The Belvedere, Plantation Road (19??-19??) [????-????] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

The Belvedere, Plantation Road (19??-19??) [????-????]

Current condition: 
Demolished / No longer exists

aetse on Flickr writes that this was the "former residence of Chartered Bank's Taipan on the Peak."

Currently 'The Belvedere" is a development with four houses. A map from the 1950s confirm that the older Belvedere house stood at the same place.

Photos that show this place

Comments

I just found a recent article that says Belvedere was not the house of the Standard Chartered taipan, but rather the Hong Kong taipan of the Shell oil company.

The original Belvedere house and land was sold in 1994 for $276,600,000, but now I am not sure what company was the initial owner.

Interesting - do you have a link to the article please?

David, here is the article.  I could only read the translated version, but this is the original Chinese article: http://news.28hse.com/20090918/3/

Separately, I have confirmed that Belvedere at 51 Plantation Road was originally owned by Shell Hong Kong. 

A few months ago I saw an English article about Standard Chartered selling its taipan house on Plantation Road around 1996 or 1997.  I cannot find it the article, but I am very curious where it was. 

William Holden was not a taipan of a company, though he had some businesses in Hong Kong.  My friend said he bought a big apartment in Hong Kong when he was filming The World Of Suzie Wong.  Does anyone know where it was?

In the 1920s, the occupants of the Belvedere worked for the Asiatic Petroleum Co. Ltd. The Company was a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell.

In the same era, the manager (taipan?) of the Chartered Bank lived in the Charter House, the Peak. Address given at the time was 17 Peak Road.

Thanks for the information, moddsey.  There is no 17 Peak Road today.  There is a house at 18 Peak Road that was sold a few years ago by John Swire & Sons. 

In the 1970s when I was living in the Mid-Levels, Standard Chartered taipan lived somewhere on Plantation Road and I am quite sure it was directly next to Shell's Belvedere. 

However, the only record I can find about Standard Chartered executive quarters is at 52 Plantation Road.  It is now a townhouse development called Abergeldie, built in 1993. 

I don't think this was the old taipan house because I recall the bank sold it around 1997 for redevelopment.  I think the Chartered Bank House was Woodlands, 57 Plantation Road (it is now called 73-77 Plantation Road)

I don't have pictures of these houses, but here is list of other taipan houses in the Peak that still exist today and have not (yet) been demolished.

16 Peak Road - director's residence for Mount Stephen Cumming of Butterfield Swire

18 Peak Road - Swire director's residence

25 Peak Road - still owned by Swire and is residence for their chairman, Butterfield Swire originally acquired leasehold on the land in the 1920

3 Middle Gap Road - another HSBC director's residence

19 Middle Gap Road - HSBC's current chairman residence, the bank originally bought the house from American Express in the 1970s

26 Middle Gap Road - residence of Sir Douglas Clague of Hutchison

60 Mount Kellett - HSBC staff quarters between 1980 and 1985

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

If anyone knows where other houses were/are, please add another comment.

While William Holden may have had an apartment in Hong Kong when filming The World of Suzie Wong, his long term partner the actress Stephanie Powers certainly later did and may still do so. The last mentions I recall in the HK press were that she had a place at Discovery Bay and lived there regularly all very low key, but that was before the handover.

Prior to Discovery Bay she apparently had an apartment high up in the Mid-Levels. No doubt a Fan web-site could confirm more. I also recall that they had a property in Africa for their shared love of the wildlife there.

IDJ

Thanks, IDJ.  I was not aware that Ms. Powers had a property in the Mid-Levels or Discovery Bay.  In the interview below, she mentions both her property and Holden's apartment in HK.  She mentions he had a townhouse on Lantau Island, but not the location of Holden's property.  It was somewhere around Old Peak, Robinson Road, maybe even May Road.

http://www.nytimes.com/1998/07/12/business/talking-money-with-stefanie-p...

Alastair, just wondering if you've seen Annelise Connell's work on this subject?

She's written a good page on Wikipedia, called 'First houses on the Peak'.

The wikipedia page mentions a good source from the PRO. It's a report documenting the buildings on the Peak. It was written in the late 1970's, with one page per building, and 68 pages in all. Here is the list of pages (use the magnifying-glass icon to zoom in on a page), and here's the list's reference details.

Regards, David

David, I had not seen Annelise Connell's work.  Thank you for pointing them out to me.  Her work is fantastic.  The 1978 report is extremely useful.  It seems Abergeldie (52 Plantation Road) and Kirkendoa (36 Severn Road) were both owned by the Chartered Bank at one point. 

The wikipedia page mentions Bangour at 35 Mount Kellett Road.  It was purchased by Jardine Matheson in 1988 and was their chairman's residence.  The site is being redeveloped today.

Annelise, thanks for the extra info. I've moved it out to its own place.

Regards, David

You're a genius! how do you find out this information? This is the kind of thing I love to sit at home and read up on, bravo to you.

I have a friend with the family name Keswick, they are the Jamily family (Hong Kong Land & Jardine) and their Tai Pan lives somewhere up on the Peak even to this day. They also have other hourse for their high ranking staff

Does anyone know the TV series Noble House? That was based on my friends family. The house used in that series was on Barker Road next to the China Officals house, I dont know if it is actually their Tai Pans house tho.

Also there is a very nice big house on Barker Road called something like Braken Hill, does anyone ahve any info on that?

Thanks and I'm so glad this site is alive, I will deffinatly be returning

Jardine's previous taipan house (Bangour - 35 Mount Kellett Road) was only purchased in 1988.  The house is being redeveloped now and I am not sure where the taipan lives today.  Does anyone know?  Does your friend know where his family company's taipan lived before Bangour was purchased?

Jardines has weekend houses for its executive staff in Shek O.  From an old magazine article, I read that they own: 1 Shek O Road, 2 Shek O Road, 9 Shek O Road (the Keswick family's company house), 11 Shek O Road, The Rock - 15 Shek O Road (house owned by Mandarin Oriental)

The Great House that Pierce Brosnan / Taipan Ian Dunross lived in is Victoria House - 15 Barker Road.  It is residence of the HK Chief Secretary of Administration.  I remember Lando Mata driving up to the house in his white Aston Martin and Gornt driving there in his Jaguar at the end of the miniseries. 

Bracken Hill - 12 Barker Rd. (I think, not 100% sure) is owned by a HK politician and developer.  I can't remember his name.

wow good response, thanks for that!

yes i will ertainly ask my friend the next time i see him. actually i saw him yesterday at lunch but hadn't seen this reply at that time.

all this is so facinating!

here is another question you might be able to answer, the house called 'the haystack' has a japanese flag above it, who lives there now? it looks like some kind of official house which makes me wonder if its the residence for the consulat of japan?

i think its such a shame that more and more of these great old colonial houses are being torn down. i love progress and wouldnt want to get in the way of it but i think we should preserve what are left standing.

please people keep posting, this is very interesting!

I recall that in 1973 David Newbigging lived on Mount Kellet Road [Bangour?], somewhere between La Hacienda and Matilda Hospital. I am however not sure if he was Taipan at that time, however I believe he remained in the house when he became Taipan. If Jardine's only purchased it in 1988, who was the owner in 1973?

Yes your guess about the Haystack is very correct. Well it was back when I was in school. The daughter of the japanese consul was in my year and invited people over to her house. I remember friends mentioning a 'dungeon' which led to the stream it sits above. Of course we were only 9 at the time..

Hi there,

No wonder the brush stroke style of the engraving 耕雲草蘆 is a bit different:

Before the Meiji reform in Japan (which has something to do with US influence - the Black Ships incident, which blown away the Japanese isolation policies), Japanese use the same written language as Chinese.  Koreans & Vietnamese too.

Best Regards,

T

fivestar, if your memory is correct, then Bangour was part of Jardines before 1988.  Bangour is indeed in between La Hacienda and Matilda Hospital, so you look to be correct.  David Newbigging became taipan in April 1975. 

A New York Times article from 1987 about American Brian Powers' rise to taipan already mentions 35 Mount Kellett as "the residence of the tai-pans."  Perhaps Jardines bought the property in '88 from Hongkong Land or maybe even the Keswick family.  From the article and fivestar's post, it definitely appears taipans of Jardine had access to Bangour much earlier than '88. 

This is how Bangour looks today:

http://218.188.25.84/corporate_member/project.php?co_code=handi&pj_code=...

Interesting photo of today's development, is it still a single residence or flats?

fivestar, the development is now four detached houses.  I think they were sold, but I cannot confirm that. 

Here is another link to how Bangour looks.  Unfortunately, only the first picture can be enlarged.

http://www.hanison.com.hk/hccl/Residential01.aspx?id=2080

I think I saw some pictures of the old Bangour on a property website a few years ago.  I believe the Bangour site is over 40,000 sq. ft. of land and 20,000 sq. ft. of floor space can be built.  Perhaps the new houses are 5,000 sq. ft. each.

Just found one more thing.  A book on Jardine listed its taipan M.A.R. Young-Herries as chairman of Bangour Investments. 

The effective date of the company name (incorporation date?) for Bangour Investments was April 28, 1952.  Centanet shows the occupation date of Bangour as 02-1949.  In 1977, the name became Bangour Enterprises.  The company was dissolved and the disbanded date was Aug 30, 1990.

Maybe Bangour Investments / Enterprises was a Jardine company all along and the house was formally purchased by Jardine due to their their late-1980s reorganization that created Jardine Strategic.  

 

  It would be interesting to know where Henry Keswick lived whilst he was MD/Taipan from 1970 until he retired in 1975.

Should a correction be made regarding the ownership of the original Belvedere?  By all accounts, it was owned by Shell and not Standard Chartered.  I am pretty sure Stanchart's taipan house was Abergeldie.  This is a great forum topic, so I hope it keeps going.

I found an old picture of me at a Christmas party.  The picture is in bad shape and my mum's writing on the back has faded.  I believe it reads: Marks & Spencer house, Chung Hom Kok - Christmas '7X (I can't see the second number, judging from how I look I'd say it was earlier than '75). 

Does anyone know where this house may have been located? 

 

 Not sure whether the title is correct on this one. Marks & Spencer in the early 70s was run by Dodwells in Hong Kong as a franchise. The house could well have been the residence of the Dodwell manager in charge of M & S, since if I recall correctly a couple of the Dodwell senior managers did reside in the Chung Hom kok/ Stanley area at that time.

I confused myself because my mum to this day refers to Marks & Spencer as 天祥.  She wrote 天祥 on the picture and I instantly wrote M&S instead of Dodwells.  Glad you caught my error, fivestar.

There aren't many old houses in Chung Hom Kok left.  This old house had probably been knocked down. 

Speaking of Dodwell, I know there is Dodwell Mansions at 77 Peak Road.  However, I have never seen units in this building for sale, only for rent.  I wonder if it is still owned by families affiliated with the original Dodwell Co.

 The "Taipan" of Dodwells in the 1970s was Peter Williams who lived in Magazine Gap Road near Cameron House.  Does anybody have access to a early 1970s telephone book to ascertain which house P.G.Williams had. I believe the only Dodwell staff members who lived on the south of the Island were those involved with the Export Buying office under which the M & S franchise was.

Can you post a photo of the CHK house, it may twig some memory gland.

77 Peak Road used to be the Dodwell Managers staff quarters. There were 8 flats in all, two bedroom on one side, three bedroom the other. I am not sure if Dodwells ever owned the block. I think they rented from Harriman Realty who named it Dodwell Mansion as all the flats were rented by Dodwells.

 

fivestar, I'm afraid the photo of the CHK house won't do much good.  The picture is pretty faded and was taken inside.  I have no exterior picture or one of the garden. 

I vaguely remembered reading in the newspaper (around 2003) that the old Dodwell house in CHK was up for sale.  This is what I found, 32 CHK Road.  The pdf makes no mention of Dodwell and the entrance of the house doesn't look all that familiar.  

http://www.colliers.com/Content/Attachments/ResSales/32-ChungHomKok.pdf

Just found out that Dodwell Mansions and Harriman are owned by Wheelock.  That explains why they are only available for rent.

 

From Hong Kong who's who: an almanac of personalities and their history, 1958-1950 - Rola Luzzatto, the General Manager of Shell Company of Hongkong Ltd was a gentleman named Christopher Henry Willink Robertson.  His address is given as 374 The Peak, which is Belvedere, Plantation Road. 

It seems M.A.R. Herries (Jardine taipan from '63 to '70) had his taipan house at 36 Plantation Road, Strawberry Hill and also the Jardine Penthouse.  I found two very similar sources, one from '66 and another from '71. 

Separately, I read that Altadena on Barker Road (formerly 459 The Peak) was owned by Standard Vacuum Oil around WWII.

How much would the Jardine, Swire or HSBC taipan have been paid in the 1970s?  I get the impression they all retire to the UK comfortably after leaving Hong Kong, but I can't imagine they were that highly paid.

fivestar, you asked about Peter Williams of Dodwell and his address.  He lived at 35 Magazine Gap Road, which is very close to Cameron House.  The old house has been redeveloped.

Another source said he lived in a colonial house on Middle Gap Road that was owned by Inchcape.  It's possible that he moved after the Dodwell was sold, but he definitely resided in 35 Magazine Gap Rd. at some point

Other taipan houses from that era on Middle Gap Road I found are:

6 Middle Gap Rd - Can't make out the name, Pg. 185 Int'l Shipping & Shipbuilding Directory, 1963

9  - Terrance Gordon Newlands Pearce, South China Morning Post Ltd.

22 - Stephen Wong Kie Chung, E. Manning & Co

28 - Mobil Oil

My friend also confirms that her late grand-parents lived at 26 Middle Gap Road. It was owned by Mobile Oil HK and her grand-father was the head of the company. (American Chinese - Mr. Soong) 

Previous residence and family of the Head of Mobil Oil, HK confirms to me that they lived at the house on 26 Middle Gap Road. 

The original house was sold and torn down and made into town houses.

A stock exchange filing by Jardine Strategic in 2002 listed the residence of taipan Percy Weatherall as House No. 2, Strawberry Hill, Plantation Road.  Jardine finance director Norman Lyle was listed as living at Hse No. 1

In the 1960s, M.A.R. Herries also lived on Strawberry Hill when he was taipan.  It seems to me that Newbigging and Powers were the only taipans that lived on Mount Kellett.

brilliant, thanks for the info. i know that houses 1 and 2 are the largest of all in the strawberry hill development at are around 7,000sqft each and both have private swimming pools.

does that mean these 2 houses are owned by Jardine or they're rented?

i'd also like to know if anyone has any imformation on a house called 'fung shui' on plantation road. its an old detached private house with a long drive way and is hidden among newer homes.

cheers

I don't know for sure if Jardine owns Strawberry Hill No. 1 & 2, though I think it would be safe to say that they do own them.  After all, their taipans have lived there since the 1960s and that is a long time for a company of their size to be renting.  I am still wondering why a few taipans used 35 Mount Kellett instead.

As far as I know, Fung Shui on Plantation Rd is still a lowrise apartment building that is owned by HSBC.  There was talk about HSBC selling that property a few years ago, but I don't think it was actually sold.  I don't think Fung Shui has ever been a detached house since the 1950s.

Hi, whilst 'Google-ing' a few family members' names, I stumbled across this reference to 'Terrance Gordon Newlands Pearce', who was my grandfather.  He did indeed live at 9 Middle Gap Road for a number of years whilst he was editor in chief at SCMP.  Is there anything I might be able to assist with?

Oliver Pearce

Hi Oliver,

I guess that reader Compradore will have some questions for you, but it may be a while until he sees your post.

It's helpful to know which years your grandfather lived there. Any memories or photos of the place are always good to know too.

Regards, David

i was walking around the peak yesterday, around pollocks path, severn road and plantation road mostly. and i saw a few homes which caught my attention and i wonder if anyone can shed any light on to who lives there, or who owns them etc.

the first house i'm curious about is situated at number 2 pollocks path. its a pretty huge house as far as hong kong is concerned. its located on the corner of pollocks, plantation and severn road. it looks like its been standing there for a good 40 years and i'd say its around 10,000 sqft in size. i'm sure its being lived in but i never see any activity going on. any info people?

second is 51 plantation road. when ever i have walked past this before my eyes are always drawn to the set of 5 houses infront of it known as the belvedere but this is a much larger house made from the same stone as the 5 houses in front.

'kirkendoa' thats a nice house sitting on a ledge of severn road, does anyone know who lives there or owns it? and there is another house or possible 2 semi-detatched houses further down severn road at number 26. i think i've seen some caucasian people walking up the steps to that house before.

and the last one is 'galesend' i'm not sure what this is, apartments or houses but it seems quite odd.

any info you guys might have is much appreciated. i love this site and this particular thread is by far my favourite on here. thanks guys!

Hi Oliver.  I am glad you posted a message on this forum.  It is nice to know that your grandfather lived at 9 Middle Gap Road.  As David asked, do you have any pictures or memories of the old house?

Do you know when SCMP acquired the property and whether it was sold after your grandfather's tenure as editor in chief?  Thanks.

With all due respect to Oliver, his grandfather Terence Pearce was Managing Director of the South China Morning Post Limited which owned the newspaper, not editor in chief of the paper itself.

Indeed, correction accepted.  On checking with my father, Terence Pearce was the MD of SCMP Ltd, which published the South China Morning Post, The China Mail and The South China Sunday Post Herald.

Terence was MD of SCMP Ltd from 1955 to 1965 and bought 9 Middle Gap Road for SCMP Ltd around the late 50s/early 60s for £16,000.  The house was bought in the name of the company, rather than personally, and so when he retired, SCMP Ltd retained ownership of the house.  After this time, my father knows no more details alas.

I'll see if he has any photos tucked away somewhere the next time I visit.

Hi Oliver - thanks for the information about the house and your family.  Sorry for taking so long to respond.  Wow, £16,000 for 9 Middle Gap Road sounds like a bargain though it must have been a lot of money at the time.

I posted several months ago about 6 Middle Gap Road and not being able to see who resided there.  Well, I just found that Mr. Eric Blechynden Moller - Chairman, Moller Group of Companies - resided at No. 6 in 1963.

i've just come across some info about the newer belvedere development which is currently there today. the link is to the construction company web site that built the current day project stating the build was commissioned by tthe 'liu family'

 

http://widnellsweett.com/projects/other_residential2.html

I was fortunate to stay at Belvedere, 51 Plantation Road in 1992 with friends Sue & Tim Brennand (of Shell).  It was a fine house with large rooms, parquet floors & lots of character.  I had a memorable holiday in Hong Kong before I returned to London to begin training as a Midwife.  I then returned a few years later to work at The Matilda Hospital.

In the mid-60s, No.51 Plantation Rd was known to be the Shell Taipan House.  

The Taipan of the Chartered Bank was diagonally opposite but situated at a terrace lower down from Plantation Rd, along with other houses.  The road leading to this terrace was marked by the half-completed contemporary 1950s house "Fung Shui".  It was said to be owned by the Lui's Family of Kowloon Motor Bus.  It was said their family fortune turned in the 50s and the house was never completed.  

The house of the Taipan of Jardine was behind the Peak School known as Strawberry Hill.  Jardine Quarters were all grey in colour.  It was opposite the house of the Taipan of HSBC higher up on the opposite side known as The Cliff.

 

       

As my father was taipan of Standard Chartered Bank in the 1970's-80's I was lucky to live in the Bank House.  I can confirm that the taipan's house was Abergeldie, 52 Plantation Road which was then turned into a townhouse development when the Bank sold the property in the 1990's.  The Bank's 'Number 2' lived at Kirkendoa, Severn Road where we also lived prior to Abergeldie and was also subsequently sold by the Bank.  I have some photos which I will try and download!  Abergeldie was/is on the opposite side of the road to the Shell House and slightly further down the road.

Hi LB,

Thanks for writing, and we'll be glad to see any photos of Abergeldie. Here's how to upload a photo: http://gwulo.com/node/2076

We've also got pages for Abergeldie (http://gwulo.com/node/26768) and Kirkendoa (http://gwulo.com/node/29655), so if you can add any memories of them please leave a comment on their page.

Regards, David

Tidying up

We now know there should be 3 generations

David,

Could you put the photos on the right generation and add the first generation to the timeline? Thanks.

Belevedere House (1st generation)
++ I just created this

The Belvedere, Plantation Road (19??-19??)
++ add "2nd generation"

The Belvedere (2nd & current generation) [1997- ]
++ change to 3rd and current generation

Further to Compradore's comment that Eric Blechynden Moller resided at 6 Middle Gap Road in 1963. Eric continued the shipping business of his father Nils E.A. Moller after 1954 through the Moller Trust Shipping Company in Hong Kong and Singapore. Eric was known in business affairs as "E.B." Moller.

Eric Moller was captain of the Jersey Lilies Polo Team and received the Royal Windsor Cup from Prince Charles in June 1974. Eric later owned "Teenoso", the 1983 Epsom Derby winner riden by Lester Piggott.

Eric Moller died 11 July 1988 in London, England.

I think the house you mention at 2 Pollock's Path has to be the two merged properties Bicton/ Burrington, where the Bicton part today has the adress 44 Plantation rd. It was owned and inhabited from app. 1914 - 1920 by my grandparents and their three daughters. From 1920 - 34 it was owned by Mr. Stuart Strahans family. You can see more pictures in the Schou- Sørensen  gallery on this very website.