British inventor and engineer Sir James Dyson, Britain’s richest person, is the new owner of the most expensive home in Singapore. Dyson, 72, and his wife, Deirdre, bought one of the top-floor penthouses of the tallest building in Singapore’s central business district, the Wallich Residence, for S$73.8 million.
Wallich Residence building is named after 19th century Danish botanist Nathaniel Wallich, who was key in establishing Singapore’s reputation as a “Garden City”. The penthouse is nearly 300 meters above sea level and covers three levels. It has a private elevator from the basement parking lot, a swimming pool and a sky deck.
Dyson got a good deal, because he has relocated his company to Singapore and thus become a Singaporean permanent resident. Thanks to this permanent residence status the couple were exempt from the high taxes for foreigners who buy local real estate.
Nathaniel Wallich was born in Copenhagen on 28 January 1786. After graduating as a surgeon, Nathaniel Wallich sailed for India in April 1807 via the African cape and arrived at the Danish settlement at Serampore in India, then known as Frederiksnagore in Bengal, the following November.
In 1808, Denmark declared war on Britain, siding with General Napoleon of France, and shortly after the British East India Company captured Frederiksnagore. Wallich was imprisoned, but released on parole in 1809 on the merit of his scholarship.
By 1813 he had become interested in the flora of India, and undertook expeditions to Nepal, West Hindustan, and lower Burma. Wallich was also appointed to the East India Company’s Botanical Garden at Calcutta.
In 1822, at the behest of his friend Sir Stamford Raffles he travelled to Singapore to design the botanical garden in Singapore. After one year in Singapore, he returned to Calcutta where he served till 1846 when he retired.
In 1845 Denmark sold Frederiksnagore/Serampore and Tranquebar to the British East India Company.