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The German Liedertafel Club was founded by German traders on 28 June 1856. It started off with 21 members in a small building in North Bridge Road, near the present Raffles Hotel. Its membership was opened to Germans or German-speaking people. At that time, there was little entertainment for the Germans, and their social activities were centered around the club. The club was later renamed the Teutonia Club (Teutonia Klub).
In December 1856, the Teutonia Club was shifted to Blanche House on Mount Elizabeth. The Teutonia Club soon became the recreational and social hub of the Western community. Bowling matches, musical activities, beer and sausages were the main attractions. By 1886, its membership had grown to more than 100, and the club decided to build a new clubhouse on a hillock on Scotts Road. When construction began in 1899, the club was temporarily housed at the Tanglin Club which was within the vicinity. The new clubhouse on Scotts Road (the present Goodwood Park Hotel) was opened on 21 September 1900 by Sir James Alexander Swettenham. It was the fourth clubhouse that the Teutonia Club called home. Costing St$20,000 to build, it was designed by the architectural firm, Swan and Maclaren. Over 500 guests were invited to an extravagant opening ball, including Chief Justice Sir Lionel Cox and the Honourable W.R. Collyer. The magnificent building, was fashioned after the castles of the Rhine to reflect its German heritage. Its distinctive tower, overlooking Scotts Road, was the main feature of the architecture. It had a top-rated restaurant, besides its amenities for concert and sports.
When World War I broke out in 1914, the Germans were regarded as enemies, and many of them were shipped out of Singapore. The Teutonia Clubhouse was confiscated by the British under the Custodian of Enemy Property, marking its end as the German Clubhouse. The clubhouse building was subsequently sold to the Menassah brothers, who converted it to Goodwood Park Hotel in April 1929.
After World War II, the German community in Singapore grew rapidly and the need to form a German Club became apparent. The German Club was re-established in 1950 in a bungalow at no. 12 First Avenue. The club had to terminate its activities at the bungalow in 1999, as the property was not approved for non-residential purposes. The German Club operated without a clubhouse for the period between 2002-2003, but it continued to serve its members through organised activities such as workshops, outings, tours and eating sessions. The long search ended in 2003 with a small but cosy space for the club in 36 Watten Rise. In 25 October 2005, the German expatriates found their new clubhouse in 61A Toh Tuck Road.
The German club (German Association - Deutsches Haus) celebrated their 150th anniversary in 2006, and are proud of their long tradition in Singapore.
Joshua Chia Yeong Jia
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(Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN)
German Club. (2004). Die Geschichte zum German Club - Vereinigung Deutsches Haus. Retrieved May 31, 2006, from http://www.germanclub.org.sg/Deutsch/Frameseite.htm
Goodwood Park Hotel. (2000). Goodwood Park Hotel (1900-2000): 100 years of hospitality (p. 6). Singapore: Goodwood Park Hotel.
(Call no.: RSING 647.955957 GOO)
Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. St. J. (Eds.). (1991). One hundred years of Singapore Vol. 2 (pp. 406, 604). Singapore: Oxford University Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE)
National Heritage Board. (2002). Singapore's 100 historic places (p. 27). Singapore: Archipelago Press in association with the National Heritage Board
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 SIN)
Sin Chew Jit Poh and Archives and Oral History Department (1982). Singapore retrospect through postcards 1900-1930 (pp. 74-75). Singapore: Sin Chew Jit Poh and Archives and Oral History Department.
(Call no.: RSING 769.4995957 SIN)
Turnbull, C. M. (1985). A history of Singapore: 1819-1975 (pp. 66, 128). Singapore: Oxford University Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR)
Tyers, R. (1993). Singapore then & now (pp. 174-176). Singapore: Landmark Books.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE)
Walsh, B. A. (1991). Forty good men: The story of the Tanglin Club in the island of Singapore (pp. 26, 54-57). Singapore: The Club.
(Call no.: RSING 367.95957 WAL)
The information in this article is valid as at 2006 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.