St Andrew’s Cathedral is a distinctive and elegant institution in the heart of the civic district. Designed by Colonel Ronald MacPherson in 1856, it replaced the original church which was destroyed by two lightning strikes in 1852.
The architecture is early English Gothic. One of the interesting features of the Cathedral is the coating of the interior walls and pillars with a composition made from shell lime. This lime had been mixed with the whites of eggs and coarse sugar or jaggery and the paste was mix with water in which husks of coconuts had been soaked into it. The walls and pillars after a period of drying were rubbed with rock crystals or rounded stones until they took on a beautiful polish. They were dusted with fine soapstone powder leaving a remarkably smooth and glossy surface. The walls and pillars were so hard that it was almost impossible to drive a nail into them.
In 1942 during the Japanese invasion of Singapore the Cathedral’s nave was converted into a casualty station to care for the wounded and when all hospitals were overcrowded with the casualties by the constant bombing and artillery fire by the Japanese invaders. The Nave’s floor was blood-stained and in the yard were bombed out military vehicles. Normal worship resumed after the war in 1945.