Beaconsfield Arcade [1880-1933] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Beaconsfield Arcade [1880-1933]

Current condition: 
Demolished
Date Place completed: 
1880-01-01
Date Place demolished: 
1933-08-01

Built by E.R. Belilios, a Jew, who named the builidng after Britian's Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, (1804-1881) whose parents were Jewish.  Disraeli was baptised as an Anglican at age 13.  (wikipedia)

In 1919 the Government bought the site and the buildings on it.

Photos that show this place

Comments

Please tell me how to insert a link here to this 4 min audio.  I found it by searching http://hkclweb.hkpl.gov.hk/hkclr2/internet/eng/html/frm-bas_srch.html , checking "audio" and searching on "Beaconsfield Arcade". 

excerpts:

The Arcade had shops below and apartments above. Old residents remember that in one of the shop windows an Egyptian used to roll cigarettes ...   Mr. Hamilton of the Morning Post, afterwards, its general manager, once lived there, and so did the Woods sisters.  I remember hearing Eileen tell, that once during the first world war she sang from her window to soldiers below.

The local pronounciation of Beaconsfield Arcade [BEAKonsfild] has been sometimes queried, ...

 

That's interesting, I've never thought to search the audio before. I can't see any way to link to it though - the HKPL site is not very helpful when it comes to that. Does anyone else have any tricks?

Added demolition date of August 1933, from PWD report.

Does anyone have a firm date for when the Beaconsfield Arcade was completed? It appears in many old photos, so it is a good landmark for dating them.

At 0:44 in the audio file from 1961 mentioned above, we hear:

The building was erected in the late 70's ((ie 1870s)) when the Prime Minister of the day, Benjamin Disraeli, had just been raised to the peerage as the Earl of Beaconsfield, and it was called after him by the man who built it. This man was Mr E R Belilios, a prominent Jewish merchant and philanthropist in Hong Kong who was a warm admirer of the great statesman...

According to Solomon Bard at Page 179 of his "Voices from the Past: Hong Kong, 1842-1918", Beaconsfield Arcade "was built in 1878". The page can be viewed online at;

https://books.google.com.hk/books?id=mXtFBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA179&lpg=PA179&dq=...

Meanwhile, www.hkmemory.org/lux/en/004b.html , states that the Beaconsfield Arcade was "opened" in 1880.

"A History of Hong Kong" by Frank Welsh contains a photo of Beaconsfield Arcade dated circa 1860. As Belilios apparently named his Arcade after British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, who didn't become the 1st Earl of Beaconsfield until 1876, the 1860's date seems too early.

If both Bard and HK Memory are correct perhaps the Arcade was built from 1878 to 1880.

I'll set it to 1880 for now. A search for Beaconsfield in the old newspapers returns several matches, but I didn't find any mention of a construction date.

Regards, David

Beaconsfield Arcade, opposite the City Hall, is already practically no more. Its history is a specially interesting one. In October, 1878, the Hon. Mr. E. R. Belilios, a member of the Legislative Council, placed a sum of £1,000 in the hands of the local Government for the erection of a statue to Lord Beaconsfield ( that was the period of statue-erecting ) of whom Mr. Belilios was an ardent admirer. The Government communicated with Lord Beaconsfield, who, modestly enough, deprecated the idea; so the money was eventually used to establish the Medical Society Fund, which was subsequently changed into the Belilios Scholarship Fund. The donor of the money,however, was determined that Lord Beaconsfield’s name should be commemorated in Hong kong, and he therefore named the row of houses opposite the City Hall (which were his property) Beaconsfield Arcade. They were used as shops, offices, and residential flats for a number of years The Government purchased the property about eleven years ago, and when demolition has been completed will either sell the land to private interests or else build thereon.

 

Beaconsfield - now housing the French Mission - was occupied from about 1880 by the Hongkong and Shanghai bank's Junior Mess, then by Butterfield and Swire and then the Government.

 

Source: Old Hong Kong by Colonial Vol 1

The second paragraph goes with the "former French Mission building"