The Straits Times
Saturday, Oct 20, 2012
MATILDA House, the only remaining historical bungalow in Punggol, will get a new lease of life in 2015 as a condominium clubhouse. It had been left abandoned for more than two decades.
The 417 sq m single-storey property opposite Punggol MRT station will house amenities such as a function room, a lounge and a gym for residents of A Treasure Trove condominium.
Two years ago, property developer Sim Lian Group had clinched the condo site when it was put up for sale. The sale conditions included the need to retain and restore Matilda House according to conservation guidelines, and integrate it as part of the housing project.
According to an earlier report, well-known lawyer Howard Cashin, who died in 2009, said the bungalow was built in 1902 by his father Alexander, the son of Mr Joseph Cashin.
The latter, who arrived in Singapore in the 1840s, worked as a lawyer's clerk and later invested in opium farms which were legal in the 1880s. He then put his fortune into real estate.
His son, Alexander, had Matilda House built as a present for his wife. He named the weekend resort for the IrishCashin family after his mother.
But the home, which boasted open verandas and raised floors, had fallen into disuse and was acquired by the Government in the mid-1980s. In 2000, the Urban Redevelopment Authority earmarked it for conservation.
The move to give the property a new lifeline has won support from heritage enthusiasts.
Dr Chua Ai Lin, a historian and committee member of the Singapore Heritage Society, said: "It's a great idea that they are integrating old buildings with modern development.
"Rather than to leave it abandoned or demolish it, it's better to let it become a part of people's lives."
It was also announced on Tuesday that Matilda is one of the seven new waterfront housing districts in Punggol.
The Matilda District will be one of the first to be developed in the next five years.
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