One of the few sports clubs established during Colonial Times, the Singapore Recreation Club (SRC) was founded in 1883 with the main objective of encouraging amateur sports in Singapore.
During this era, ethnic community organisations and groups dominated the commercial and social life of colonial Singapore. Amid these circumstances, some 30 members of the Eurasian community met at a building in Waterloo Street on 23 June 1883, laying the foundations for what would later be the SRC. The club functioned from this shophouse until moving to its Padang location in the 1890s.
Cricket was the main sporting activity of the club, and the first match reportedly played was between the SRC and the British Royal Artillery on 1 September 1883. The then governor, Sir Cecil Clementi Smith, in order to provide sporting facilities for the Eurasian community, granted approval for a sports pavilion at the north end of the Padang on 25 March 1884.
The first pavilion was ready in November 1885 and the club then recorded 37 registered members. A year later, it was decided that the club’s colours be navy blue and red.
When membership reached 170 in 1891, plans were made for a larger pavilion. This new clubhouse pavilion was completed on 8 August 1905 and declared open by then Governor Sir J Anderson on 2 September 1905.
This second pavilion sits on what is now the present site of the SRC; the original pavilion structure remained until 1994 when it was demolished to make way for a brand new clubhouse building.
Rugby was introduced and played in 1938 and while hockey, tennis and football were played to enthusiastic support, cricket remained the lead sport of the club.
After World War II, a small group of members met on March 1946 to discuss the re-activation of the club and by September 1946 activities were revived. The cricket and football teams formed during this period went on to win the Victory Cup* in 1948.
At a historic meeting held on 11 February 1963, the SRC members agreed, by an overwhelming majority of votes, to open ordinary club membership to all communities within Singapore, effectively ending 80 years of restricted membership based on race.
Spanning 114 years of sporting and cultural heritage, the new SRC clubhouse was opened on 28 June 1997 with a built-in area of 20,500sq m. It has an underground swimming pool, a rock wall for climbing, a bowling centre, a gymnasium and grass courts for tennis.
Since its founding in 1883, the SRC has held the distinction of being a club whose principal objective has been the encouragement of sports in Singapore. In spite of its well-known history, the SRC still holds strongly to these sporting ideals today.
The Victory Cup was presented by the Singapore Amateur Football Association to commemorate the wartime victory over Japan.