"The Ridge" - 8 Pollock's Path - Residence of the French Consul General

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copied from http://gwulo.com/belvedere-plantation-road-the-peak

8 Pollock's Path - said to be one of the earliest residences built on the Peak, it was the taipan house for Wallace Harper & Co., now it is the residence of the Consulate General of France.

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The Ridge

http://www.fairchildgroup.com/pdf/1985_0901_MingPao.pdf

Apparently, The Ridge was once owned by famous Hong Kong financier Fung King Hey.  It was him who sold to the French Consul.  I wonder what the price was.  The pdf file comes from the website of his son's company, Fairchild Group.

A picture of The Ridge is shown on page 4 of the pdf and it also shows the entrance to the old Skyhigh.

Why did the French Consul move?

In 1975, the French Consul's residence was still at Victoria Lodge on Old peak Road.  click here

It was torn down and replaced in 1991 with Dynasty Court.

Did Fairchild buy that property, and offer The Ridge in exchange?

The Ridge - Fairchild / Fung Family

I don't think The Ridge was ever owned by Fairchild.  Fung King Hey's son created Fairchild and it works out of Vancouver.  The house was likely owned by one of the Fung family's HK companies.  However, Fung King Hey was one of the founders of Sun Hung Kai, which I believe developed Dynasty Court.

If memory serves me correctly, FKH's Sun Hung Kai Bank experienced a bank run in the early-1980s and Fung personally put millions of his own money in the rescue.  The article from Fairchild said he sold The Ridge in '81, so maybe there was a correlation. 

Sold

http://www.propgoluxury.com/EN/PropertyNews/The-Peak/1797-French-consul-home-Hong-Kong.html

The ridge was sold 5 months ago. Yet the French Consul General rented it back for two years...

8 Pollock's Path - "The Ridge"

After visiting the residence of the Consulate General of France on Tuesday, I was curious to find out more about the building.  AMO has given this building a Grade 2 listing and according to their research the building was built n 1909 by the Eastern Extension Australasia and China Telegraph Company Limted - a major player in the industry of telecommuications in early Hong Kong.  Then in 1955 the house was sold to Wallace Harper founder of Wallace Harper & Company Limited.  As noted in some of the previous posts, 8 Pollock's Path was one of different land sections carved out from an original land lot (Rural Building Lot No. 1) that was first leased by Henry Lardner Dennys in 1878.

Here's the AMO's report on

Here's the AMO's report on the building. You can see the full report of all proposed Grade II buildings at:

http://www.aab.gov.hk/en/aab.php

Consulat Général de France Residence. No. 8 Pollock’s Path, The Peak, Hong Kong

Historical Interest

No. 8 Pollock’s Path (普樂道), once known as The Ridge, was one of the earliest homes for upper class Europeans erected on the Peak. It was probably built sometime between 1880s and 1890s, and has changed hands a number of times over the years. The first lessee of the land lot, Henry Lander Dennys, was a rather well-known solicitor in Hong Kong. He was appointed as the Chief Justice’s clerk in 1873 and the Crown Solicitor in 1896, and was promoted as Acting Crown Solicitor in 1902. He also took up the position as a member of the Land Court in the same year. 

Throughout most of its history, especially the first half of the 20th century, the house was owned by the Eastern Extension Australasia and China Telegraph Co. Ltd. (also called the Eastern Extension Co. Ltd.), forerunner of the Cable and Wireless Ltd. Established in 1873, the Eastern Extension Co. Ltd was a major player in the industry of telecommunication in early Hong Kong.

In 1955, the house was sold to Wallace Harper, an American motor vehicle dealer and founder of Wallace Harper & Co. Ltd. The land was later transferred twice in 1962 and 1974 to Hong Kong Reality and Trust Co. Ltd and to Sun Key Investment S.A. respectively. It was bought by the Government of the Republic of France in 1981, and has been used as the official residence of the French Consulate General (法國總領事住宅) ever since.

Architectural Merit

The house is a single-storey mansion with a basement. The plan is asymmetrical with an octagonal shaped room on the southeast corner, splayed corners, canted bays and the main entrance set in an internal angle of two walls. A single-storey servants’ wing is built on at angle on the west side. The architectural style is Queen Anne Revival, made popular in England in the late 19th century by the architect Richard Norman Shaw. The house is a mixture of classical features such as projecting cornices, columns, arched window heads and features derived from Dutch architecture such as Dutch gables and tall chimney stacks. The roof is flat. The servants’ quarters are built on a platform supported by a granite retaining wall. Internally the house displays classical style arches, columns and cornices. The basement has rugged whitewashed walls and vaulted ceilings.

Rarity, Built Heritage Value & Authenticity

This style of architecture is very rare in Hong Kong and the house should be regarded as having considerable built heritage value. Unfortunately the windows are modern aluminum units and the brick walls have been painted. Originally the walls would probably have been exposed red brickwork with the architectural features picked out in white or stone colour.

Social Value & Local Interest

The Ridge was one of the earliest residential buildings on the Peak. Quite a few historical figures have lived there or been associated with it. As French consular premises it has local interest as well as immunity from requisition by the Hong Kong Government.

Group Value

Located on the Peak, the house occupies the highest point amongst other residential buildings which enjoys a wonderful 360 degree scenery of the Victoria Harbour, the Aberdeen Channel and East Lamma Channel. It is physically close to a number of graded buildings namely the Peak Depot (山頂 倉庫, Grade II), Peak Police Station (山頂警署, Grade III), Peak Fire Station (前山頂學校, Grade II), Maternity Block of Old Victoria Hospital (舊域多利 醫院, Grade III), Matilda and War Memorial Hospital (明德醫院, Grade III) and Old Peak Café (舊山頂餐廳, Grade II).

Adaptive Re-use

The rather rambling floor plan of this building is not very adaptable. Probably the best use is residential for which the house was originally intended.

Not yet graded

Remarks: No. 8 Pollock’s Path has not been graded, but it is one of the items recorded by the Antiquities and Monuments Office.