1939 Cheung Chau Island - the bungalows

Wed, 01/25/2023 - 05:42

The Clifts owned a bungalow on Cheung Chau, bought sometime before 1915, to which they retreated in the hot summer months.  In 1938 they very kindly made their bungalow available to their protegee Mildred Dibden, when she was needing larger premises for her growing numbers of rescued babies.   As her baby numbers grew (32 in 1938) she moved to this bungalow , (just in picture middle left) before moving on (with 49 babies) to open The Fanling Babies' Home in the New Territories in 1940.  

Date picture taken
1939 (year is approximate)
Shows place(s)


Thank you.  Most interesting to read Tung Lin's post which says, 'There were missionaries, mostly in transit or in vacations, lived in some of the houses in the picture.' 

It would be interesting to see what it looks like now.  I'm hoping someone has a pic.

The Clifts went to Hong Kong in the early years of the 20th century and at some point, purchased themselves a bungalow on Cheung Chau as a summer retreat.  Just as their earlier book Far Far East was a journal of their time in Nanning, Kwangsi (sic), in Annals we have a snapshot of the lovely holidays they spent on Cheung Chau, from letters typed by Winifred Clift back to family, friends and supporters in England

Like many in Hong Kong (and mainland China) they faced the question ‘Where to go in the hottest months?’  The coolness of The Peak was only for those with plenty of dollars.  Happily the island of Cheung Chau was available and in the course of time every bit of high ground was built on with a holiday bungalow, which enjoyed the cool sea breezes at a much cheaper rate.  From early on it was found wise to build solid fort-like buildings with a sturdy veranda because of the typhoon season.

The Clifts' Bungalow, Cheung Chau 1939
The Clifts' Bungalow, Cheung Chau 1939, by Aldi

Moreover the island had plenty of fresh water, a daily launch to Hong Kong, and a police station for protection from pirates, who still occasionally operated in the region.  ‘Was it any wonder that one house after another sprang up’ to complement those of the 4000-5000 Chinese who lived there, on this 'favoured little isle in the Pacific.'