The Punggol Matilda House has been standing alone in the wilderness of old Punggol for more than a hundred years. It was built in 1902 by Irish lawyer Joseph William Cashin (1844-1907) for his wife. The wealthy Cashin family regarded the Matilda House, also known as Istana Menanti (“Waiting Palace” in Malay) or the Punggol Kampong House, as a weekend resort.
There were disputes, however, over the first owner of the house. According to the third generation of the Cashin family, Howard Edmund Cashin (1920-2009), the house was built by his father Alexander William Cashin (1876-1947) instead of his grandfather.
During the fifties, the Cashin family started to regularly live in the Matilda house until the seventies. The Cashins also had properties in other parts of Singapore, including The Pier at Lim Chu Kang (also a weekend resort), “Butterfly House” at Amber Road, some shophouses at Victoria Street and a coconut estate at Geylang.
Although the bungalow is in ruins today, it still possesses certain features of its glorious past, such as the red roofs, white walls and two large staircases. The single-storey building, with six bedrooms, occupies 417 square feet.
There is also a dilapidated stable beside the main building. The nearby orchard, once filled with many types of fruit trees, no longer exists.
A tennis court, supposed to be just outside the house, cannot be found anymore.
Today, the building is now surrounded by barbed fences and installed with a CCTV. No one is allowed to enter the perimeter for exploration.
With its unique tropical architectural design, the Matilda House has been a favourite haunt for photographers since the Cashin family moved out many decades ago.
In the early seventies, the Singapore government acquired the nearby land.
In 2000, the house was put on the conservation list by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
Today, the Punggol Light Rail Transit (LRT) loops around the house, and several new blocks of Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats have already popped up nearby. In the near future, the once isolated and quiet Punggol will be buzzing with life again.
In December 2010, property developer Sim Lian Group made a bid of $363 million to acquire the surrounding lands off Punggol Field and Punggol Walk. If their bid is successful, the acquired parcel of land will be used to develop high-rise condominiums, and the century-old Matilda House will be converted into a clubhouse.
Published: 09 December 2010
Updated: 25 August 2016
If there were CCTVs how did you get in? I would love to know so that I can too.
hi, the house is currently surrounded by fences.. as long as one doesn’t attempt to climb over the fences, it’s not considered as transpassing..
taking pics from the outside is alright…
anyway if you wanna explore the house, need to make it fast… they are already building new blocks of flats around the house and i believe the house itself will be developed by end of this year
I visited the Mathilda House in the early 80’s when my uncle still owned it. It’s so sad to see how abandoned it looks. Hopefully some person has a good heart to restore this once so beautiful house!
can you share pics, if any, of the interior of the house?
Who’s asking this please?
Hi Amanda, May I ask how you are connected? I’m Carmen’s granddaugther so a Grand Niece of Uncle Howard’s. It would be great to connect with family.
Sorry, just saw your question, don’t know what went wrong. I’m the great granddaughter of Alexander Cashin. I believe he and your great grandfather were brothers. Should ask my mother to know exact relationship. If you would like to come in contact, we’re visiting S’pore this August. Just let me know! I know my mum has a familytree, I can ask her to bring it with her. I meet your Uncle, Aunt and their mother in 84. Your Aunt her name is Dagmar if I still remember this correctly. I was only 12 when I last visit S’pore. If you still would like to get in touch, let me know!
Hi Amanda, I was exploring my family tree when I saw that you are related to Alexander William Cashin and his father Joseph William Cashin. I am related to Joseph his brother, Nelson William Cashin. To find out more about our family tree I would like to come in contact with you by email (email@example.com). Hopefully you read this.
Hi people, I have done an article of another house that used to belong to your Cashin family. It is called The Pier, located at Lim Chu Kang. 😉
That’s is the wonder of internet and blogs. That’s another reunion i saw through the power of networks. I’m glad I’m in this line.
Dear Amanda, Katie and Leroy. I am writing an article on the impact of Irish lawyers in Singapore’s history and am trying to find information about Joseph William Cashin, Alexander William Cashin and Howard Edmund Cashin. It would be great if you could share the family tree you mentioned with me. I’m also particularly interested in finding out birthplaces, places where they were educated, and jurisdictions where they were called to practice (particularly for Joseph and Alexander – I have been able to find most of the information on Howard myself) and how far back you need to go to put the Cashin family in Ireland. If you can provide any of this information I’d be most grateful if you could drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Amanda , Leroy, Katie,
My late mum madam Noor works as a housekeeper for a period of almost 20 yrs for the late Mrs Dagmar Marr, elder sister to Joseph Cashin… From the early 7o’s to early 90s… In between my mum also worked for Mrs Dagmar Marr daughter, Prescilla King… Prescilla had 3 wonderful daughters ‘Geneve’ ‘Tracy Ann’ & Daniel… Hope I spelt out their names correctly…. Btw I do remember Carmen Butch and I guess somehow related to Prescilla King… I was so young back then so not pretty sure how they are all related… I was born and grew up in a huge bungalow at 12 Second Avenue Bukit Timah, Singapore…. And during the weekends I would tag along with the whole family to the famous Mathilda House at Punggol…. I have loads of pictures belonging to late Mrs Dagmar and had always wanted to return to the rightful family as its redundant to me now since my mum pass on… and also expands out the family tree link of the Cashins family….
I will be a neighbour of the Matilda house next year. Would you be able to share the pictures?
This will be very appreciated. Thank you.
My late grandfather’s name is Nelson Robert Cashin, he passed away when my late father was only 4 years old. So we never got a chance to get to know the family from my paternal side. After my father’s passing, I always hope that I could meet my missing paternal’s family. My family is staying here in Singapore. The only clue I have is a photograph of my grandfather’s and his old British passport. I hope you see this and would care to reach out.
Just read your comment. In a way we must be far family. There’s still a part living in Singapore but a few left overseas. So did my nan. She emigrated to Europe. I try to find contact with as much family as possible. Glad you responded. If you read the the comments we found out a bit mote. Even a familymember of a staff member sent us some pics, one with my mum on.
If you want more you can always email me.
I’m happy to hear from you ! Yes I would love to know more. May I have your email? Just incase,
I’ll leave my email here : email@example.com
I have very fond memories of spending weekends at Matilda House with Charles and Mary Cashin. I have many pictures of us playing in the early 60’s with our parents relaxing in the grounds. Howard Cashin would make his famous “ponggol stew” on the Barbeque every time we went. I still have a carving given to my parents by Howard Cashin. We would walk out in to the sea, trying to avoid treading on the sticklebacks which were lethal if you trod on one. Mr Cashin would take us out to the rubber plantation to watch the sap run down the tree trunks. Happy days. I do hope that the wonderful old house is preserved to its former glory! Nicola Allen (nee Fenn).
hi Nicola, those are very valuable memories of yours…
but sadly, the house will not be the same anymore (if it is turned into a clubhouse).. but at least it will not be demolished
It will be awesome if there is a way you can post the pictures online from when you were playing as children! Thanks a million!
P.S. I will be moving in to a block next to the Matilda house next year 🙂
I wonder what would it be like staying in The Matilda House????
My teacher in primary school has explored The Matilda House once.She told us the story.It was kinda scary.She said there were screeching when they opened the door so they rushed out.Her husband was so scared that he could not drive fast.Her sons were so scared that they staid in the car.It was actually at night not afternoon or morning.Scary right
My dad. He died on 2011. His name was Cashin Joshua Erwin. His dad is Nelson Robert Cashin. I was exploring my family tree when I saw that some of you here are related to the Cashin’s family. I would love to find out more about my family tree. If you would like to come in contact with me by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Hopefully you read this.
Hi there – i am the daughter of Charles and Mary Cashin.
is the house still there?
There’s a fence around it now? Which means no one can get a good shot of the house sans-fence anymore. 😦
I will be the one converting this bungalow into the new club house for the developer. The wooden flooring and the ceiling, almost 60% of the wood can still be reuse. No worry, I will make sure it will go back to its glory thru my magic hands. Regards.
it is rumored that a number of contractors estamated 4 died when they are going to destroy the house cus’ the sprits dont want it to be destroyed
Wow, kudos for making the efforts to restore the grand dame to her former glory. It is a piece of Singapore’s history that should be preserved for posterity, no matter how insignificant it appears. If the clubhouse will be opened to public, I will be the first one to visit!
Wow so many people like related to Matilda House! .__.
wait n see weather it can be renuvated or not………………….come on people it’s hunted.
yes…it’s really haunted! whoever approached that place to do anything will be sick or meet a ghastly accident
I once saw a beutiful phot of Maltilda House in a coffee-table book, “Singapore frm the Air”. It was then situasted in a large green field surrounded by coconut tree all along its perimeter, and what a sight it presented!
i remember Matilda House quite well. in the 1960s and 1970s, the Spore Army conducted lots of military exercises in Lim chu kang and Choa chu kang. we used to pass by Matilda House and were impressed by the size of the estate. but we kept our distance from the house as the numerous German Shepherds on guard duty never stopped barking and flashing their teeth.
i hope the building will be restored nicely………to be appreciated and enjoyed by a younger generation.
Matilda House is in Punggol not in LCK or CCK,
Why were there lots of Rumours saying that this house has mystery spirits in it… therefore it cannot be demolished…? so what is the mystery part of the Matilda house and the ‘mystery spirit’….. 🙂
I struggled over Villa Matilda trying to persuade “The Authorities” not to pull it down, not to neglect it so it fell over, and to leave an acre of their awful Grid Pattern Town Plan and there plant our agricultural and economic trees, the Gambier, Rubber, Coconut, Oil Palm, then add some garden and kitchen things like Curry Trees. Fruit trees too and bananas. Add a few chickens and ducks, pigs and two buffaloes and a cow to be milked to show our children where their food comes from. But on last view the pile-drivers were as close as could be to the front porch. “They” have no taste. No consideration for history..
If indeed there was ever a “mystery spirit” it was probably Gordon’s Gin.
Of a Sunday the long Cashin motor launch (a former Motor Torpedo Boat) would set off from their landing stage and two elderly Aunts would sit on the poop in their wicker chairs and sip their Gin.
More likely the “Spirit” was an invention just to keep strangers away and also maybe an excuse for knocking it down.
a construction company was sent to tear down the house…but the unfortunate guy was crush by his machine instead! so tell me about spooky
I have a very great view of Mathilda house from my living room. People who look out from my living room’s window have been asking why is there a rundown development in the middle of a construction site.
I do not know that this is the Mathilda house (the famous punggol haunted house) even after i moved in for few months 🙂
How nice to see another piece of the family. We’ve visited SIN last August and been to the Butterfly House another property of the family. A shame that they had to bring it down for a large part. Only the front has been used for building the new building. Don’t think in Europe they would destroy such beautiful houses.
Hi Amanda, the Matilda house will be restored over the next few years and I will be a proud neighbour of her in a year’s time (they are currently building my block right next to the Matilda house). I am fascinated how this blog entry has brought the cashin family together and I am also wondering if you have pictures from the times you were playing as children there. Well, the pictures will be the most amazing thing I can ever show my kids of the place they will be growing up in:)
is there any way if i would like to visit the house?? in other words…to go inside the house n have a clear look?? it must have a great memories of the “matilda House”
Matilda House is bought over by a real estate developer and will be part of a condominium” a treasure trove” . We visited the showflat next to the house, and when i opened an exit door i came face to face with the house. It was quite frightening though, cos i’d mistaken a pillar for a face when i took a photo.
Ok i am truly afraid of the house. We live in the east of punggol since 2002, and whenever we take the LRT we can spot the house. And everyone then knows about the Matilda house is haunted. My classmate went there with some friends and suddenly their shoes just broke into half. And someone dropped a badge onto the soil and it cannot be found anymore.
Shoes broke into half?? Similar incident happened to me too. it was my slipper and the rubber sole came off… was a few metres away from the house. Probably wear and tear.
that was 5years back.
people don’t believe this house is spooky.. they should try it themself.
go to the house and try digging up the ground
Hi Amanda, Katie and Leroy, By chance I was looking up Matilda House because I’m writing a book about my mother who was virtually brought up with Joe, Howard and Dagmar after her mother died. Their mother (whom my mother called “Mummy Cashin” and I called “Granny Cashin”) was extremely kind to her. As I always knew her as “Granny”, I can’t remember her first name……Sarah? Mary? if any of you could let me know, I’d be most grateful. I used to go to Punggol nearly every weekend with my parents and we would go out on Joe’s boat round the islands. Wonderful memories! And yes, the house was really very beautiful as was the whole estate.
Barbara Bourke – Sarah Cashin was my great-aunt. The information I have is that she was married to Alexander. She left Singapore during WW 2 to live in London – not sure when she returned – that’s what I have been told anyway. I think Joe, Howard and Dagmar are some sort of cousins – maybe 2nd cousins once removed – would be interested in contacting them. I believe Howard may have passed away a few years ago…Currently I live in CA. Originally from the east coast.
I’ve sent you a private message.
My late mum madam Noor works as a housekeeper for a period of almost 20 yrs for the late Mrs Dagmar Marr, elder sister to Joseph Cashin… From the early 7o’s to early 90s… In between my mum also worked for Mrs Dagmar Marr daughter, Prescilla King… Prescilla had 3 wonderful daughters ‘Geneve’ ‘Tracy Ann’ & Daniel… Hope I spelt out their names correctly…. Btw I do remember Carmen Butch and I guess somehow related to Prescilla King… I was so young back then so not pretty sure how they are all related… I was born and grew up in a huge bungalow at 12 Second Avenue Bukit Timah, Singapore…. And during the weekends I would tag along with the whole family to the famous Mathilda House at Punggol…. I have loads of pictures belonging to late Mrs Dagmar and had always wanted to share to the rightful family as its redundant to me now since my mum pass on… and also expands out the family tree link of the Cashins family…. Email me at email@example.com
I’m currently writing a book here in the UK about the British prisoner-of-war drama TV series Tenko which was part-filmed in Singapore in 1981, 1984 and 1985. Matilda House was the primary location, other than Raffles, for the final Tenko special entitled Reunion, filmed there iin mid September 1985 and first broadcast in the UK on 26 December 1985 (and available on DVD). In the special, which is set in 1950, one of the former prisoners lives at the house with her husband. It is attacked by Communist bandits when her her fellow former prisoners come to visit. You can see the house (inside and out) and gardens as they were, very extensively in this programme so its quite a shock to see it in such a state of disrepair. You can watch it on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v87vIN3t5_I Matilda House features from 1 hour and 1 minute into to the programme.
The house was later used for another TV drama called Tanamera in 1989 for another bandit attack sequence. Singaporean actor Lim Kay Tong appeared in both Tenko Reunion and Tanamera.
I have several photographs of the Tenko filming at Matilda House which I’d be happy to share. Can I have permission to use one your photos in my book?
The book is due out in October and is entitled Remembering Tenko and has several chapters on the locations used. It will be available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk as well as on Kindle.
Sure, you can take the photos 🙂
I am a research writer from MediaCorp TV Singapore. I am looking for some information and old photos of Maltida House for one of the tv programme. I am wondering whether I can get some old photos from you?
My email is : firstname.lastname@example.org
i think all citizen here would like to discover the story of this haunted place. if you are from MediaCorp, it’d be easier for you to do a documentary. try digging the ground or putting a nail on the wall etc etc.
I have quite a few photos of the filming there if you’d like to see them and perhaps post one on this page. In return I’d like permission to reproduce one of your photos in my book.
The book is entitled Remembering Tenko and is published by Classic TV Press (http://www.classictvpress.co.uk/) in October and has several chapters on the filming at various locations aroung Singapore, many of which are now gone (It will be available to buy direct from Classic TV Press or from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and on Kindle_.
By the way, the house was used again in TV for another bandit attack in thedrama Tanamera in 1989, so I think it hasn’t been empty for as long as you imagine.
Apologies for the double comments. I thought I’d lost all the text.
Hello there. Sorry for my slow reply. I am not sure where you read that I have photographs of the Cashins’ house…..perhaps in a post to girls who had written that they were related to Joe and Howard Cashin. I DO have a couple of photographs….but I have thousands of photographs at my age and I haven’t a clue where they are. In any case, the subject would, I’m sure, have been reproduced a dozen times: I remember I have a photograph taken up towards the house from the sea, showing the walk and the steps down to the sea and the flower beds on each side of the path…..of cannas, as I remember. There were also bougainvillea flowering. It was a bit of a clash, as I remember…..red/orange/yellow cannas and fuchsia pink bougainvillea…..but it still looked wonderful.
If you would care to write to me personally, I may be able to help with a few more details …… my mother lived with the Cashins for a few years and I always called Joe and Howard’s mother ‘Granny’ because she took that place in my life….she was a wonderful woman.
I wish you well with the book.
I am the research writer from MediaCorp TV Singapore and I am looking for old photos of the Maltida House in our programme called United Neighbours Society. I am wondering whether I can get some of the old photos of the house from you?
My email is : email@example.com
I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Thank you very much.
So interesting reading all the comments about Singapore! My brother is married to a direct family member of the Cashin Clan
thks for the post, all these makes very interesting reading about Singapore in the early days.
Maltilda house is going to be developed into a condo clubhouse. =(
Matilda House during its glory days (Photos from The Straits Times)
This is awesome – I can’t believe that this house was build in Singapore – beautiful!
Thanks for uploading the 2 photos.
Please upload more if you have. Never know that Singapore have such beautiful places with rich history. Blessings.
WoW! The above photo is mesmerizing! It shows how the house used to look like in massive grounds with plantations and trees even! Amazing! I wonder where the sea is though?! nice work, thanks!
Wow. What a place! Sad sad to see it goes.
Yeah! We should do somthing.
That is exactly as I remember the place. I will try and get some pictures that my sister has. They will be mostly pictures of us with Charles and Mary Cashin in the grounds but we may have some other pictures.
Punggol so cool..
is this house still have it
Hi, im doing a school project. Can anyone who have any personal account, memories or old picture of the matilda house email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org? A million thanks
If it’s not haunted, then why it didnt knockdown the building earlier? sorry, im just curious.
My name is Jaye (Janet) Restivo (nee Zanphir.) Great Auntie Sarah and Great Uncle Alexander Cashin are in my family tree. I would love to connect with more kin from that side (my father’s) of the family. I currently live in LA. Right now I am in Denver, Colorado for vacation. my email is: email@example.com
Barbara Bourke: we are probably some sort of cousins!!
this house is haunted…otherwise you think Singapore govt will leave it be ?
it’ll be torn down for development just like the surrounding area.
The house was not haunted. I played there as a child and had great time and memories. My parents were friends with Joe Cashin and we would always see him when we went to Pungoll to go water skiing. This would have been during the 80s.
This is really exciting for me to make more family connections!! We have cousins in Vancouver, BC as well. Send me private messages via my email which is listed in the above comment!
We are bought a unit in Treasure Trove, and it’s so exciting to learn about the deep history of Matilda house.
The Matilda House was gazetted on 21 February 2000 for conservation and that’s why it’s not tore down.
Sorry to tell you…go check with the person who gazaetted this place. this house is really haunted and cannot be torn down because whoever try to dig the ground or flatted the house will meet an untimely death! if you don’t believe just go down and dig along the fence. Perhaps you can judge for yourself.
Matilda, a grand old house in Punggol
The Straits Times
Published on Sep 01, 2013
By Rachel Tan
That was one of the most common reactions from people when asked what they thought about the name chosen for the upcoming Punggol Matilda housing estate.
While a few were aware that it was named after the iconic Matilda House, which was built in 1902 by the old Punggol seaside, many did not know the full story behind the colonial building.
The abandoned six-bedroom, red-tiled bungalow was a gift intended for the wife of Alexander Cashin, whose father was the first Eurasian millionaire in Singapore.
Its colourful history, however, seemed lost on many who spoke to The Sunday Times yesterday.
Some who claimed to know the history of the house, like insurance executive Riella Tan, however, had their own take on it and said the Housing Board should reconsider the name. “I’m aware of Matilda House but it’s famous for being haunted. It should be renamed,” she said.
Still, there are others, like student Isabelle Yeo, who welcomed the name because of its links to the past. “At least it combines the elements of the area,” she said.
Whatever the case, the name for the new south-western Punggol district – which will have 8,000 HDB units and boulevards leading to a waterfront shopping mall – and Matilda House are here to stay. In fact, the Urban Redevelopment Authority had granted the house conservation status and it will get a new lease of life in 2015 as a condominium clubhouse.
Financial adviser Mindy Wang, on the other hand, is concerned that the history of the estate may fade away once it is integrated with the new housing project.
“I do relate it to certain places growing up, but those places are either gone or have lost their original flavour,” said the 24-year-old. “I feel sad for their fate and I imagine that is how residents near Matilda (House) might feel as well.”
Old places either gone or lost flavour
“I do relate it to certain places growing up, but those places are either gone or have lost their original flavour. I feel sad for their fate and I imagine that is how residents near Matilda (House) might feel as well.”
Financial adviser MINDY WANG, who is concerned that the history of the estate may fade away once it is integrated with the new housing project.
Does the house still exist now?
It was earmarked for conservation. But in Singapore, conservation means tearing down the whole building and rebuilding a replica. So sad to say, as of time of writing, the original house was demolished and gone forever. Currently they are rebuilding a brand new fake Matilda house for use as clubhouse of a condominium.
Oh no really – how awful!
I am so glad that there is so much interest in Matilda House. The pictures of the house in its origincal state has brought back good memories. I lived in 210 N Lorong Cheng Lim off Ponggol Road (which is just beside the compound of Matilda House. As as children, we used to tresspass the Matilda house compound to go the beautify jetty that stretched all the way to the sea. There were horses grazing and hugh dogs. Thank you for the memory.
My great great great grandma was Wilhemina Cashin married James Clarke……are we related? Any chance of photos of her and James Clarke lying around? Would love a copy of the family tree. Inbox pls.tq
Hello Sarah, we might be related somehow. If yoy send me your email I’ll send you the familytree
Thanks Amanda…..firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to hear from you soon. Cheers.
Hello Amanda, Wilhemina Cashin got married before 1900 mid 1800s. Wilhemina could have been Joseph’s aunt,sister,grandma or cousin….I am not too sure.Would appreciate any photos or information on her and her husband James Clarke.
It is really heart warming to hear the beautiful memories all have of this place. Really sad to see an iconic building goes to waste and not conserved by the government where we were repeatedly reminded of knowing our roots, etc. Without any memories of history left (structure), how will our children learn? Seeing pictures cannot beat seeing the real thing and being able to explore it. Hope this post will encourage the Singapore government to take a serious look of conserving historical buildings.
I am writing a book on Bungalows
Here is a draft on the Matilda House, Any critical comments would be appreciated.
Matilda House 1902
21 Punggol Way, Punggol 1
Matilda House at Punggol was for almost a century the seaside bungalow of four generations of a remarkable Singaporean family of Irish origin. Charles Cashin was a special constable in the colony in the early 1840s. His son Joseph William Cashin (1843 – 1907) began his career as a lawyer’s clerk in 1867 and in a long career he worked for some of the best barristers of that era including A.G. Baumgarten, Alexander Gotlieb, Edwin Keok and J.P. Joachim. He also invested in property and in 1880 made his first investment in a coconut estate in Geylang. In 1887 he purchased 16ha of land at Grange Road and by 1901 had acquired another 40ha off Bukit Timah Road and 26ha at Punggol on the northern shores of Singapore island. The family owned other properties, including about 400 shop-houses all over the island. He also invested in opium farms – legal in the 1880s. These investments were the basis of the family fortune. JW has been referred to as the first Eurasian millionaire in Singapore.
Built in 1902, Matilda House a stripped-down late-classical Edwardian house with vernacular influences had six rooms, a fruit orchard with mangosteen, durian and rambutan trees, stables and a lawn tennis court. The single storey building was raised on short brick piers with an open verandah facing the sea. A pitched roof with red clay tiles topped white-washed walls. Manicured lawns, tropical blooms and clipped hedges lay to the front with neat tennis courts to the sides and a long staircase down the terraced garden to the sandy beach, which was a mere 200m away. The Cashin family also owned about 350 hectares of rubber and coconut plantations in the area.
Joseph William Cashin retired in 1897 whereupon his son Alexander W. Cashin (1876 – 1947) took over the management of the family estates, expanded the holdings at Punggol and, according to his son, completed Matilda House as a present for his wife after whom it is named. The next generation – Howard Cashin and Joseph Cashin – were both prominent Singapore lawyers and sportsmen. Howard Cashin attended school in England and graduated from Oxford University. He played for the Singapore Cricket Club rugby team and also captained its cricket team for several years. He was a controversial President of the Singapore Rugby Union (1977 – 1987) while his brother Joseph was the first Singapore-born President of the Singapore Cricket Club in 1959.
The Punggol bungalow was occupied by the family until the late 1980s or early 1990s. (I recall running with the Hash House Harriers along the seafront to the north of the house in the early evening on April 5th 1985. Howard Cashin, emerged on the verandah with a glass of wine and flanked by his huge Razorback Rhodesian Hounds, hailed us with the traditional Hash shout of, “On! On!”) The house was used as a location for the BBC television British prisoner-of-war drama Tenko from 1981 to 1985 and was used as the primary location, along with Raffles Hotel, for the final episode filmed in September 1985. The house was later used as a location for another TV drama, Tanamera, featuring the Singapore actor Lim Kay Tong in 1989.
“I had some happy days at Matilda House when I returned just before the war,” recalled Howard Cashin in a 2002 interview with the New Paper. “Then I went off again. I spent much of the war in the Indian Army, stationed at the north-east frontier. Those places they mention in Afghanistan … they are all familiar to me. Immediately after, I returned to England, was called to the Bar in London and came back to Singapore to practice as a lawyer.”
“I was also newly married then,’ he said. ‘And we set up home in Matilda House.’ Those halcyon days, when I was a ‘workaholic lawyer’, avid sportsman, young husband and father were the happiest. Our two children from that first marriage – Mary and Charles – spent their first years in the house. Later my brother, Joseph Cashin, took over the house with our mother and sister.”
Howard Cashin left Singapore in the late 1980s, settling near Cortona in Tuscany, Italy with his second wife. But when that marriage ended, he returned to Singapore, to Murphy and Dunbar, the old law firm where he had been a partner. It was dissolved in 1996 and he started his own firm along with his third wife Lily Cashin – also a lawyer, 35 years his junior with a penchant for ballroom dancing and referred to by one client as ‘Tiger Lily’. He passed away in 2009 at the age of 89.
The land at Punggol was acquired for development by the Government in the 1970s under the Land Acquisition Act. The Matilda bungalow was vacated in the late 1980s/early 1990s and fell into ruin until placed on the conservation list by the URA in February 2000. Property developer Sim Lian Group clinched the purchase of the site when it was put up for sale. The sale conditions included the requirement to retain and restore Matilda House according to conservation guidelines, and to integrate it as part of a condominium project. The 417 sq m single-storey bungalow now served by Soo Teck LRT station will house amenities such as a function room, a lounge and a gym for residents. In 2002 Howard Cashin told The New Paper: “I’m happy that the house will still be standing. But I hope it will be used well.”
LIKE! That’s very detailed info of the Matilda House.
Do let us know when your book is published 🙂
For the record,the Cashins final resting place is at the Choa Chu Kang Catholic Lawn Cemetery near the chapel / washroom at the junction of Lim Chu Kang Road. Pretty near the mosque at the opposite side of the road. The Cashin’s grave are quite easy to locate as they are almost by themselves at an open field area. Very noticeable. Think their graves were exhumed from Bidadari and brought over here. Interesting!
I can take a few pictures of the Matilda house now as it is just a close proximity from my apartment. It is going to be a clubhouse for a condominium and it’s undergoing renovation and restoration back to its original look.
I’m Savid, Senior Art Director of Publicitas Publishing. I am interested to use the Matilda House attached for Resort World Sentosa Magazine Oct 2014 issue as part of our Editorial Contents. If you are kind to release the high res photo, I can give you credit mention in the magazine.
Pls let me know if this work for you.
When Punggol Waterway was first constructed, I have been taking pictures of it’s progress from day one. I’ve heard of stories of Matilda House and I make it a point of visiting Atreasuretrove construction site almost every week to capture it’s site progress.
For those who are interested to keep up with restoration work to Matilda House ( now converted to Atresuretrove Clubhouse ) goto http://www.punggol.sg for further information and read about how the construction / restoration work was carried out in detail.
In my opinion, the architects / designers / contractors did a wanderful job by almost maintaining and keeping Matilda House in it’s original form.
Great history of Maltida’s House. I believe many people like me are impressed and also glad to know some great men who ‘helped’ built Singapore.
I lived just 10mins walk from the Jewish Cemetry opposite Tengah Airbase when I was a kid, that area til now is never forgotten, I wish my family history also as rich, and educative, I always hope someday someone will share old photos, old memories of my childhood playground.
I just want to express my gratitude towards all who have contributed in sharing, after reading these, I feel I just took a ride back my childhood….tks
I just hope when Mr. Howard Cashin visits Singapore again to see the condo clubhouse that was his former home, the Maltida House, he will not see it as a dilapidated house being in disrepair when he came in 2002 with a team of New Paper journalists but as a happy man to see it properly conserved and telling the club members its history when the condo opens for people to move in.
Had to reply to my own comment since I didn’t read this article properly to know that Mr. Howard Cashin passed away in 2009.
Went to a relative’s unit at ATT yesterday and saw the clubhouse.
i think it demolished is no longer here maybe
The Matilda House today… a condo clubhouse
(Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/Haffiz.Amin)
wow awesome thank for the picture
My name is razif . I would love to find out whether my mother is somehow connected to the family tree . My mother’s name is Fiona Josephine Cashin and my grandpas name is Dudley Joseph Cashin. My mother doesn’t have any recollection as my grandpa hardly talks bout his family. I would love to connect to learn more. Here is my email, Moejoe.email@example.com
Some recent photos of the former Matilda House grabbed from Facebook
I was in S’pore from 1957 to 1960 and much involved in SCC rugby as player and official. Joe and Howard Cashin were the leading lights and always good mates. Sorry to hear they had passed away, but they certainly left their mark. Know nothing about M House, but can imagine for them!
In 1958 I ran the SCC sevens on the Padang – before they achieved their renown internationally.
Great days and the beer went down very well with the company of the Cashins et al.
God Bless them
. BRIAN FRENCH (Now aged 85)
Is that Matilda House in the condo the original structure and location? I can understand that the interior is likely to be rebulit but foundation should be the original one.
Lastly thanks to everyone for sharing these wonderful stories. We should make this as a documentary.
I spent most of my childhood at Matilida house was a fab place to grow up. Nice to see that the house has finally been restored. Would be nice to see the inside of the house.
Are you really the Danielle King i been looking for … Tracy Ann and Geneve … Well im RAINOOR … Miss Noor and Kassim are my parents… i got lotsa photos that i feel rightfully should be return to your family which is of more importance… Reach me at my email firstname.lastname@example.org … Or whats app me +6590272601…. see ya…
My name is Michele Marr Plorde. I found your name listed in this discussion about the Matilda House. My grandfather Justus Marr was married to Dagmar Cashin, so I believe your mother, Priscilla Marr King is my aunt. My father Melvin Marr visited Singapore regularly until his untimely death in 1963. I recently inherited photos, including ones of your mother, Dagmar and Butch Marr. I would love to learn more about the family as I haven’t been able to find much about Justus Marr (i.e. when or where he died) or about Butch Marr. Feel free to connect directly at email@example.com.
Footage of the Matilda House as it used to be, can be found here. https://youtu.be/3MEr0Ef2gqk If you forward to one hour. It’s about British and Dutch internees meeting after the war (Tenko) and you can see more interior footage if you watch a bit more.
It’s also in Tanamera, an Australian drama. https://youtu.be/DtUYCTNebJ0 At 10 minutes.
There is more inside footage too. https://youtu.be/51JlFYia1fo Mostly in this episode.
“The single-storey building, with six bedrooms, occupies 417 square feet.”
There must be some error with this figure. 417 sq ft is about the size of a 2-room HDB studio apartment. Perhaps you meant 417 sq metres, which would make more sense.
The transformation of the Matilda House: