Upon its completion in 1858, this building was used specifically for royal ceremonies such as the inauguration of the sultan and royal weddings. The ground level was used as a museum for the antique cars of Sultan Abu Bakar and Sultan Ibrahim.
Upon the completion of Sultan Abu Bakar Grand Palace, the royal residence was moved to the new palace and this building was left vacant. From the 1970s until the end of 1980s this building was used as the Bukit Zaharah Religious School. However, when the religious school was moved to a new building in Jalan Yahya Awal, the building was left abandoned until today.
The design concept of this building reflects the influence of western architecture. This is clearly shown in the plan and elevation of the building. The plan, which is in the shape of a letter 't' is similar to the clover flower split into four. The design is chosen to accommodate four main groups of foreign dignitaries like the Malays, English, Chinese and Indians during the royal functions.
The Western architectural features can be seen in the use of classical ionic columns, decorative plasters for the outer walls and interiors of the building and decorative glass above the windows and doors of keystone shape. Similar to other western architectural features, the windows of this building are of segmental shape.