The 20th blue plaque was installed to commemorate the High Court of
Yangon Region as the landmark building on November 24 with the cooperation of Yangon City Development Committee, Yangon Heritage Trust and Royal Phillips Cooperation.
The High Court building is another outstanding example of a grand old building of Empire. Large and composing, the Queen Ann style building is an archetypal colonial administrative building located on Pansodan Street with an entrance on Mahabandoola Garden Street.
The construction of the High Court started in 1905 and completed in 1911 at a cost of twentyfour and a half lakhs of rupees. It was designed by James Ransome (1865-1944), a Consulting Architect to the Government of India and constructed by the Indian-owned construction firm Bagchi & Co, who was also involved in another important contract to construct Yangon General Hospital. The building was designed to symbolize the regal might of the British Empire and includes distinctive features such as crouching lion statues and a massive clock tower with a bell that chimed every hour.
The former High Court building was also one of the very first buildings to use electricity, which had just been introduced to Yangon. Due to the swampy soil, the clock tower was a risky endeavour and required extensive foundations made of thitya (local hardwood), which is especially durable in damp conditions.
The building was in constant use as the highest court in Myanmar and witnessed several
landmark cases. Since the Supreme Court was re-established in the new capital of Naypyitaw in 2006, the building has housed the High Court of the Yangon Region.
Dr. Thant Myint-U, Founder and Chairman of Yangon Heritage Trust, said that “The Blue
Plaques programme is meant not only to mark specific buildings as important, but to help the people of Yangon recover, remember, protect and celebrate their history.”
“The legal decisions take at the High Court have shaped this country for over a hundred
years. But how many people who see the building every day on their way to work know this
history? Part of our aim is helping people realize the deep history that’s all around.”