The Chinese High School was established in 1919 by the prominent businessman and philanthropist Tan Kah Kee to serve the educational needs of the Nanyang Chinese communities. One of several educational institutions set up by Tan in Singapore, the all-boys school is situated on a large plot of land in Bukit Timah that once belonged to Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor. The school quickly gained a reputation as one of the premier institutes of learning in Singapore and was also a hotbed of student activism in the turbulent 1950s and 1960s. A sister institution, Hwa Chong Junior College, was formed in 1984. The two institutions subsequently merged in 2005 to form Hwa Chong Institution, and share a common campus on the Bukit Timah site.