The former Salmon’s Maternity Home holds a deep history and significance, especially to the healthcare industry in Singapore. Yet, one is likely to walk past it without a second glance, as it sits quietly on Prinsep Street among bustling bars and a fancy arts campus.
Up until 2015, the medical facility seemed to be untouched by development—medical apparatuses such as bassinets and basins with foot pedals that were used to wash newborns remained where they used to be when the hospital was still operating.
A structure with understated charm
At its entrance are a pair of yellow twin doors, that standout from the rest of the building’s white and brown hues. Art Deco elements such as rounded edge balconies and glass windows with metal frames adorn the façade of the building. Distinctive porthole windows can also be observed on the side of the balcony.
Importance in Singapore’s healthcare history
Behind the yellow doors of the hospital lies Singapore’s healthcare history. Founded in 1950 and ran by renowned gynaecologist Dr S. R. Salmon, the private maternity hospital was the first of its kind back then in Singapore. The hospital was equipped with several operation rooms, a diathermy room and an x-ray room. There were also living quarters for nurses and servants.
Although the hospital had long ceased operations since the 1980s, it played an important role in the development of Singapore’s obstetrics practice. Before specialist ante-natal and post-natal care were established as a norm in the 1960s, thousands of babies were delivered at Salmon Maternity Home by General Practitioners and midwives. The hospital played a pivotal role in raising awareness of the importance of ante-natal and post-natal care.
The site was the private home of Dr S. R. Salmon’s daughter, Dr Yvonne, until she passed away on 28 October 2020. She was a distinguished gynaecologist who had practised at Kandang Kerbau Hospital for 44 years and later at the former Salmon’s Maternity as its second-generation owner.
Buildings and sites featured on Roots.gov.sg are part of our efforts to raise awareness of our heritage; a listing on Roots.gov.sg does not imply any form of preservation or conservation status, unless it is mentioned in the article. The information in this article is valid as of March 2020 and is not intended to be an exhaustive history of the site/building.