Beaulieu House is located at 117 Beaulieu Road, within the grounds of what is now Sembawang Park. Built in a neo-classical style, the entrance of the building is flanked by wings on either side and topped with a sloping mansard roof. The patio is enclosed in intricate Victorian-style cast iron work. The interior features high ceilings, patterned floor tiles, and ornate plaster wall-finishing. In front of the building stands a jetty and a small stretch of beach. On 8 April 2005, Beaulieu House was granted conservation status by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Today, it is occupied by a restaurant.
The house was located at the end of what was previously known as Seletar Road but is now Sembawang Road, at a favourable site overlooking the Straits of Johore. Believed to date back to the 1910s, the house was was a holiday bungalow originally owned by prominent businessman J. B. David, before the building and the surrounding land were acquired by the colonial government in 1924 for the development of the Sembawang Naval Base. David was paid $105,000 for approximately 1,730 acres of land in the area, including the house.
The building was first referred to as Beaulieu House during the construction of the naval base, when it became the residence of Superintending Civil Engineer C. H. Cole and his family. During this period, the Coles hosted meetings of the Singapore Art Club and religious services at Beaulieu House. The naval base was completed in 1938. The house subsequently became the residence of the most senior British naval officer in Singapore, Vice-Admiral Geoffrey Layton, from 1940 to 1942.
Above: Vice-admiral sir Geoffrey Layton at his desk conferring with his secretary (1942). Photo courtesy of National Archives of Singapore / Imperial War Museum.
After the Japanese Occupation from 1942 to 1945, the house was occupied by senior fleet officers, including Rear-Admiral Francis Brian P. Brayne-Nicholls, Chief of Staff of the Eastern Fleet, Far East Station (1963-1965), who sometimes received salutes from passing ships from the jetty in front of the house.
In January 1968, the British government announced its intention to withdraw its military forces from the Far East and to close the naval base by the end of 1971. In a ceremony held on 9 December 1968, British Minister for Defence (Administration) G. W. Reynolds officially handed over the naval base to Singapore Foreign Minister S. Rajaratnam. Responsibility for the various facilities within the naval base was then handed over to several government agencies for further development.
Above: Singapore took formal possession of the British naval dockyard to Singapore- 45 years after the base was built as the headquarters for Britainin the far east. Minister for foreign affairs and minister for labour S Rajaratnam (right) and British minister of defence for administration G. W. Reynolds at the official unveiling of plaque by the British minister bearing an inscription of the formal transfer. Photos courtesy of National Archives of Singapore / SPH.