British sovereignty in Singapore began with Sir Stamford Raffles' arrival in 1819 and remained so till mid-1960s except for a brief period during World War II. (From 1941 to 1945, Singapore was occupied by the Imperial Japanese Army).
In September 1945, the British returned and faced an awakened populace clamouring to have a say in government. Between 1946 and 1953, various experimentation of Government with local participation took place. In 1953, a British Government sponsored Commission under Sir George Rendel reviewed Singapore's constitutional position and recommended a Legislative Assembly with an elected majority and a ministerial form of government.
The Rendel proposals were accepted by the British Government and served as the basis of a new Constitution that gave Singapore a greater measure of self-government. The proposed Legislative Council was modelled after the British Westminster system. The local leaders, most of whom were educated in British universities, felt comfortable with the proposed system and accepted it. The Legislative Council came into being on 22nd April 1955.
At the run-up to the formation of the Legislative Council, the Governor of Singapore, Sir John Nicoll set up a Committee comprising Legislative Councillors, Mr N A Mallal, Mr John Laycock, Mrs Elizabeth Choy and himself to look into the provision of a mace for the future Legislative Council.
The committee decided that the design of the future Mace should incorporate Singapore's history, national symbol and strategic importance as a seaport and airport. When Sir John Nicoll visited London in early 1954, he contacted a Mr Leslie Durbin, a silversmith and discussed the making of the mace. Mr Durbin made a sketch of the proposed mace incorporating the design decided by the committee. The most outstanding feature of the proposed mace was the head which had a figure of a lion. Mr Durbin proposed that he would make the shaft and a reputed sculptor be engaged to craft the lion figure for mace head. He recommended a renowned sculptor who agreed to a sum of 1000 guineas1 for the job.
In the meantime the Rendel Commission Report was published on 22nd February 1954 and on 15th June 1954, Sir John, as the Governor of Singapore, addressed the Legislative Council and said that the successors in the future Legislative Assembly would have a Speaker and a Mace.
On 20th July 1954 , Sir John said in his address before the Legislative Council:
1 - About $9,215 Singapore dollars then