MacDonald House

With its distinctively detailed red bricks styled to the taste of Neo-Georgian architecture, the MacDonald house stands tall along Orchard Road despite having been the site of perhaps the worst ever bombings in Singapore on 10 March 1965.

A full view of the neo-georgian architecture that the MacDonald House was styled after

A full view of the neo-georgian architecture that the MacDonald House was styled after

On a clear day the red bricks of the MacDonald House become that much more vibrant

On a clear day the red bricks of the MacDonald House become that much more vibrant

Built in 1949 by Reginald Eyre of Palmer and Turner, the MacDonald house was the first large scale office building built in the post-war era, with its main tenant being the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC).

It was named after Malcolm MacDonald, the British Commissioner-General for Southeast Asia from 1948 to 1955, who was popular amongst the locals due to his frequent interactions with them.

Group photograph taken at farewell reception for British Commissioner General for South East Asia Malcolm MacDonald at Ceylon Sports Club Source:National Archives of Singapore

Group photograph taken at farewell reception for British Commissioner General for South East Asia Malcolm MacDonald at Ceylon Sports Club
Source:National Archives of Singapore

Yet the MacDonald House is perhaps better known as the site of Singapore’s worst ever bombings by two rouge Indonesian marines, who on 10 March 1965 at 3:07pm, detonated a bomb near the lift on the mezzanine floor of the ten-storey building. The bomb ripped through the lift and caused an inner wall to collapse, resulting in a mass of rubble collapsing into the bank of the ground floor. Every window within a hundred yards was shattered and extensive damage was done to nearby vehicles.

Bomb Explosion at the MacDonald House Source: Singapore Press Holdings

Bomb Explosion at the MacDonald House Source: Singapore Press Holdings

In total, the explosion killed 3 people while leaving another 33 injured. The two marine saboteurs were eventually arrested and hanged on 17 October 1968, an incident that resulted in an attack on the Singapore embassy in Jakarta.

The MacDonald House bombing was the worse of the 37 bombings in Singapore that occurred during the Indonesian Confrontation or Konfrontasi (1963-1966), that arose as a result of Indonesia’s opposition to Singapore’s merger with Malaya.

Today, the MacDonald House stands as the last remaining brick structure in the Orchard Road area and was gazetted as a National Monument in 2003. It is now home to its main tenant CitiBank and Mccann worldgroup.

Mccaann world group is one of the anchor tenants at the MacDonald House

Mccaann world group is one of the anchor tenants at the MacDonald House

A close up of the balcony

A close up of the balcony

A stone laid done by Mrs MacDonald herself

A stone laid done by Mrs MacDonald herself

Many commuters now casually walk past the front of the historic building and its Botticino columns, as a refuge from either the heat or rain from the Dhoby Ghaut station to many other attractions in the Bras Basah. Bugis area.

Commuters now frequently walk pass the MacDonald House for shelter against the heat and rain

Commuters now frequently walk pass the MacDonald House for shelter against the heat and rain

Wedged between the beautiful Botticino columns is Citibank

Wedged between the beautiful Botticino columns is Citibank

 

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