With the generosity of Mr Tan Tock Seng, our hospital's foundation stone was laid on 25 July 1844 at its first location-Pearl's Hill. But little did we know that the paupers were only moved into the building in 1849! What happened in between during this five years gap.
After the construction was completed in 1846, contrary to the community's expectations, the government used the building as a temporary prison.
To accommodate the diseased and the poor, an attap shed was built at the foot of Pearl's Hill.
It was used as a prison for about a year before the inmates were transferred out of the hospital building and housed at the newly built civic jail behind Pearl's Hill in 1847.
Regardless of the petitions made by Chinese merchants to move the paupers out from the attap shed to the designated hospital building, it did not happen immediately. In 1849, a tropical storm blew down the pauper's shed.
As it became very unsafe, the government had no choice but to move them to the hospital building.
It was only in 1849 that our hospital started to operate to our founder's main intention: to care for the sick and destitute of all races.