The residence was built in 1926 for Mr Tan Kah Kee, one of the best-known Overseas Chinese in the world. He was known for his huge rubber enterprises, his philanthropy and promotion of education, and his industrial and relief activities.
However, in 1929, in order to obtain funds for the Xiamen (Amoy) University which he had founded back in his home province, Tan Kah Kee had to sell his house when the whole economy was in crisis and the price of rubber plunged. In 1939, the house was purchased by the late Tan Sri Tan Chin Tuan, a prominent banker and philanthropist (Chairman of OCBC since 1973 and other major local companies like Fraser & Neave Ltd and Great Eastern Life Assurance Co. Ltd), and was used as a private residence by the Tan family for decades.
To find out more about the building, visit URA's My Conservation Portal.