20 Hollywood Road - IL 116 Sec G [????- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

20 Hollywood Road - IL 116 Sec G [????- ]

Current condition: 
In use

The first owner, registered in the 19th century, is Kot Choy.  After the Second World War, the site was acquired by Lam Chi Leung and Lam Chi Ming, who were probably borothers, or at least members of the same family.  As from 1952, the ownership ofthe building was changed to Chow Chin Yau and Ching Shiu Chueng.

Photos that show this place


Kot Choy appears on the ownership of at least three Hong Kong properties from 1887 until 1937. He was original owner of 20 Hollywood Road in 1887, owner of 7 Moreton Terrace in 1921, and original owner of 11 Shelley Street in 1899. #11 Shelley Street was changed to a joint trusteeship in 1903 and then showed Kot Choy and May Hunter as trustees. These three properties are all associated with Tobias Hunter and his sister May. I am trying to establish the reationship between these parties. Tobias Hunter was my grandfather. 

The Moreton Terrace property ( listed at #4 on one document and #7 on another ) formed part of an estate left to Tobias Hunter and family in 1937. I am trying to find out whose estate this was? Kot Choy seems to have been an ongoing part of the Hunter family affairs from 1897 on. Assuming that he would havebeen 21 years of age, but likely older than that in 1887 when he was first listed on a property, that would make his birth 1866 or before. My grandfather Tobias Hunter was born in 1877, so they could hhave been friends or associates, or maybe he was some sort of advisor or compradore? Choy seems a fairly common name but "Kot" as a given name? I can't find any references to that name anywhere.

Any help or suggestions are welcome.

Brian Hunter Beesley



I think KOT was the surname.  I have the Lands Department summary of the lease:

IL 116 Sec G - Address at that time likely 1 Old Bailey

Owned by

1887 - KOT Choy

1913 - IP Seung Wan & IP Kwai Wan

1917 - MOK Mun

1922 - LAM Yung

1950 - LAM Li Shuk Tak (Administratrix)

1951 - LAM Chi Leung & LAM Chi Ming

1952 - CHOW Chin Yau & CHING Shiu Cheung

Carl Smith search has KOT with Kotwall.

Yes, you could be correct about KOT being the surname. The other print-outs show May Cock nee Hunter and Mr Kot Choy. Regardless of which way it was, I still would like to find out what his connection was to the Hunter family. BTW,  I checked the Kowloon property at 333 Castle Peak Road and drew a blank. I just looked at the Carl Smith listings and I think the most likely is Tong or Tang Shi KOT. They have the right years listed...1936-1937 among others. Good guess! :)

Notes from their document: http://www.epd.gov.hk/eia/register/report/eiareport/eia_1912010/HTML/EIA...


Proposed as Grade 3 historic building #791 (on AMO List of 1,444 Historic Buildings up to 20 September 2010)

Construction date:

c.1920s or 1930s

Historical Appraisal:

 Land records show that the lease on this landed property commenced in 1844, and this must have been one of the earliest lots to be sold; however, it is not known when the lot was first built on. The building lots along Hollywood Road were some of the first to be sold after the cession of Hong Kong Island to Britain. As a “second generation” or even possibly “third generation” building on this site, 20 Hollywood Road is significant in the evolution of Hong Kong’s social, cultural and commercial development. The building dates from sometime in the 1920s or 1930s, judging by its vaguely Art-Deco Style design. It would have originally been one of many narrow terraced buildings of four to five storeys which lined Hollywood Road and other streets in Central in the first half of the 20th century. However, many have since been demolished or their plots redeveloped. In the case of 20 Hollywood Road, the ground floor has been completely redesigned to accommodate more modern commercial use.

Architectural Appraisal:
The building is four storeys on the Hollywood Road frontage, though the ground floor slopes steeply upward to the south. The exterior features regular rows of set-back windows with projecting window canopies on the north and east sides, Crittall-style metal windows on the upper floors and small oculus windows at the southeast corner, a high parapet stepped up at the corners with decoration at the northeast corner, and these are all indicative of the Art-Deco Style. The ground floor of the building, which is presently an art gallery, has a much more commercial character, with its open shop front, than the more office style upper floors. A pedestrian bridge section of the Central to Mid-Levels Escalator runs alongside the front of the Hollywood Road elevation of the building and obscures its façade.

The interior has been modernized and its authenticity and integrity have therefore been compromised, but the Art Deco style staircase with its green polished terrazzo handrail and skirting has largely survived.
Presumably brick or concrete, finished externally with painted Shanghai plaster grooved with artificial joint lines.

The mystery as to who was "Kot Choy" has been partially solved. I found a notice that was posted in the South China Morning Post of Feb 20, 1937 that referred to the estate of "Anna Hunter", alias "Goot ( Kot ) Choy", a widow,  who passed away Jan 31, 1937 at 11 Shelley Street, Hong Kong. She was 83 years of age. Letters of administration for her estate were granted to Tobias Hunter and May Cock, 301 Amherst Road, Shanghai.

It now seems likely that "Anna Hunter" was an anglicized name given to a woman of Asian or Eurasian ethnicity. In light of the Hunter name I have concluded that she was the mother of William Leyland Hunter's children, James, George, Tobias and May. Though they were probably never officially married, the fact that the Hunter name was given to her, would have somewhat legitimized the relationship between WLH and Kot Choy. The origin of the name "Goot" is still unknown so my search is not over. The name Choy may be more difficult to pursue, but since Kot Choy seems to have been a land-owner of multiple HK properties, there may still be other information available as to her own history.

Goot  Kot  Choy Anna Hunter Estate Notice.jpg
Goot Kot Choy Anna Hunter Estate Notice.jpg, by B Beesley




Good find about the clipping. I've made a page for her at http://gwulo.com/node/32858 to gather information.

Regards, David