Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Singapore
The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes (Tamil: தூய லூர்து அன்னை ஆலயம்) is a Catholic church in Singapore. It is located at Ophir Road in the Rochor Planning Area, within the Central Area in Singapore's central business district.
The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes was blessed and officially opened in 1888. This is the first Tamil Catholic church in Singapore. The building site was obtained in 1885 and the cornerstone laid on 1 August 1886 by Bishop Gasnier, D.D. and Sir Frederick A. Weld, G. C M. G in an official ceremony that was witnessed by a number of religious and laity. It bears a resemblance to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, in France. Within the Church building itself is a grotto with life-sized statues depicting the appearance of Our Lady appearing to Saint Bernadette.
Many architectural historians attribute this building to Swan & Maclaren, but it was more probably designed by a priest–architect, such as Father Nain, as many other Catholic buildings in Singapore were at the time. It could not have been executed by Swan & Maclaren, to whom it is often attributed, as the partnership was not formed until 1893, at which time the building was completed. More than likely the plans were submitted by A.W. Lermit of Swan & Lermit (predecessor of Swan & Maclaren).
Today, the Church is used, up to a point, for the purpose for which it was built, i.e. as a worshipping place for Tamil Catholics. However, over the last decade, and in the interests of a multi-racial nation, it has welcomed Catholics of all races. Masses are held in English, Tamil and Sinhalese.
The Church is a neo-Gothic building of good proportions and fine details and is said to have been modelled on its namesake building in the town of Lourdes in France. For some time it was in need of care and maintenance and the church was also somewhat eclipsed by the addition of a new school building, Our Lady of Lourdes English School, on the same grounds.
Its brightly coloured redecoration of reds, greys and yellows, in late 1982, was considered by many to have been unfortunate, however, in early 1986, renovation was carried out on the building, which was redecorated with a coating of white paint and the doors were highlighted with two shades of blue.
The church building is currently undergoing repairs and restoration and work is expected to be completed by October 2010.
- Norman Edwards, Peter Keys (1988), Singapore – A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, Times Books International, ISBN 9971-65-231-5
- Wan Meng Hao (2005), Know Our Monuments , Preservation of Monuments Board
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