Sailors' Home - Sai Ying Poon [1864-1955] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Sailors' Home - Sai Ying Poon [1864-1955]

Current condition: 
Demolished / No longer exists
Date Place completed: 
Date Place demolished: 

A boarding house for Sailors.

St. Peter's Church was erected in 1871 on a portion of the site of the Sailors' Home. (ref:

The Sailor's Home in 1925 hoped to move to a site near Signal Hill.

The Sailor's Home and the Mission to Seamen (in Wanchai) were both running at a loss.  So the Sailor's Home sold their land back to the Government in 1930, the two merged, and together built a new building on the new Praya East Reclamation, next to the China Fleet Club.

The Mariner's Club in Tsim Sha Tsui is the current successor of the old West Point Sailor's Home.

Photos that show this place


Are we sure?  I always thought the Mariners Club in TST replaced the Mariners Club and sports facility which was near Gun Club Hill and located east of Chatham Road and west of the railway line.

I've moved the demolition date forward from 1930 to 1955. 1955 is still a guess, but the demolition date can't be earlier than 1952, when this photo in Offbeat shows the building still standing:

(Click the thumbnail at the bottom of that page).

I guess that the old Sailors Home building was used by the police for some time after the Sailors Home re-located.

Regards, David

Stephen Davies writes:

Some interesting points arise from comparing various images:

a) the home would appear to have had entrances both from Des Voeux Rd (the usual view with St Peter's Church at the eastern end) and from the road behind (the view in the Chinese web site's 1910 shot where, I think, we can see ships in the harbour beyond the home),

b) the building dates the home from 1864, although it only formally opened in 1865 and the actual meeting that formalized the establishment of an institution called the Hongkong Sailors Home was February 1861!

c) there is a very interesting contrast between the architectural styles of the home as shown in images 1864-1887 (curved arches, fairly flat (i.e. unmoulded) facade) and of the early 20th century (squared openings, mouldings). A careful comparison reveals a startling conclusion, given that the home was meant to be in difficulties. Sometime between the Golden Jubilee of 1887 and 1910 a 3rd storey had been added - it's that top storey that has the different architectural style. Has anyone ever run across any tale of an extension being added? Given that whenever the extension was done the place was still the Sailors' Home (hence the redoing in a different style of the building name and date), it would be interesting to put a date on it.

Stephen D

I think this refers to what was known as the merchant navy sports ground, in use until the 1980s I think,, and situated near Chatham Road.

I now have a fairly complete timeline for this remarkably tangled skein 1861-present. There are more than just two institutions, though the Sailors' Home and Missions to Seamen (MTS - today Mission to Seafarers) Seamen's Institute are the dominant players.

Put simply, the Mariners' Club in Middle Road is the heir and successor of:

1. Sailors Home (1865-1930),

2. MTS Kowloon Seamen's Institute (1891-1925),

3. MTS "Star" Seamen's Coffee House (two locations in Central, 1893-1903),

4. MTS Seamen's Institute (two locations in Wanchai, 1905-1930 (2nd building finally demolished in 1962)),

5. The Sailors' Home and Seamen's Institute (two locations in Wanchai 1930-1933, 1933-1955,

6. Sailors' Home and Missions to Seamen (1956-1967),

6. Merchant Navy Club and Sports Ground (1949-c.1963),

7. Stella Maris/Apostleship of the Sea (1952-55 (Tsim Sha Tsui), 1956-67 (Central)).

I have photographs of some of these (1, 2, 3 (the 2nd), 4 (the 2nd), 5, and 7 (the 1st)). For the Mariners' Club official history (which I am writing) I am trying to garner as many images of the various premises that I can without straining the strained coffers of a charitable organization, so if anyone has images of any of these premises (not to mention the 1876-1888 Hong Kong Temperance Hall (looked after sailors), or 1881-1886 Sailors' Shelter) they would be prepared to donate a digital image of, that would be very welcome.

...I forgot the mission/religion side of the equation. The final player in the saga was the Sailors' Church:

1. St. Peter's Church, Sai Ying Pun (at E end of Sailors' Home grounds) (1872-1933, building demolished 1955)

2. St Peter's Chapel, Sailors' Home and Seamen's Instiute Wanchai (1933-1941(1941-1945 a Shinto Shrine), 1946-1967)

3. St Peter's Church, Mariners' Club, TST (1967 - present)

4. St Paul's Chapel, Mariners' Club, Kwai Chung (1965 - present)

I also forgot the building of the Mariners' Club, Kwai Chung premises, (1975 - present)

Thanks Stephen, it's good to have the relations of all these written down clearly.

If anyone has suitable photos, you are welcome to load them here (instructions at and I'll forward a copy to Stephen.

During your research, have you heard anything about records from the old St Peter's Church, ie baptisms, marriages & funerals? They would be very useful to people researching family history, so I wonder if any have survived?

Regards, David

David, I think they probably went to the Cathedral archives (St Peter's ended its ecclesiatical working days as a chapel-of-ease of the Cathedral). There's a faint possibility they went to Christ Church, Kowloon, which amongst other things inherited St Peter's bells, though that seems a bit unlikely. Another possibility, given that once the church closed many of the congregation shifted base there, is St Stephen's in Sai Ying Pun, but that too seems a bit unlikely. My guess is that the records stayed with the Cathedral. I don't think the Mission has them, but I'll ask Stephen Miller.

I mentioned above the idea that the Sailors Home building was probably used by the Police after it was sold to the government in 1930. I've found confirmation of that in the PWD Annual Report for 1930:

220. Alterations to Sailors Home.—This work consisted of alterations to the Sailors Home building to adapt it for use as a Police Station.

The work, which was executed under the Contract for Maintenance of Buildings was commenced in June and completed in September.

Two buildings were rewired; total points one hundred and seventy eight. Four ceiling fans were installed.

All telephones and station alarm system were transferred from No.7 Police Station to above.

    Special Vote $18,850.00
    Expenditure   $18,842.49