10 & 11, The Peak [????-1941] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

10 & 11, The Peak [????-1941]

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

The 1924 Map shows 10 & 11 The Peak were next to 'Haystack' on RBL 166.

I found a letter at the HKPRO (ref: HKRS156-1-388) from the HSBC to the Reparations Claims Registration Office, dated 25 Sep 1946:

[...] The Claim relates to a block of flats, No 10 and 11 The Peak, which were demolished by the British Forces in the course of the Japanese Attack on the Colony.

We desire to clear the site of the debris and have received a tender for the work which, if commenced by October 1 next can be carried out at a cost which owing to similar work being performed in the neighbourhood, can be done at a considerably lower cost than would otherwise be the case. [...]

I think the ruins of the building are visible in the bottom-right corner of this photo, dated 1945:

Looted houses on the Peak
Looted houses on the Peak, by John Florea, The LIFE Picture Collection, Getty Images

Does anyone know when these flats were built, who owned them (HSBC ?), and why the British Forces needed to demolish them?

Regards, David

Photos that show this place


GW has visited and written up what's to be found there today: http://gwulo.com/comment/31345#comment-31345

He adds:

The story of the partial demolition of the building that stood on this site is told in "Resist to the End" by Charles Barman (ISBN 978-962-209-976-0). Barman was a Quartermaster Sergeant in the Royal Artillery during the Battle of Hong Kong. The book is his diary.

The book contains two entries for 11th December 1941. There are two entries for the same date as the original diary was subsequently rewritten in an expanded form. One of the entries (Page 19) is from the original diary, whilst the other (Pages 14-16) is the expanded version. 

To summarize, on 11th December 1941, Barman was informed that the Number 2 Gun at the Mount Austin Mobile Artillery Battery was unable to fire on targets in Lai Chi Kok as the gun was positioned so close to No.10 (according to the original version) or No.11 (according to the expanded version) The Peak that the building obstructed its line of fire. The solution? Fire at the building to reduce its height. This was achieved in two volleys.

On a humerous note, Sergeant Barman fired on the building in the belief that it had already been evacuated by its tenants, the Royal Army Pay Corps. Apparently not however, as he was informed shortly afterwards by an enraged Captain Thompson who emerged from the ruins complaining that he'd been relieving himself when the shelling started! 

1920s Victoria Peak
1920s Victoria Peak, by Admin

10 & 11 The Peak is the block of flats on the left.