Hospital built by pioneer Tank Tock Seng at his own expense 'for the diseased of all Countries'.

On Pearl's Hill was the first Chinese hospital of Poor House built from profiles made in Government Pork Farms. For the diseased and the poor an attap building was erected but because of the poor facilities the Chinese avoided using it.

In 1844 a Chinese merchant Cham Chan Seng bequeathed $2000 and another merchant $5000, to the hospital.

On 3 February 1844 a public meeting under the chairmanship of Tan Tock Seng affirmed that the Chinese community was most anxious to build a hospital. The foundation stone of the new Paupers' Hospital at Pearl's Hill was laid. A tablet (dated 1854) in front of the main entrance to the present new wards in Moulmein Road reads as follows:


THE HOSPITAL
for the Diseased of all countries,
was built A.D. 1844
at the cost of
Seven Thousand Dollars
wholly defrayed by
TAN TOCK SENG.
The wings were added,
and large improvements effected,
at a cost of
Three Thousand Dollars,
wholly defrayed by
TAN KIM CHING,
son of the founder.
This Tablet is erected by the
COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT
1854

At the same time the foundation stone of the European Seamen's Hospital was laid.

Tan Tock Seng Hospital was managed by a committee; the meals for the patients were paid for by contributions from the public while the government provided the medicines and medical services. When facilities in the Hospital were found in adequate, additions were made to the buildings; the cost ware met by Tan Kim Chin, the eldest son of Tan Tock Seng. By 1854 the additions were completed. An inscription engraved in stone at the hospital gate acknowledged the donation of $7000 by Tan Kim Ching.

During the Indian Mutiny in 1857 both Tan Tock Seng Hospital and the European Seamen's Hospital were converted into military establishments. Tan Tock Seng Hospital was set in swampy ground on Balestier Plain, Serangoon Road in 1860. Government erected three blocks of buildings for the Hospital and by 1884 Tank Tock Seng Hospital had become a well managed Hospital in Singapore. In 1867 a female ward was added at the expense of Lee Seo Neo, the widow of Tan Tock Seng. (The Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital occupied the site and three wards of Tank Tock Seng Hospital are still used by the Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital.

Tan Tock Seng Hospital was generously supported by the Chinese. The rich Arab merchant Syed Ali bin Mohamed Aljunied donated the rental of $1200 per annum of five acres of land in Victoria Street, Queen Street and Arab Street to the Hospital to meet expenses of the Hospital. The Hospital was overcrowded, had no proper drainage and food supply was limited. The average deaths were two per day. Mr Dunman the Chief of Police even sent cart loads of slaughtered fighting cocks on his raids during cock - fights. In 1909 the present buildings at Moulmein Road were erected at a cost of nearly half a million dollars. Government met the cost of the land and buildings. Loke Yew donated $50,000 and Wee Boon Teck $4,000. The Governor Sir John Anderson decided the new Hospital should carry the name of the founder Tan Tock Seng. A separate ward for the blind ws built and named after its donor Ong Kim Wee who gave $12,000 for that purpose.

Tan Tock Seng was born in 1798 in Malacca and later migrated to Singapore. He began as a vegetable, fruit and fowlseller and later opened a shop and went into business with Whitehead and Company. Governor Butterworth made Tan Tock Seng a Justice of the Peace; he was the first Asian to be given this honour. He was a philanthropist who contributed to numerous charities. He died in 1850 at the age of 52 years leaving behind his widow, three sons and three daughters.

Tan Tock Seng Hospital is an apt memorial to this great philanthropist and pioneer who was deeply concerned over the sick in early Singapore.