The idea of setting up a health care centre for Penang Chinese community was first mooted by leaders of Chinese community in 1876. A fund raising was started and a traditional style building was completed in 1883 on a plot of land about 10,600 sq ft at 36-38, Muntri Street (南华医院街), it was known as Lam Wah Ee Hospital(南華醫院). Lam Wah in Chinese Language or Mandarin means Chinese in the South. Ee is literally means medical treatment. First board of directors was appointed from 12 community leaders. The hospital provided free consultation and medication of traditional Chinese medicine to the public. The hospital become very popular not only to Chinese community , but also to other community.
The hospital opened 2 branches, the first branch was at 9, Beach Street (打铁街9号)and 2nd branch at 229, Jalan Magazine(头条路229号).
The hospital stopped its service during WW2 under Japanese occupation. The Lam Wah Ee hospital at Muntri Street was destroyed by Japanese bomb during WW2. It re-opened after the war in 1946 , and donation campaign was organized by the Chinese community to collect fund for the rebuilding of the hospital building. The double storey building was completed in 1955.
In 1959, the board of directors expanded to 24 members.
1960, a government clinic at sin-kei-tou closed down. The government required to use Lam Wah Ee to continue their service. This started the western medicine department of Lam Wah Ee Hospital.
The first branch was moved to Green Lane in 1961 to cater for the people in Jelutong and Green Lane area.The said land was reported by the hospital's own web site that the land was donated by British East India Company. But there was another source which said that it was coconut plantation owned by Mr Lim Siong Pan,on which was built Chee Seng Hospital to accommodate and recuperate the chiken pox patients. Which was the accurate source? But from my personal experience, during my school days when I took the yellow bus to grandma's house at Bukit Gelugor, the bus will passby the hospital; the said land was then a coconut plantation with some isolated buildings. East India Company (1600-1873)seems to be a long time from the moving of the branch in 1961 to donate land to the hospital; the Chee Seng Hospital is more conclusive.
The construction of new hospital building started in 1977, it took 5 years to complete the new hospital. The modern hospital was completed in 1983,with the generous donation from the Chinese community, especially Loh Boon Siew who donated the most .
Going back to Muntri Street, I searched for the old Lam Wah Ee hospital at 36-38, Lebuh Muntri(南华医院街 or Muntri Street); it is not easy to find the place. The building at 36, Lebuh Muntri; which is not only having Lam Wah Ee hospital Chinese Traditional medicine division; but also klinik Kesihatan Lebuh Muntri(Government clinic),and Heap Joo(Penang) Sdn Bhd in the same building. I need to ask the direction from a local to confirm the location. Now you believe the clinic is here.....
The sign outside 36, Lebuh Mentri clearly stated that it is a government clinic.Where is the old Lam Wah Ee hospital?
The building at 36, Muntri Street looked like a tyre shop. Look at the big bridgestone sign...
where is the old hospital?
The whole building seems to be occupied by Heap Joo(Penang) Limited Company. Is it hospital or commercial building? Look at the top of the building, it clearly stated the figure 1955, the year the building was completed, the year is the same as the completion date of Lam Wah Ee Hospital...
Going nearer, it finally revealed the name of Lam Wah Ee Hospital branch clinic of Chinese Traditional Medicine. It is the old Lam Wah Ee Hospital building....
The Lam Wah Ee hospital in Lebuh Muntri (南华医院街 or Muntri Street)is now only the branch clinic of Chinese Traditional Medicine division. It is no longer the main hospital. The main hospital is now at Batu Lanchang(now Jalan Tan Sri Teh Ewe Lim).
The 2nd branch is easily found, as I know the place since school days, it was located at 229, Jalan Magazine(头条路 or Magazine Road), a pre- war double storey shop next to a coffee shop. It is just opposite Komtar, the Trader Hotel. It was still operating after the war until 2004. The old notice at the wall revealed that the service had terminated on 31-3-2004. The notice issued by Lam Wah Ee Hospital was more than 5 years old and still stick on the wall. This place is going to be history....
This is the modern main hospital at 141, Jalan Teh Ewe Lim 鄭耀林路(formerly known as Batu Lanchang)for the western medicine.
The Chinese traditional medicine division now is at this building, just next to the main hospital building, but towards the Green Lane side.