Empress place was named as such by the Municipal Council in 1907 in commemoration of Queen Victoria and it may well be the oldest pedestrian space in Singapore. The first civic buildings were planned here in Raffle's day. Maxwell house, designed by Coleman, was a 2-storey house built for a merchant, one John Argyle Maxwell, in 1827. However, it was never occupied by him and it became a courthouse and lands office. Subsequently it was converted to government offices and additions were made in 1839 and 1847.
Yet another court house was built in 1865; this is now the core of the present Government Offices. In 1873-75 the old court house was extended towards the river and this is where the Supreme Court of the Colony held its sessions from 1875 until 1939 when the present Supreme court was built. Maxwell's original house became the Assembly House in 1954 after extensive renovations and reconstruction.
The decision to build a new Town Hall was made in 1954; the building was completed in 1862. The Memorial Hall and Tower were added in 1905 and extensive renovations were carried out from 1954 until 1979. Raffles' statue, now in front of the Victoria Memorial Hall and Theatre, as it is now called, was first erected on the Padang in 1887 but later removed to its present site in 1919. A 2nd statue, a copy of the first one, was erected at Raffles Landing Place in 1972.