Built between 1907 and 1931, the pavilion wards, a series of old-school single-storey buildings residing at the far corners of our premises at Novena have served our patients for more than a century.
TTSH pavilion wards in the 1950s.
Most of the pavilion wards have made way for the HealthCity Novena development. The blocks near Akyab Road (Lower Pavilion Wards) have been replaced by the new National Centre for Infectious Diseases and the four blocks at one far end of Jalan Tan Tock Seng (Upper Pavilion Wards) have already made way for the development of our Integrated Care Hub while the remaining nine blocks will be around for a little longer.
Directory map of the upper pavilion wards (1995).
Origin of Pavilion Wards
The pavilion wards originated in the 1850s. It commonly features a long central aisle in the middle of the ward for patient supervision, good spacing between beds, high ceiling, good daylight and ventilation to reduce infection and improve recovery. This design is well associated with Florence Nightingale who first suggested military hospitals to be built in pavilion ward style.
The British Army brought in the pavilion ward design to Singapore and adjusted it to suit our tropical climate. In 1909, the first patients were moved into TTSH's pavilion wards built on solid foundation and on a hill-top at Moulmein Road. It was a vast improvement over the previous swampy site. Our history books mentioned that these wards were more airy and hygienic, resulting in a drop in death rates especially for tuberculosis and dysentery.
Over the years, the pavilion wards have been used for different purposes - general wards, specialist outpatient clinics, clinical laboratory, radiological screening room, pharmacy, medical records room, etc. In 1999, when the current TTSH main building was opened, the pavilion wards were gradually phased out and the upper pavilion wards were transferred to Ren Ci Nursing Home. Ren Ci too will be moving out from these wards soon. What's next for the upper pavilion wards… Guesses, anyone?