Also known the Osborne House, the building had been used as the Japanese Consul-General Office before the Second World War and was subsequently occupied by the Social Welfare Department.
It then became a children's home, a counselling centre for drug addicts before becoming one of the facilities of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA). Today, the state-owned building is leased out to a non-profit arts organisation, Emily Hill Enterprise.
Researchers had speculated that the house was developed as early as the late nineteenth century by Syed Hashim Kassim, the Sultan of Siak Sri Indrapura in Indonesia.
However, the earliest reference to the house was dated to December 1891 with an announcement of the birth of Mr Heinrich Bock's daughter. Mr Bock was the Managing Director of the trading firm Katz Brothers and the house served as his residence, as well as that of the succeeding Managing Director's residence.
The building changed hands and was bought by Singapore-based Japanese dentist Jukichi Ikeda in 1935. The building was then acquired by the Japanese Consulate in 1939 and the consulate-general office was established in the villa.
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