Façade of the St Andrew’s Cathedral

Photo by Saint Andrew's Cathedral

If you’re in the Civic District, you cannot miss the imposing tower and spire of St Andrew’s Cathedral. This is, after all, Singapore’s largest cathedral and the oldest Anglican house of worship.

Struck by lightning, twice

Designed by Colonel Ronald MacPherson in 1856, an executive engineer and superintendent of the Public Works Department, the English Gothic structure replaced the original chapel which was destroyed by not one, but two lightning strikes in 1852.

Scottish merchants funded the early construction of the church building, so the church was named after the patron saint of Scotland. Trained Indian convict labourers were involved in the cathedral’s construction.

In 1942, shortly before the fall of Singapore during World War II, the cathedral was used as an emergency hospital during the frequent air raids. The Church continued worship services every Sunday from 1942 to 1945.

Remembering the past

Gazetted as a national monument in 1973, the cathedral and its grounds hold a number of memorials and dedications.

Among them, the stained glass windows in the apse are dedicated to Singapore’s founder, Sir Stamford Raffles; its second British Resident, John Crawfurd; and Straits Settlements Governor, Major-General William Butterworth. You can also find tablets commemorating victims of the 1915 Sepoy Mutiny in Singapore.

Pick up a tour pamphlet and visit this grand cathedral at your own pace during opening hours. Free guided tours are also available, but do call beforehand.