16, Bowen Road [????- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong
Pre-order the new Gwulo book today to get 
special pricefree shippingsigned copies, and a free sample
Details and how to order

16, Bowen Road [????- ]

Hi everybody -

Just discovered this site and have found it truly fascinating.  A treasure trove of information for anyone interested or resident in Hong Kong - both past and present, and my thanks especially to David who seems to be doing a sterling job maintaining the site.

Now.... back in the 1960's to the mid 70's I lived in a charming 2-storey house - number 16 Bowen Road but had to move out because it was being sold for development . I think it was the last house on Bowen Road, a short walk from what we called Lovers' Rock. I have often wondered what happened to the site after I left so explored Google Earth and had a nostalgic 'walk' down Bowen Road, but my 'walk' ended abruptly at what was No.16 !  The block of 4 garages is still there, which I shared with No.14, and there seems to be a rest area where what was then the beginning of a concrete stairway leading up to the house. There's some construction work but Google doesn't seem to have any coverage of the construction site itself or anything further along Bowen Road. I think the part-pictured construction work must be fairly recent and not the original development for which I was 'evicted' in the 1970's.

Btw, snakes were quite common visitors to the house and garden. Bright green bamboo snakes often nestled in the hibiscus hedge, ground floor doors had to be kept closed because snakes had taken a liking for the kitchen smells (a golf club then came in handy) and a very large Burmese python regularly coiled itself around the base of big brown glazed ginger jar used as an umbrella stand just outside the front door.   Snakes of various types and sizes got themselves stranded in a concrete nullah running down the hillside alongside the steps before wriggling their way out at the bottom. And there was a flock of about 6 white escaped cockatoos (or cockatiels ?) often perched in the jasmine tree at the top of the steps, probably with an eye on the feed my opposite neighbour put out for his chickens !

Some changes along the road, but still recognisable. Tried to identify the small clearing where I was introduced to early morning 'follow the leader' Tai Chi with the locals, who then were about the same age as I am now - is it still there, I wonder, and is there still an active Tai Chi gathering of seniors ?

Perhaps some fellow 'gwulo' can shed some light on the development at No.16 since the 1970's and any more news of Bowen Road - I would really appreciate it.

Regards to all.

Emma.

Photos that show this place

1950

Comments

Hi Emma,

If you look at this map of the last few houses along Bowen Road, can you see where your no. 16 was?

http://www.map.gov.hk/gih3/view/mapshare.jsp?quickshareid=af67f43f131d923359212303e715b7aa752f&lang=en&lite=true

Also were you north (downhill) or south (uphill) of the road, and how close to it?

Do you remember the house marked Caronia on the map? It is up the hill from the road - there's a path that leads up to it, though I've never been up there. It is no.17 Bowen Road, and according to "Names of buildings" it was built pre-1945.

Regards, David

Hello David - and thanks for that !

No.16 was on the south side. A flight of about 40 steps in a zigzag led up to the house from the road near the garages.  From the gov map it looks like No.15 on the north side is on the site almost opposite me that kept those rather annoying chickens - cockadoodledoos at 5am !

No's 14 and 16 were identical 2-storey houses, but well apart - No.14, if I recall, being built slightly higher up the hillside and about 60/70 metres to the west with steps also leading up.  It seems the numbering is in sequence irrespective of which side the houses are on - hence No.17 being also on the south side.

When I last looked at Google 'Earth' streetview there seemed to be definitely 'work in progress' on the site, but that was as far as it went.

Thanks again.

Emma

P.S.

Have just had another look at Google Earth Streetview - and have managed to read the contractors signboard - 'Residential Development, 16 Bowen Road/Architect Aedus/Structural Consultant Wong Cheng etc.etc. Can't make out the Chinese characters naming the building - but the rents will surely be astronomical to what I was paying back then !

The 4 garage doors are now blue - previously green.

Surprised they're still there and not demolished to shoehorn in yet another high-rise.

E.

Hi Emma,

Now you've pinned down the location, I've changed this page to a Place to show where it was. If you can give any dates for when the building was built & demolished (even rough guesses are fine), I'll add them in. And any photos you have of the area in the 60s/70s are very welcome too!

Chickens and pythons on Bowen Road - hard to imagine now. I wonder if the two ever met?

A bit further west, and also on the south side, are 12B and 12C Bowen Road. I think they're the site where you describe 14 used to be. No doubt re-numbered to avoid an unlucky 4.

I think we'll have to start a guided tour of Hong kong's historic garages! A couple of other examples are at http://gwulo.com/node/8592 and http://gwulo.com/Gladdon.

Regards, David

This is the GERROR: Image_assist macro refers to invalid node: 17041. oogle Streetview dated 01/09, looking west towards No.14.

I see that Bowen road is now designated as a Fitness Trail.

The 4 garages shared by No's. 14 & 16 are just beyond the lamp post.

The Residential Development then in progress shown on the left must now be completed.

Would love to know how it appears now !

E.

A closer look at the 4 garages then shared between No.s 14 & 16.

The stairway with handrail just beyond the garages is where steps led up to No.14.

E.

16,Bowen Road

Walked up to Caronia today.  It seems to be inhabited, even though it's a bear to get to it.  There is some documentation where the owner of Caronia is requesting permission to intrude on Government land to build a road for cars up to Caronia. 

Many thanks for that, 'Uncle', and yes - I recall No.16 was the last on Bowen Road with vehicular access, and on Google Streetview (2009) I see a No Access Without Permit road sign at that point.

Btw, is the development at No.16 now complete ?

Regards.

E.

 

Online, it says the house is available to rent, although the access is by stairs,
the SCMP says it has been demolished?, and the site is for sale.
http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1074766/taxman-stops-nina-wangs-boyfriend-tony-chan-selling-peak-property 

An application to build an "inclinater" up to the house, and 4 garages on Bowen road (on Government land) was refused in 1992. It required widening of Bowen road, and cutting down some trees in the green belt.

There is currently an application to the Town Planning Board to build a driveway up to the house so it can be redeveloped. Closing date for submissions in a couple of weeks, and a meeting in Town Planning Meeting in October.  

Hello, Marlowe - and thanks for that !

I can't help but hope Planning Permission is refused because that  stretch of Bowen Road must be one of the few unspoiled paths left in mid-levels.

The article in the SCMP refers to Caronia, No.17 Bowen Road - but- wow- HK$380 million ..... wonder what my old place at No.16 went for !

E.

Bowen Road
Hi I just pick up the link ... I used to live  at 14 Bowen road .. the top flat .. and remember lovers rock and what I used to call  the sandy patch where the pogoda was and the Ice cream guy used to be with his bike .. also the police shooting range below .. I will try and find some photos .   ahhh the good old days

Think this is a pic of your  Dad and Mum. Tony and Erika ?

For those who are no longer living in Hong Kong, No. 16 was the principle residence of a man called Chan Chun Chung.  He was involved in the massive legal wrangling of the inheritence money (in the $$billions) of Nina Wang, the former head of Chinachem.  He was later convicted on criminal fraud charges including forging a frudulant will and is now serving a jail sentence of 12 years.  It was certainly a bit of "colouful" history of this house which had been demolished for a few years already (the site is still vacant).  Recently another application was submitted to redevelop the site into a conjoined block of 2 houses.  The site was reportedly sold for HK$380m at the end of last year to an unnamed buyer.

Hi CHM - there seems to be some confusion here because the SCMP article reporting the sale of the property etc. (see  the link in marlowe's previous post) refers to No.17 Bowen Road, not No.16.

Hi there,

Well I think SCMP got it wrong as it was No. 16 that was sold last year.

The owner of No. 17 put the 1945 mansion on the market in 2005 but failed to sell it.  The asking price then was more than $100m.  The main reason it wasn't sold... no vehicular access (I think).  If you have been to that area, you know that your car would have to be parked in those garages before No. 16, and then walk up a flight of stairs... probably up 40+ steps to the landing of No. 17.  That's why in the latest application to the Town Planning Board they are proposing to build a driveway to connect to Bowen Road.

You can find information about the proposed driveway at No. 17 and the redevelopment proposal at No. 16 here:

No. 17

http://www.info.gov.hk/tpb/en/plan_application/A_H12_28.html

No. 16

http://www.info.gov.hk/tpb/en/plan_application/A_H12_29.html

Wow that's right Tony and Erika both sadly gone now. I was back last year and saw where 14 was but now it's no 12  it looks hideous. I used to have lots of fun cycling along Bowen road after no 17 as no cars where permitted.

oh how I miss the good old days

Wow, I just stumbled at this site and it sends a wave of nostagia. I remember I used to go to 15 Bowen Road every chinese new year to pay a visit to my great grand parents(1975-85). My grandpa used to live there too. The 4 garage are exactly opposite the mansion. I used to stay there when I was young, we raise chickens and we have a large garden beneath the house. Glad the mansion has not been demolished until today though it's very old and worn out.

Thanks for your comments and I was just wondering how you knew my Mum and Dad ?

Regards

Mike Webb

I don't know your mom & dad but they must be neighbors with my great grand parents back in the 70s. According to your previous post your parents lived in 14 Bowen rd while my great grand parents lived in 15 Bowen rd. We might have bumped into each other back then cos I do cycle a lot around the area. I can still remember seeing snakes in the house.

I think 15 Bowen Road should worth more than 600 million now as it's between 8xxx-9000 sq ft. See pic attached!