St. Joseph’s Institution

This postcard is part of a set acquired by the museum. The collection provides a glimpse into the physical and social landscape of Singapore during the 19th and 20th century which were characterised by European colonialism, the Japanese Occupation, and the post-war years. These postcards also give a glimpse into the type of architecture that was seen in Singapore in those days, as well as the range of activities, businesses, trades, and industries that the people of Singapore were involved in at that time. Some of these postcards still contain the original handwriting of the senders themselves.St. Joseph’s Institution (SJI) was an English medium school for boys established by the Brothers of the Christian Schools, a teaching order under the aegis of the De LaSalle Brothers. The school’s founder was Father Jean-Marie Beurel. Father Beurel worked tirelessly to raise funds for the new school. His determined efforts led to the opening of the school in 1852 on the enlarged premises of the first Roman Catholic chapel in Singapore, which was constructed in 1833. The foundation for a new school building was laid in 1855. As it was plagued by continued funding problems, the building was only completed in 1867 under Brother Lothaire Combes who became director of the institution in 1863. Extensions to the building were made in 1903 and 1905 and a school chapel was constructed in 1911. SJI moved to its new premises at Malcolm Road in 1987. The old building at Bras Basah was gazetted as a national monument in 1992 and was converted to the Singapore Art Museum, which opened in December 1996.