|Fullerton Hotel, the Former GPO|
We had an ad hoc sketchwalk at the Merlion Park and Fullerton area to coincide with the announcement of National Museum's invitatino to participate in their "A Changed World" exhibition. I decided to be ambitious that day and chose to capture our lady of lace: the grand old lady that is Fullerton Hotel - formerly The Fullerton Building and the General Post Office.
The Fullerton Building was named after Robert Fullerton, the first Governor of the Straits Settlements (1826–1829). Commissioned in 1919 as part of the British colony's centennial celebrations, the building was designed as an office building by Major P.H. Keys of Keys & Dowdeswell, a Shanghai firm of architects, which won the project through an architectural design competition. The architectural firm also designed the Capitol Theatre and the Singapore General Hospital.
The northern end of the building covers the site of Fort Fullerton, a fort built in 1829 to defend the settlement against any naval attacks. In 1843, the fort was extended after a sandstone monolith, the Singapore Stone, with an inscription possibly dating back to the 13th century was demolished. A fragment of this monolith was salvaged and preserved in the collection of the National Museum at Stamford Road. The fort gave way to the first General Post Office and the Exchange Building in 1874. Plans to erect Fullerton Building were drawn up in 1920. However, due to a lack of funds, construction only began in February 1924. Built at a cost of $4.1 million and after delays of a few months, the building was completed in June 1928.
The Fullerton Building was opened on 27 June 1928 by the Governor, Sir Hugh Clifford, who suggested the building be named after Robert Fullerton. The building had five founding tenants: the General Post Office, The Exchange, Singapore Club (now Singapore Town Club), the Marine Department, and the Import and Export Department (later the Ministry of Trade and Industry). It also housed the Chamber of Commerce, and various government departments dealing with agriculture, fisheries and forestry.