Teo Eng Hock was a keen supporter of the 1911 Chinese Revolutionary Movement to overthrow the Qing Dynasty and in 1906 he offered the house to Dr Sun Yat Sen as the Southeast Asian base of Dr Sun's Tong Meng Hui (Chinese Revolutionary Alliance). The villa served as the centre for Tong Meng Hui's activities and fund raising efforts in Southeast Asia, and important uprisings were planned here during Dr. Sun's visits to Singapore. Later, it became the local headquarters of Dr. Sun's Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party) after the 1911 Revolution.
In 1937, the villa was bought over by six Chinese businessmen - Lee Kong Chian, Tan Ean Kiam, Chew Hean Swee, Lee Choon Seng, Yeo Kiat Tiow and Lee Chin Tian. During WWII, the Japanese used the building as a communications centre and office for the dreaded Kempeitai (Japanese Military Police). In 1951, the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce obtained ownership of the villa.
In 1966, the Chamber converted the house into a museum called the Sun Yat Sen Villa. The building was gazetted as a National Monument on 28 October 1994 and later renamed the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall in 1997. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1911 Revolution, the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall underwent a revamp in 2010 and reopened on 8 October 2011. The galleries within now house important artefacts, paintings and photographs that trace the story of Dr. Sun and also highlight the contributions made by Chinese communities in Southeast Asia to the Revolution.
Victorian grandeur is evident in the architecture of the two-storey villa, which features spacious verandahs with chick blinds and arches supported by modified Doric and Corinthian columns and pilasters. The style is fairly typical of Chinese bungalows built in the colonial era.