Nestled within the lush foliage at 28 Nassim Road stands Eden Hall–the official residence of the British High Commissioner in Singapore.
Set atop British-owned grounds, this elusive turn-of-the-century mansion comprises 14,000 square feet of residential estate–including a wraparound veranda, four magnificent reception rooms, and six bedrooms spread over two levels.
A rich and dazzling history accompanies this estate. Designed by the celebrated R.A.J. Bidwell of famous architectural firm Swan & Maclaren, Eden Hall was constructed for hotelier and rice and opium merchant Ezekiel Saleh Manasseh. It was completed in 1904 and leased as a boarding house; Manasseh moved in with his wife, Elsie Trilby Bath, and her two children Molly and Vivian, only in 1916.
After Manasseh’s death during the Japanese occupation, Eden Hall was inherited by his step-son, Vivian Bath. The family was forced to vacate the house during the Japanese occupation. After the war, Vivian Bath regained ownership of the estate and sold it to the British Government for a nominal sum in 1957.
The entire land plot, which used to be a sprawling nutmeg plantation prior to Eden Hall’s construction, initially spanned four and a half acres. The current site is now 63,893 square feet following land sales by the British government in 2001.
Some of the house’s original features have survived. These include the “M”, for Manasseh, that was interwoven within the wrought-iron spindles of the staircase balustrade.
Eden Hall is famed for its Wedgwood-like appearance; a distinctive décor of white plasterwork adorns the grey building, which has inspired nicknames such as “The Wedding Cake” and “Wedgwood House”.
Today, a flagpole plaque inscribed with the words: “May the Union flag fly here forever” remains – a stipulation set by Bath when he sold the property. Together with the British coat of arms positioned on the front veranda, they proclaim Eden Hall’s English occupancy and history.
This is a conserved building(s) by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), please visit URA’s Conservation Portal for more details.
Buildings and sites featured on Roots.SG are part of our efforts to raise awareness of our heritage; a listing on Roots.SG does not imply any form of preservation or conservation status, unless it is mentioned in the article. The information in this article is valid as of October 2019 and is not intended to be an exhaustive history of the site/building.