Club History

History of the Tanglin Club

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the advent of steamers resulted in a travel revolution. The small port founded by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, developed into a thriving trading centre, and the everyday life of the British settlement had become more sophisticated, and exclusively European.

In October 1865, "forty good men and true" convened a meeting for the purpose of forming a suburban social club to meet the wants of the British living in the settlement, and founded the Tanglin Club. A property in the District of Claymore was purchased in 1866 and this is the current site of the Tanglin Club today.

It is not known how the name 'Tanglin' originated but as there are many places in Malaysia named after trees, it is possible that the Tanglin Club was named after the Saraca Tree aka 'Tanglin Tree'. A commemorative Tanglin Tree was planted in the grounds of the present clubhouse in 1990 to mark the Club's 125th anniversary.

For many years, the Tanglin Club was one of the pillars of social life in Singapore for successful members of the European community. By the late 1930s, its ballroom had the reputation of having the best dance floor in the island and the Club band was a focal point of attraction. The highlight of Singapore's social calendar was The Tanglin Ball. Even today, the ball is held yearly in the Churchill Room, an icon of the Club. Squash and tennis are also synonymous with The Tanglin Club.

Before the fall of Singapore in February 1942, the Club was prepared for use as a convalescent depot for the Malayan Armed Service and an evacuee centre. During the Japanese occupation the Club was used as a Japanese officers' club. Having survived the vicissitudes of debt and war, age and apathy, even a major transformation, the Tanglin Club still retains an aura of exclusivity as one of the premier social clubs in Singapore today.

Having grown from "Forty Good Men" to over 4,000 Members, the Club prides itself on its international and cosmopolitan nature with more than 70 nationalities among its Members. It has earned a reputation of prestige and quality. the Tanglin Club Membership is still very much sought after as it offers excellent facilities and a distinguished lifestyle to its Members.

The presidents of the Tanglin Club were persons of prominence such that there are many streets named after them, for instance, Dunman Road, Anderson Road & Bridge, Read Street & Bridge, Birch Road, Bishopsgate and Finlayson Green.

The Tanglin Club today is an inviting oasis for relaxation and rejuvenation while its ambience still evokes the grace and charm of the past.