MGS marks 130 years with revamped heritage centre

Mrs Anna Tham, the longest-serving principal of Methodist Girls' School - from 1977 to 1994 - at the official opening of the newly renovated heritage centre yesterday, with MGS Alumnae Association president Tjio Bee Ann.
Mrs Anna Tham, the longest-serving principal of Methodist Girls' School - from 1977 to 1994 - at the official opening of the newly renovated heritage centre yesterday, with MGS Alumnae Association president Tjio Bee Ann.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Students and alumnae of Methodist Girls' School (MGS) can now get a glimpse of the school's rich history with the official opening of a newly renovated heritage centre to commemorate 130 years of the school's founding.

Now double the size of the original, the 1,900 sq ft modern-looking centre cost more than $350,000 to renovate and took just under two years to plan and build.

Sited within MGS in Blackmore Drive, the centre now includes a bell, windows and bricks salvaged from the iconic old school campus in Mount Sophia.

Other artefacts, such as old building plans and a cookbook written by Mrs Ellice Handy, MGS' first Asian post-war principal, are clearly displayed. Previously, these artefacts were stored and kept out of the public eye.

Some of the school's prominent women featured at the centre include Singapore's first female judge, the late Ms Jenny Lau Buong Bee, the late Mrs Lee Kuan Yew and former Olympian Joscelin Yeo.

Present at the centre's reopening yesterday were many MGS girls, both past and present. Recalling her days at MGS, alumna Eleanor Wong, 55, an author and playwright who is also a vice-dean of the law faculty at the National University of Singapore, said: "Schooling at MGS allowed me to get a deeper appreciation towards culture, music and art, and until today, I continue to be involved in theatre.

"It was a safe place to be different, to try new things and yet also know that there remains a kind of structure and discipline that will stand us in good stead. The teachers have been very nurturing and patient towards us as well."

Also present was President's Scholar Lucy Toh, 46 . Looking back fondly, she said: "MGS was a place where we forged many strong friendships that lasted us through the good and bad in life. There may be periods in life when we drift from our friends, but I knew that I could always count on them and I wish the same for our current students."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2017, with the headline 'MGS marks 130 years with revamped heritage centre'. Print Edition | Subscribe