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Our Heritage

School history

School Clock Tower

Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) is one of the six units of the ACS Family of Schools. The Anglo-Chinese School has 125 years of history, which began with the vision and passion of one man, Bishop William Fitzjames Oldham. At the time, little was offered by way of education in the city-port and he wanted to provide an education for the many boys he saw wandering aimlessly in the streets. On 1 st March 1886, he founded Anglo-Chinese School in a shophouse in Amoy Street with 13 students.

ACS (Barker Road) was established on 1 st January 1994 as a full government-aided school catering to both Primary and Secondary students. The purpose of establishing a full school in the ACS Family was to cater to the feeder pupils from 2 primary schools, who could not gain admission to ACS (Independent) but wished to continue with an ACS secondary education. Today, ACS (Barker Road)'s role in the Family of Schools has not changed.
 As the school grew, plans to redevelop the campus were made and in 1999, the school split into two schools – ACS (Primary) and ACS (Barker Road). Both schools were relocated to separate holding schools while Barker Road Campus was being redeveloped. In January 2003, ACS (Primary) and ACS (Barker Road) moved back to the Barker Road Campus. ACS (Barker Road) today offers an education that holds true to Bishop Oldham's vision of a philosophy of education that stresses Academic Achievement, Strength of Character and Christian Service.


Education at ACS (Barker Road) centres on the belief that God is our Strength and Provider, and that by His Grace, pupils come to us for a purpose - to have their lives touched and changed. We recognise and accept that each pupil is unique and that individual abilities differ widely. An ACS education has always stood for the total development of a child. Anchoring it is the strong belief that in addition to the mind and body, there is also a need to enrich the soul. This touches the heart and gives character to the being. It is our mission to Touch Hearts by creating memories and giving meaning to all the things that our pupils do, we Empower Minds by sharpening their intellect and broadening their perspectives and we Enrich Souls by helping them grow in Faith and serving others.

Motto & Crest

School Motto/ Crest


The best is yet to be - a motto that unites all ACSians, in the certainty that challenges of the future will be overcome, that tradition and present effort will allow for the creation of a better future.


Shield Shape
The ACS Crest is shaped as a shield to uphold knightly values such as chivalry, honour, valour, loyalty and manliness. The letters ‘ACS’, besides being the initials of the school’s name, also spell Academic Achievements, Christian Character and Sportsmanship and Service beyond self. The crest was designed in 1930 by the late Dr Yap Pheng Geck who was then a member of the staff.


The upper part of the crest shows a creature with a lion head, eagle wings and a dragon body with claws, representing the fact that the School was founded when Singapore was a British colony, by the American Methodist Mission and during the Manchu dynasty in China.


The lower part of the ACS Crest comprises a panel of blue and another of gold, representing the heavens and the earth, superimposed on which are the letters ACS in red, signifying life bridging earth and heaven.

School Anthem

School Anthem

In days of yore from western shores
Oldham dauntless hero came
and planted a Beacon of Truth and Light
in this island of the Main.

Here may it stand from year to year
emblem of grand endeavour
The regions round echo the sound
of A.C.S. forever.

Sing A.C.S. forever more,
our A.C.S. forever.
God save our land and heaven bless
our A.C.S. forever.

Our students hail from China's plains
and the Land of Rising Sun.
We have many sons from India's strand
and the islands of the Main.

Our hearts our hopes our aims are one.
No discord e'er will sever.
We'll stand together for the cause
of A.C.S. forever.

(Chorus again)
Sing A.C.S. forever more,
our A.C.S. forever.
God save our land and heaven bless
our A.C.S. forever.

History of Houses

The ACS Houses were named after distinguished people who had contributed significantly to ACS. All the ACS Schools have the same House system.


Thoburn House was named after Bishop Dr James Thoburn. He was responsible for initiating and accompanying the pioneer mission to Singapore. He (and Bishop Oldham) were responsible in the setting up of the Methodist Church as a Mission in Singapore in 1885. Bishop Dr Thoburn’s vision (and Bishop Oldham) made possible the birth of ACS. Had it not been for him, there might not have been an ACS. It was his personal initiative as an important leader in the Methodist Conference in India that resulted in the planting of the first Methodist Church in Singapore in 1885.


Oldham House was named after Bishop William F Oldham who founded ACS in 1886. His first tour of duty in Singapore lasted about five years and the Methodist Mission was well and truly established when he left Singapore. Poor health forced him to return to America. In 1926, he and his wife visited Singapore and participated in the 40th anniversary of the School, and again in 1935 at the Golden Jubilee of the Methodist Mission.


Mr Cheong Koon Seng was for many years the President of ACSOBA. One of the earliest ACSians he joined ACS in 1891. In the 1934 ACS Magazine, Mr Cheong was memorialized as “a genial friend, a sound businessman and a loyal old boy of the school to which he had rendered valuable and ungrudging help.”
Working very closely with the Methodist Mission, he helped to acquire the land at Barker Road where the ACS (Barker Road) complex now stands.


Mr Tan Kah Kee was a folk hero, not only in Singapore but also in the Asean region and in China. A visionary, he was a pioneer industrialist, philanthropist, social reformer and, above all, as a patriarch. Mr Tan was keenly interested in education and had given large donations to the Anglo-Chinese School and the then proposed Anglo-Chinese College.


Rev Goh Hood Keng was one of the most remarkable ACSians. He taught for about 20 years in ACS and distinguished himself as one of the most esteemed teachers of the school. He was the first Singaporean ordained Methodist Minister. As a minister of the Methodist Church, he pastured the Straits Chinese Methodist Church ( Kampong Kapor Methodist Church) for nearly 40 years until he retired in 1952. As a preacher, Bishop Doraisamy considered him a “legend before his time”. Combining his gift of teaching with that of preaching was perhaps why the School named one of the Houses after him.


Dr Lee Seng Gee has been the Chairman of the Lee Foundation since 1967. Dr Lee is the eldest son of Tan Sri Dr Lee Kong Chian and is an ACSian. He is also the Chairman of Lee Rubber Pte Ltd and the Lee Group of Companies.

The Lee Foundation was set up by Dr Lee’s father. Popularly known as the “Rubber King”, philanthropist, businessman and civic leader Lee Kong Chian benefited from attending schools made possible by the generosity of first generation community leaders. He made it his legacy to continue this tradition of contributing to the society from which one benefited.
During his lifetime, Tan Sri Lee’s benevolence to ACS was marked by two major donations – the Lee Kuo Chuan Auditorium of ACS (Barker Road) in memory of his father in 1950 and later on, the building at the Lee Kong Chian block of ACS (Barker Road) which housed the Post School certificate classes as well as modern science laboratories. 

The establishment of the Lee Foundation in 1952, served as a platform for further philanthropic work, where he assisted a wide spectrum of the community, in particular, toward the advancement of education, medical assistance and social welfare. The Lee Foundation continues to donate generously to the ACS family of schools.


Dr Shaw Vee Meng is the Chairman of the Shaw Foundation. He is the elder son of Sir Run Run Shaw and is an ACSian. He is also the Chairman of The Shaw Organisation Pte Ltd. The Shaw Foundation was set up by Tan Sri Dr Runme Shaw and Sir Run Run Shaw in 1957.

One of Asia’s most respected philanthropists, the Shaw brothers were prominent businessmen, who made their fortune from film production and distribution. Their overriding principle was wealth gained through society should be returned and in generous measures. The Shaw Foundation is one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the world, distributing generously to various fields of education, welfare, medicine and heritage.

In 1970, Shaw Foundation financed a 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).

To this day, the Shaw Foundation continues to make generous donations to the ACS family of Schools, in support of educational pursuits, the arts and the building of a brand-new Olympic-sized pool at the new ACS (Barker Road) Campus.


Tan Sri Tan Chin Tuan set up the Tan Foundation in 1976. Between the mid-1950s and mid-1970s Tan Sri Tan was appointed Chairman of OCBC Bank and eight other blue chip Singapore companies. Tan Sri is an ACSian.

A magnanimous philanthropist, an astute businessman and a distinguished civic leader with an impeccable record of public service to Singapore, Tan Sri Tan lived by the highest standards of personal conduct. Well-known for his integrity and compassion, he has been the benefactor, in many cases anonymously, of a host of charitable and educational institutions.

In 1950, he played a significant role in the Building Committee and gave generously to the construction of the original Barker Road Campus. 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 ACS (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.

Through his deeds, Tan Sri Tan Chin Tuan represents the values of kindness, diligence and dedication and has become a powerful symbol of the spirit of Singapore’s early pioneers.