The House System was introduced in 1929 by then principal T W Hinch, following the English tradition to promote a spirit of healthy rivalry and to give the boys a greater opportunity to participate in school life. The original houses were named after Bishop James Thoburn, Bishop William Oldham, Revered Goh Hood Keng, Mr Tan Kah Kee and Mr Cheong Koon Seng. In 2004, three new houses were added, named for Dr Lee Seng Gee, Dr Shaw Vee Meng and Tan Sri (Dr) Tan Chin Tuan.
Named for the founder of ACS, Bishop William Fitzjames Oldham.
Bishop William Oldham was the son of a British army officer in India. He joined the Methodist church in Poona, India in 1873, becoming a lay leader and licensed lay preacher. He was encouraged to enter the Methodist ministry by Rev James Thoburn, and was sent to start the Methodist Mission in Singapore in 1885. In addition to establishing the first Methodist church in Singapore, he recognised the importance of education and founded the Anglo-Chinese School on 1 March 1886. He was lauded as a ‘born educationalist’ by the Governor of Singapore, Sir Cecil Clementi Smith. He was elected Missionary Bishop of Southern Asia in 1904.
Named for Bishop James Mills Thoburn.
Bishop James Thoburn was born in Ohio, in the United States in 1836. After graduating from Allegheny College, he went to India as a Methodist missionary in 1859, eventually setting up one of the largest churches there. He mentored Rev William Oldham and tasked him with setting up a mission in Singapore. It is through his guidance that the Methodist Church and ACS were established. He was elected Missionary Bishop of India and Malaysia in 1888.
Goh Hood Keng House
Named for Rev Goh Hood Keng.
Rev Goh was a student of ACS from 1892-1906. He returned to teach at ACS after graduation, where he taught for 20 years. He was the first Straits-born Chinese to enter ministry of the Methodist Church in Singapore. He was pastor-in-charge of the Straits Chinese Methodist Church, subsequently named Kampong Kapor Methodist Church.
Tan Kah Kee House
Named for Mr Tan Kah Kee.
Mr Tan was a prominent philanthropist and patron of education. He was a member of the Anglo-Chinese College Council, formed by Rev James Stewart Nagle to set up a planned Anglo-Chinese College, and pledged substantial financial support to the project. While the project did not come to fruition, Mr Tan contributed a portion of the pledged amount to the completion of the Anglo-Chinese School building project at Cairnhill Road in 1928.
Cheong Koon Seng House
Named for Mr Cheong Koon Seng.
Cheong Koon Seng studied at ACS from 1891-1896. He became the longest-serving President of the ACS Old Boys’ Association (ACSOBA), serving from 1925-1931. He helped the Methodist Mission to acquire the property at Barker Road from Mrs Lee Choon Guan, which now houses the campus of ACS (Primary) and ACS (Barker Road).
Lee Seng Gee House
Named for Dr Lee Seng Gee.
Dr Lee came from a family with deep philanthropic interests. His father, Mr Lee Kong Chian, was a prominent businessman and philanthropist, while his maternal grandfather was Mr Tan Kah Kee. Dr Lee studied at ACS in the 1920s to 1930s. As Chairman of the Lee Foundation, he oversaw many charitable bequests to worthy causes, including the ACS Family of Schools. Dr Lee achieved many awards in his lifetime for his entrepreneurial skills and his devotion to charity.
Shaw Vee Meng House
Named for Dr Shaw Vee Meng.
Dr Shaw studied at ACS, graduating in 1951. He is the Chairman of the Shaw Foundation, established by his father, Sir Run Run Shaw, and his uncle, Tan Sri Runme Shaw. In 1970, the Shaw Foundation financed the new Olympic-sized pool, Shaw Pool, at the ACS at Barker Road, making it the first school in Singapore to own such a sporting facility. In later years, the Shaw Foundation also funded the building of one block of classrooms, named Shaw Block in the old Barker Road Campus and the Shaw Library at ACS (Independent). The Shaw Foundation continues to contribute generously to the ACS Family of Schools.
Tan Chin Tuan House
Named for Tan Sri (Dr) Tan Chin Tuan
Tan Sr (Dr) Tan Chin Tuan completed his education at ACS in 1925. He continued to play an active role in the ACSian family, serving as President of the ACSOBA from 1938 to 1941, and played an important role in the construction of the campus at Barker Road in the 1950s. As founder of the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation, he spearheaded many philanthropic efforts. He was greatly admired for his impeccable public service and sense of duty. Today, his generosity to his alma mater, Anglo-Chinese School, is commemorated in the gift of the Tan Chin Tuan Hall, the Tan Cheng Siong Theatre in memory of his father at Barker Road, the Tan Chin Tuan Auditoriums at ACS (Independent) and at Anglo-Chinese Junior College, and the numerous scholarships awarded to outstanding students at both ACS (Independent) and Anglo-Chinese Junior College and named after ACS pioneers.