Middle Road Church

Not in the sense of a church being sited in the middle of the road. If you happen to travel along Middle Road which intersects with Waterloo Street, an orange coloured building may have caught your attention. With banners adorned in front of the building and a few sculptures near its entrance, you could have guessed that this building is home to the arts of some sort. An old building with a history was given a new splash of bright orange paint which was once commonly known as…Middle Road Church.

^ Map location: No.155, Middle Road.

^ Walking along Waterloo Street towards the intersection with Middle Road, the bright orange building comes into view.

^ You definitely can’t miss it.

This small building was built between 1870-1875. It was first known as The Christian Institute where young men gathered for recreational activities and daily worship. Under her trustee Charles Phillip, the Methodist community were invited to use the premises. Its occupants included MGS (Methodist Girls School) as well as the Straits Chinese who formed the Methodist Missionaries in 1890. The building was officially inaugurated as the Malay Church in 1894 and became the first Straits Chinese Methodist Church in Singapore. The building remained so, serving as a church until 1929, when the congregation moved to Kampong Kapor (now known as Kampong Kapor Methodist Church) due to a need for a larger place to accommodate the growing community.

During the period of World War II, it was understood that the building was converted to a Chinese restaurant called May Blossom Restaurant. After the war, it became a motor-workshop and parking area. I remembered this well because during my school days at SJI in the ‘70s, I had to commute via bus service 150 which ply the route that passed by this building. The sound from hammering tools, power-drills, mechanics at work with black greasy hands, and various vehicle parts strewn around the premises was a sight I have not forgotten.

^ The main entrance.

^ An arts housing project of the National Arts Council.

^ A bit of her history.

Today, this small building had been given a new lease of life to showcase the arts. Officially opened in 1999, its aim is not just to become an arts hub showcasing the works of local and international artists. But striving to be a regional arts hub for contemporary 3-dimensional artworks. If you have the time, perhaps you may like to head on down to Sculpture Square at No.155 Middle Road.

^ Once known as Middle Road Church…now known as Sculpture Square.

Enjoy a quiet and cozy rest and refreshments at My Secret Garden located just behind the building.

Wishing you pleasant visit to this little building of history.


12 Responses to “Middle Road Church”

  1. profkingsfield2004 Says:


    Yes I remember it was a motor work shop. Can u remember a fruit seller with a big traupolin shed in front of that church which faces Middle Road. The boss was an old lady. Her stall was next to that row of old shophouses – is it still there today?

    My parents patronise her stall every Saturday.

  2. Lam Chun See Says:

    Funny how come I never noticed this church before. I was always fascinated by the nearby Jewish sysnagogue. They is also an old Tamil church at Short Street I believe.

  3. ordinary guy Says:

    Hi Prof Kingsfield,

    The landscape at Middle Road has changed tremendously over the years. Stretching from the junction at Beach Road all the way along Middle Road till the junction at Prinsep Street, Selegie Complex area has transformed. Btw, Selegie Complex has recently been torn down to make way for a new building. I’ll try to cover more of that area in coming posts. Thanks for visiting.

  4. ordinary guy Says:

    Hi Lam,

    The Jewish Synagogue is called the Maghain Aboth Synagogue sited along Waterloo Street directly opposite SJI. A new annexe building called the Jacob Ballas Centre was recently built in addition to the synagogue. Btw, I came to learn that Waterloo Street got its name from the victory by the Duke of Wellington of Britain over the French led by Napoleon Bonaparte at the battle of Waterloo in 1815.

  5. profkingsfield2004 Says:

    Waterloo Street had this Stamford College; not the Stanford Uni of California USA. I came to study to Stamford College for partime night classes to study for the for the City & Guilds Computer Programing and British Computer Society IT exams in the late 1970s. Many ladies graduated from this place with a LCC in typewriting, commerce, book-keeping and secretarial studies.

    After classes around 9.30pm walked to Waterloo Street to eat Indian rojak opposite SJI field. What to do in my time where got scholarship or money to study overseas?

    Selegie Complex got this famous Chines restaurant (Princess Room ????).

  6. Icemoon Says:

    I believe it was also called Methodist Chapel and later, Baba Church.

    May Blossom Restaurant may not be the more ‘authentic’ name. I believe it was called Sakura Bar, which was patronised entirely by Japanese soldiers during the occupation.

  7. ordinary guy Says:

    I was at La Salle Academy yesterday and had to walk along Short Street. Quite a number of changes in that area especially the former Selegie Complex and Elias building. Will be having some post on this area.

    Thanks Icemoon for the names which Middle Road Church could have been known in the past.

  8. Icemoon Says:

    The information are from Rudy Mosbergen’s book. Quite interesting read, if you want to know more about the Queen Street area.

    As a graduate from SJI, he is your senior. 😛

  9. Mark Tan Says:

    Yes I remember the dilapidated motor workshop.

    I used to use this building as an illustration in my talks when I want to emphasise that ‘a Church’ is not the bricks and mortar building, but ‘the people of God worshipping together as a community.’ Now that it is converted to an Art gallery -so to speak.. I think I can still use it as my illustration.

  10. ordinary guy Says:

    Icemoon – Thanks for the lead. Will read up further. Rudy Mosbergen really senior probably as in senior*3.

    Mark – Hope the post had some meaningful info in your future presentations.

    Cheerio to all.

  11. Dezzo Says:

    i find that since the management change of Sculpture Square it has become really quiet.

    On average I reckon that there is a exhibition once every 2 – 3 months, compared to the back to back shows it had a few years back.

    I hope that it doesn’t become a white elephant.

  12. CRAZgirl Says:

    that place has became real quiet

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