Grand Court [1931-2012] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Grand Court [1931-2012]

Current condition: 
Demolished / No longer exists
Date Place completed: 
c.1931-01-01 (Month, Day are approximate)
Date Place demolished: 
c.2012-01-01 (Month, Day are approximate)

Replaced by development called Kadooria

Photos that show this place



I have related this story somewhere previously, but I cannot find it during a gwulo search.

In the early 1970s, my employer’s staff-housing department placed a recently arrived UK family in an apartment in Grand Court. After a period of complaining about cockroaches (a pest they would not have experienced in the UK) and visits by exterminators whose remedies were ineffectual. Our employer sent in company workers/coolies to move tightly-fitted wall to ceiling furniture that seemed to be the origin of the cockroaches.

As they levered the furniture units away from the walls, a brown mass behind them took off, as did the workers out of the front door. A massive swarm of cockroaches filled the apartment and made it inhabitable for a week or so, after which it had to be thoroughly deep-cleaned and redecorated. The family was moved into a hotel but had to return to the same apartment as no alternative permanent accommodation was available at that time.

Whether by coincidence or not the family shortly after decided Hong Kong was not for them and moved on to the cooler climate of New Zealand.

I lived in two separarate flats at Grand Court with my sister and my parents during the 1960s - My father was in the Hong Kong Police. I remember it well. I watched the 1966 World Cup on a black and white TV in one flat, and the moonlanding in 1969 in another. As for the cockroaches, they were legendary. All rubbish had to go down a shute which was on the landing at the rear exit of the flat through the kitchen. When you wrenched opened the shute to throw your rubbish down it, I swear you could hear thousands of the little monsters scuttling around in the balckness beyond. That may have been my overactive imagination though. However, I do recall the wire mesh which covered the drain hole which allowed the rain water to run away, which was in the corner as you stepped out the back. The mesh was there to keep the roaches at bay. They were large brown monsters with very long antennae and wings, and were a regular sight.  I really disliked them. The thing that capped it all though, was that one of the Chinese janitors who worked at Grand Court loved to show us gweilo children how he could bite the head off the nasty beasts and suck out their innards. He became a legend too as a result of it.

John O'Regan