Wall from 1887 lunatic asylum rediscovered within SGH

Singapore General Hospital in the 1970s. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 
Singapore General Hospital in the 1970s. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 
(From left) Associate professor Ng Beng Yeong, head and senior consultant psychiatrist of the Department of Psychiatry at Singapore General Hospital who helped in the research project, Mr Charles Goh, the co-founder of Asia Paranormal Investigators w
(From left) Associate professor Ng Beng Yeong, head and senior consultant psychiatrist of the Department of Psychiatry at Singapore General Hospital who helped in the research project, Mr Charles Goh, the co-founder of Asia Paranormal Investigators who re-discovered the wall, and the National Heritage Board's group director of policy Alvin Tan. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Part of a 127-year-old boundary wall of a defunct lunatic asylum that has been unearthed in the heart of the Singapore General Hospital (SGH). -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES 
Part of a 127-year-old boundary wall of a defunct lunatic asylum that has been unearthed in the heart of the Singapore General Hospital (SGH). -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES 

SINGAPORE - A 127-year-old boundary wall of a defunct lunatic asylum has been unearthed in the heart of the Singapore General Hospital (SGH).

The National Heritage Board (NHB) said the wall is significant as it was part of the 1887 New Lunatic Asylum - one of three early psychiatric hospitals here.

Asia Paranormal Investigators co-founder Charles Goh had alerted the board to the 3m-high, 75m-long wall in September.

Save for the wall, the facility that housed 300 patients and closed later in 1928 is long gone.

The NHB and SGH said at a briefing on Monday that they are considering preservation and commemorative efforts for it.

Mr Goh, a heritage enthusiast, had stumbled upon the wall while exploring the old forested area near Macalister Road.

NHB then embarked on a three-month research project. A team consulted old newspaper articles, maps and spoke to experts such as associate professor Ng Beng Yeong, head and senior consultant psychiatrist of the Department of Psychiatry at the hospital.

The NHB found that the New Lunatic Asylum was revolutionary for its time as it practised patient kindness by, for instance, doing away with strait jackets.

The results of NHB's research will be detailed in a documentary that will be launched on its website on Tuesday.

Mr Goh said he hopes the agencies can work towards protecting the wall. "It's a piece of our past and it takes just a little effort to keep it standing. It will add to the landscape and we will have something historic to show future generations."