng's Entrance Chinatownology: Thian Hock Keng Singapore Photo Gallery by ziploc at pbase.com
A Hindu temple is a symbolic house and body of god. It is a structure designed to bring human beings and gods together, using symbolism to express the ideas and beliefs of Hinduism; the symbolism and structure of a Hindu temple are rooted in Vedic traditions, deploying circles and squares. It represents recursion and equivalence of the macrocosm and the microcosm by astronomical numbers, by "specific alignments related to the geography of the place and the presumed linkages of the deity and the patron". A temple incorporates all elements of Hindu cosmos—presenting the good, the evil and the human, as well as the elements of Hindu sense of cyclic time and the essence of life—symbolically presenting dharma, artha and karma; the spiritual principles symbolically represented in Hindu temples are given in the ancient Sanskrit texts of India, while their structural rules are described in various ancient Sanskrit treatises on architecture. The layout, the motifs, the plan and the building process recite ancient rituals, geometric symbolisms, reflect beliefs and values innate within various schools of Hinduism.
A Hindu temple is a spiritual destination for many Hindus, as well as landmarks around which ancient arts, community celebrations and economy have flourished. Hindu temples come in many styles, are situated in diverse locations, deploy different construction methods and are adapted to different deities and regional beliefs, yet all of them share certain core ideas and themes, they are found in South Asia India and Nepal, in southeast Asian countries such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia and islands of Indonesia and Malaysia, countries such as Canada, the Caribbean, France, Kenya, the Netherlands, South Africa, Tanzania and Tobago, the United Kingdom, the United States, countries with a significant Hindu community. The current state and outer appearance of Hindu temples reflect arts and designs as they evolved over two millennia; the Swaminarayanan Akshardham in Robbinsville, New Jersey, United States, between the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, was inaugurated in 2014 as one of the world's largest Hindu temples.
A Hindu temple reflects a synthesis of arts, the ideals of dharma, beliefs and the way of life cherished under Hinduism. It is a link between man and the Universal Purusa in a sacred space, it represents the triple-knowledge of the Vedic vision by mapping the relationships between the cosmos and the cell by a unique plan, based on astronomical numbers. Subhash Kak sees the temple form and its iconography to be a natural expansion of Vedic ideology related to recursion and equivalence. In ancient Indian texts, a temple is a place for Tirtha – pilgrimage, it is a sacred site whose ambience and design attempts to symbolically condense the ideal tenets of Hindu way of life. All the cosmic elements that create and sustain life are present in a Hindu temple – from fire to water, from images of nature to deities, from the feminine to the masculine, from the fleeting sounds and incense smells to the eternal nothingness yet universality at the core of the temple. Susan Lewandowski states that the underlying principle in a Hindu temple is built around the belief that all things are one, everything is connected.
The pilgrim is welcomed through 64-grid or 81-grid mathematically structured spaces, a network of art, pillars with carvings and statues that display and celebrate the four important and necessary principles of human life – the pursuit of artha, the pursuit of kama, the pursuit of dharma and the pursuit of moksha. At the center of the temple below and sometimes above or next to the deity, is mere hollow space with no decoration, symbolically representing Purusa, the Supreme Principle, the sacred Universal, one without form, present everywhere, connects everything, is the essence of everyone. A Hindu temple is meant to encourage reflection, facilitate purification of one’s mind, trigger the process of inner realization within the devotee; the specific process is left to the devotee’s school of belief. The primary deity of different Hindu temples varies to reflect this spiritual spectrum. In Hindu tradition, there is no dividing line between the lonely sacred. In the same spirit, Hindu temples are not just sacred spaces, they are secular spaces.
Their meaning and purpose have extended beyond spiritual life to social rituals and daily life, offering thus a social meaning. Some temples have served as a venue to mark festivals, to celebrate arts through dance and music, to get married or commemorate marriages, commemorate the birth of a child, other significant life events, or mark the death of a loved one. In political and economic life, Hindu temples have served as a venue for the succession within dynasties and landmarks around which economic activity thrived. All Hindu temples take two forms: a house or a palace. A house-themed temple is a simple shelter; the temple is a place where the devotee visits, just like he or she would visit a friend or relative. The use of moveable and immoveable images is mentioned by Pāṇini. In Bhakti school of Hinduism, temples are venues for puja, a hospitality ritual, where the deity is honored, where devotee calls upon, attends to and connects with the deity. In other schools of Hinduism, the person may perform jap, or meditation, or yoga, or introspection in his or her temple.
Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life practised in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, some practitioners and scholars refer to it as Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal tradition", or the "eternal way", beyond human history. Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder; this "Hindu synthesis" started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE, after the end of the Vedic period, flourished in the medieval period, with the decline of Buddhism in India. Although Hinduism contains a broad range of philosophies, it is linked by shared concepts, recognisable rituals, shared textual resources, pilgrimage to sacred sites. Hindu texts are classified into Smṛti; these texts discuss theology, mythology, Vedic yajna, agamic rituals, temple building, among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas and Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Āgamas.
Sources of authority and eternal truths in its texts play an important role, but there is a strong Hindu tradition of questioning authority in order to deepen the understanding of these truths and to further develop the tradition. Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include the four Puruṣārthas, the proper goals or aims of human life, namely Dharma, Artha and Moksha. Hindu practices include rituals such as puja and recitations, meditation, family-oriented rites of passage, annual festivals, occasional pilgrimages; some Hindus leave their social world and material possessions engage in lifelong Sannyasa to achieve Moksha. Hinduism prescribes the eternal duties, such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings, forbearance, self-restraint, compassion, among others; the four largest denominations of Hinduism are the Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Smartism. Hinduism is the world's third largest religion. Hinduism is the most professed faith in India and Mauritius, it is the predominant religion in Bali, Indonesia.
Significant numbers of Hindu communities are found in the Caribbean, North America, other countries. The word Hindū is derived from Indo-Aryan/Sanskrit root Sindhu; the Proto-Iranian sound change *s > h occurred between 850–600 BCE, according to Asko Parpola. It is believed that Hindu was used as the name for the Indus River in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. According to Gavin Flood, "The actual term Hindu first occurs as a Persian geographical term for the people who lived beyond the river Indus", more in the 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I; the term Hindu in these ancient records did not refer to a religion. Among the earliest known records of'Hindu' with connotations of religion may be in the 7th-century CE Chinese text Record of the Western Regions by Xuanzang, 14th-century Persian text Futuhu's-salatin by'Abd al-Malik Isami. Thapar states that the word Hindu is found as heptahindu in Avesta – equivalent to Rigvedic sapta sindhu, while hndstn is found in a Sasanian inscription from the 3rd century CE, both of which refer to parts of northwestern South Asia.
The Arabic term al-Hind referred to the people. This Arabic term was itself taken from the pre-Islamic Persian term Hindū, which refers to all Indians. By the 13th century, Hindustan emerged as a popular alternative name of India, meaning the "land of Hindus"; the term Hindu was used in some Sanskrit texts such as the Rajataranginis of Kashmir and some 16th- to 18th-century Bengali Gaudiya Vaishnava texts including Chaitanya Charitamrita and Chaitanya Bhagavata. These texts used it to distinguish Hindus from Muslims who are called Yavanas or Mlecchas, with the 16th-century Chaitanya Charitamrita text and the 17th-century Bhakta Mala text using the phrase "Hindu dharma", it was only towards the end of the 18th century that European merchants and colonists began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus. The term Hinduism spelled Hindooism, was introduced into the English language in the 18th century to denote the religious and cultural traditions native to India. Hinduism includes a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, but has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet nor any binding holy book.
Because of the wide range of traditions and ideas covered by the term Hinduism, arriving at a comprehensive definition is difficult. The religion "defies our desire to define and categorize it". Hinduism has been variously defined as a religion, a religious tradition, a set of religious beliefs, "a way of life". From a Western lexical standpoint, Hinduism like other faiths is appropriately referred to as a religion. In India the term dharma is preferred, broader than the Western term religion; the study of India and its cultures and religions, the definition of "Hinduism", has been shaped by th
Swan & Maclaren Architects
Swan & Maclaren Architects is the oldest architectural firm in Singapore. Known as Swan & Maclaren and Swan & Lermit, it was the most prominent architectural firm in Singapore when Singapore was a British colony in the early 20th century; the company began in Singapore, Straits Settlements as Swan & Lermit in 1887, a civil engineering firm formed by two surveyor engineers, Archibald Swan and Alfred Lermit. Lermit withdrew from partnership in 1890, in 1892, it became Swan & Maclaren after another surveyor engineer, James Waddell Boyd Maclaren, joined as partner. In 1897, Regent Alfred John Bidwell joined the firm, arriving in Singapore from England after a short working stint at the Public Works Department in Kuala Lumpur of the Federated Malay States, he was the first professionally trained architect in Singapore since George Drumgoole Coleman had practised in the town in the 1820s and 1830s. Bidwell found an opportunity in Singapore to exercise his knowledge of the full range and variety of Western architectural vocabulary.
Because of Bidwell's talent and reputation for designing handsome government buildings and Maclaren became the dominant architectural firm in colonial Singapore. Bidwell dominated its work between 1897 and 1911; the firm proceeded to win the most prestigious commissions in Singapore, many of its early buildings are still extant today. Some of these buildings have been gazetted as national monuments, these include Raffles Hotel, Teutonia Club and Victoria Memorial Hall; the Raffles Hotel was one of the first of the numerous projects by Bidwell under Swan and Maclaren, to build a substantial number of buildings in a large variety of architectural styles. The firm was commissioned to rebuild the Teutonia Club in 1900 in its new location on Scotts Road, after it moved from its location near Raffles Hotel on North Bridge Road. Bidwell applied the south German architectural style in his design of the clubhouse. In Singapore's downtown area, Bidwell designed the three-storey Stamford House, completed in 1904.
By 1904, Swan and Maclaren was the largest architectural firm in Singapore. In 1905, Swan and Maclaren worked on the extensions and rebuilding of the Victoria Memorial Hall. In the same year, the Chesed-El Synagogue on Oxley Rise was built. In 1907, the Singapore Cricket Club was extended and refurbished, the'Eastern Extension' on 35 Robinson Road was constructed. In that year, the firm designed and built one of the largest shops in early Singapore, the John Little department store in Raffles Place, located on the opposite side of the square from Robinson & Co. Between 1906 and 1912, Swan and Maclaren rebuilt the Saint Joseph's Church on Victoria Street, dedicated to the Lady of Fatimah, in the Gothic style. In 1911, Bidwell left Maclaren to establish his own practice. By he was the most important architect in Singapore. In 1913, Swan and Maclaren built a large villa for the Chinese businessman Eu Tong Sen on Mount Sophia; the Eu Villa was built at a grand cost of $1 million. In the same year, the firm designed the Jinrikisha Station on Neil Road.
In the years between World Wars I and II, the firm continued to lead the local market with projects such as the Sultan Mosque, Ocean Building, Hongkong Bank Chambers, Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church and the Singapore Turf Club. In 1927 they completed the construction of the ‘Eastern Extension’ at 35 Robinson Road, the intersection of the ten most important overseas telegraph cables, it is today the So Singapore. Swan and Maclaren designed the Cenotaph, a granite memorial at the Esplanade Park that commemorates the soldiers who died in World War I, its reverse side was inscribed with the names of soldiers who died in World War II. After World War II, Swan and Maclaren remained important continuing with projects such as Singapore Polytechnic's original campus at Prince Edward Road, they did, however lose some of its dominance due to increased competition from both local and foreign companies. In May 1999, Swan and Maclaren Architects was awarded the architectural tender for the new National Library building on Victoria Street to replace the main library on Stamford Road, demolished.
It was shortlisted out of five for the final selection in National Library Board's architectural design competition, from the 30 firms that made submissions. In September 2000, the firm's team leader, Malaysian architect Ken Yeang, ended his partnership with Swan and Maclaren Architects, contracted to see the project through to completion. Subsequently, NLB released the firm from its contract, called for new tenders for the construction of the new National Library building; the National Library building was opened on 22 July 2005, after three years of construction. Notes Bibliography National Library Board of Singapore, Infopedia: Swan & Maclaren Singapore Institute of Architects