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House on The Hill Pre-School (Former Nan Hwa Girls’ High School)


Block 33 Mount Sophia Singapore 228481
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Located at the junction of Sophia Road and Adis Road, this building used to house Nan Hwa Girls’ High School (Main) from 1941-1983.

Early Beginnings

In the early 1900s, when the girl's department of Yangzheng School closed due to financial difficulties, Mr Xiong Shangfu and a group of Chinese businessmen launched fundraising efforts to establish a school for girls. Their aim was to provide girls with access to education, which had been previously denied to them.

On 14 June 1917, Nan Hwa Girls' School opened its first campus on Coleman Street with 50 students. The school followed a traditional Chinese curriculum and lessons were conducted in Mandarin.

In 1921, the school moved to a larger building on Bencoolen Street, and in 1939, a branch school was established on Middle Road due to the growing number of students. Plans were also made to construct a secondary school.

In 1941, the school relocated to the Adis Road campus. The main campus was named Nan Hwa Girls' High School, while the Bencoolen Street campus became known as Nan Hwa Girls' High School (Branch). The Middle Road campus ceased operations, and both schools were closed later that year due to the war. After the war, the two campuses reopened, and the main school began offering secondary classes.

Architectural Style

Practical and economical, this building’s style is typical of larger buildings of the 1930s to 1960s. The main three-storey building has an unusually thin, continuous cantilevered concrete ledge around the perimeter to provide shade from the hot sun and heavy rain. Precast reinforced concrete vents on the external walls also aid ventilation.

At the time of writing, Inscriptions of “Nan Hwa Girls’ High School” and “南华女子中学校” remain on the building’s front façade. The Shanghai Plaster on the external walls, however, has been covered with modern paint.

Conservation status

The building was given conservation status by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on 29 August 2011. Later in 2016, the building was used as a showroom for Sophia Hills, a residential development project. As part of the development, the building was converted into a kindergarten and childcare centre. At the time of writing, the building is used as House on The Hill Montessori Pre-School.

This is a conserved building(s) by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), please visit URA’s Conservation Portal for more details.

While younger Singaporeans know this building as a pre-school, older Singaporeans will remember this building as Nan Hwa Girls’ High School—a school that provided many girls in Singapore with the opportunity of an education.

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