In 1841, the Insane Hospital was the earliest establishment for the mentally-ill in Singapore. With a humble 30-bed setup, the hospital was located at the junction of Bras Basah Road and Bencoolen Street. As the hospital evolved and occupied 145 hectares of land, the word ‘insane’ was avoided and the place was renamed as The Mental Hospital in 1928. The Hospital was even used during World War II as the Japanese Civilian and Military Hospital.
In 1951 the hospital was again renamed but this time, it was named after a wooden bridge across Seletar River and the name ‘Woodbridge Hospital’ even after it moved to its current premises at Buangkok View. However, the name Institute of Mental Health (IMH) was added to reflect the emphasis on training, research and public education. IMH remains Singapore’s only and largest acute psychiatric institution.
The Woodbridge Museum was established in 1993 and went through a recent revamp in 2006. This museum aims to promote deeper understanding of the scientific limitations and conditions we faced in the past and having moved from custodial management to therapeutic care in community-based settings, the artefacts remind us of our roots and heritage, past aspects of hospital life and mental health services. The artefacts displayed are some of the items that were used in the old Woodbridge Hospital and all of which, are donated.
Visit The Institute of Mental Health's website for more information.