The Towers, 20 Broadwood Road [1916-????]

Submitted by David on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 22:44
Current condition
Demolished / No longer exists
Date completed


  • 1916: The building was completed on IL 1947, built as the residence of Charles Edward Warren.
  • 1923: C E Warren died
  • 1924: The contents of the house were sold at auction. The house was also put up for auction, but didn't make its target price so the family retained possession.
  • 1933: The house was finally sold, as noted by Sean from this Carl T Smith record he found:
    • July 15, 1933. SCMP: "The Towers" on a ridge above Broadwood Road at Happy Valley, built by the late Mr. C. E. Warren, and after his death occupied by his family for some years. Sold at auction to Messrs. Kwong Ning and Tam Man-Shiu, $45,000. Crown Lease May 22, 1916.
  • ????: The house was demolished.

Any further information about this building welcome.


Photos that show this Place


More notes from Sean:

This house was built between 1916/1917 and was the home of Charles W.Warren and his wife Hannah who was my great aunt and the half sister of the aforesaid John Olson and Charles W, Olson.

Any information regarding The Towers and it's history after 1923 when Charles Warren died would be appreciated. I think it ended as a school before making way for new high rise buildings.


As far as I can see you have found another picture of The Towers. At full blow up it looks pretty right to me. I will upload a clearer picture of the property which may be of help.

I think it ended up as a prep school. Don't know where I got this info but maybe from HK Jockey Club History quoted in

Thanks, Sean

Reason I asked the date is that in the brief glimpse on the video I could not see the other Olson house which is shown on the 1923 postcard. That would have been 13 Broadwood Road according to the 1927 Jury list when Charles Olson was still living there.


I’m not sure if I have the ultimate lot no. of The Towers in my papers. A 1913 purchase application by C.E. Warren specifies a piece of Crown land below I.L. 1911 Wongneichong consisting of 14,500 sq.ft.. The ensuing correspondence mentions that it was a prominent site below Mr Button’s house, which would take up land both on the ridge and on the Happy Valley side of the hill near the convent. This would seem to fit, I think. 


No. 5 (former) - IL 1911

IL 1911 is now the developments of Happy View Terrace.  Details here

I also found this at the PRO website in CSO file 5/68/1913

Proposed building lots on ridge east of Happy Valley - application of Messrs Little & Warren for purchase, tender for the construction of a road giving access to inland lots 1946 - 1947 on the spur to the east of happy valley.  But it appears that they didn't get it.  The lease documents show that IL 1946 went to KAN HUNG CHIU.

No. 6    - IL 1946 is now Beverly Hills.

"The Towers" was much further down the ridge.

No. 10  - IL 8524 is now Villa Rocha

No. 12  - IL 2132 is now "Broadwood 12"

No. 18  - IL 8525 is now Villa Lotto

No. 20  - IL 8812 is now Broadwood Villa

No. 38  - IL 8526 is now Broadwood Park



Both Happy View Terrace and Beverly Hills are too far north for the Towers site, judging by the photo above which places the mansion south of St Paul's convent. Location as currently fixed looks about right, or possibly slightly more north in Villa Lotto

Thank you so much, Annelise. I didn't have time to finish this rather thick file of correspondence on my last visit. Rather confusingly, the 'applicants' seemed to be Hewlett & Co., despite the lead application for purchase being from Little & Warren. I gather from Diana Warren that the access road to the cemetery would have been much further down from The Towers. I will try to bring in another possible contributor to this debate, who, with the other children in Broadwood Road, used to play in The Towers in the late '40s when it was still empty.

[2023 Admin update: The two links below no longer work. Some of photographer Mark Kauffman's photos of Hong Kong can be seen at, though unfortunately not the two mentioned below.]

here';s a Life photo from March 1947 which shows the ridgeline and Towers, useful for plotting any locations

in this one, the building is just blocked by the canopy

I'm not sure if I'm getting the correct result from these links. Should I be getting actual photos of the area? When I paste the links into Google Images some undated maps come up that are already accredited to 

On one of my later visits to Hong Kong, I did buy an aerial photo of Broadwood Road from the Lands Office, but I think it was post-war. I also bought an earlier black and white map. I will have to check the date. Both documents are copyrighted to the Lands Office.

In 2011 on this thread, David asked if I had the I.L. number for The Towers. It was built in the large Inland Lot 1947 together with the other houses pertaining to the Ridge development. I didn't know it at the time, but was able to consult the Rate Books subsequently. I recently uploaded the early alphabetic section designations A-H of I.L. 1947 from the Rate Books on a Broadwood Road thread.

To correct the first statement on this thread about the sale date of The Towers, it did not make its target price at auction in 1924 and wasn't finally sold until 1933. The newly married Leslie and Cicely Warren had only just arrived in Hong Kong when Charles Warren died in June 1923. Leslie Warren had to take over the running of C.E. Warren & Co. Ltd. immediately. As far as I know, the couple lived at The Towers from May 1923 until the auction of its contents in May 1924. They were joined by Arthur Warren, Leslie's younger brother who joined the company at the same time. The family then moved next door to the bungalow at 19 Broadwood Road, which they rented from the Webb Anderson family until 1938. The Rev. Webb Anderson of Fatshan, a long standing friend of Charles Warren, had used no. 19 as his furlough house, but retired in July 1923.  I've previously posted a copy of an article that records the Webb Andersons' final departure from Hong Kong at

I'm not sure if I'm getting the correct result from these links. 

The two links in the comment above yours no longer work. I've added a note.

I've also updated the timeline at the top of the page. 

My father worked for HK Tramways from after the war until he retired in January 1974 and from 1961-1974 we lived at 22 Broadwood Road. It was a Tramways owned house, as was #21 & #4. There might have been more houses along Broadwood Road that Tramways owned but I wasn't aware of them.

I remember that #20 was a building with flats - not many, perhaps 4 all up but I could be wrong. There was a winding driveway going up to the flats so I never really saw what they looked like. They certainly were there when my parents left Broadwood Road & HK in 1974.

Looking at the photo of The Towers, I wonder if it was converted into flats after the war?

We had a fabulous view of Happy Valley from our roof but we couldn't see much from our bedroom windows due to the "jungle" that surrounded our house on the hill.

I wrote a piece about our house for David a few years ago, if anyone is interested ...…

I also took a (not very good) video clip of my father driving down Broadwood Road to take us down to Central where my mother and I worked. She was the manageress of Paquerette and I worked at the Bank. We picked up Sheena Watt who lived in Leighton Hill with her parents and siblings.

At around the 0.19/0.20 mark you can see a car which came down #20's winding driveway.

Two couples I knew who lived at #20 were Mike and Judy Green and Nigel & Hannelore Stevens. Nigel was Alan Steven's brother.

Cheers  :)




Hello Nona. How interesting that you think The Towers might still have been standing in some form as late as 1974. Having walked the length of Broadwood Road, it was great to follow your video of your car driving down. It all looked very familiar. It is odd that late photos of The Towers don't seem to have turned up in the Hong Kong collection left by the widow of Bill Olson, third son of John Olson jnr. Bill Olson returned to Hong Kong as BOAC rep in the 1950s and is vaguely recalled by Mike Cussans. He would have surely taken photos of The Towers and his parents' house, 13 Broadwood Road out of curiosity. Perhaps they were simply lost or still exist in a mixed trove of Bill's colour photos as yet unexamined by the family. Annie Olson, John Olson's widow also visited Hong Kong in 1966 and actually died while she was there.

Hi Jill! Long time no speak  ;)  

I wish I had had more curiosity about all the houses on Broadwood Road when living there but I guess, being my hometown, it was all 'same same" - if you know what I mean. No curiosity about my surroundings :(

Because #20 was up that winding driveway, I never saw what the flats looked like and the only photo I have of it is a very unclear picture taken from our roof.  Do you think that they might have redesigned The Towers to make it into flats?

Hope you are well and enjoying life ;0




Great to hear from you, Nona. It's also good to have your confirmation that The Towers was still standing in 1974. What date do you think your photo would have been?

The building must have been divided into separate living quarters at the end of the 1930s, as Eric and Dorothy Walch ran it as a boarding house then (see my comment to the "Les Fisher"entry).  My uncle, Leslie Warren is on the Jurors List as living there in 1940 after his wife and children went back to England. During the war The Towers is said to have been used as a Japanese officers' mess. I have a letter to his daughter, mentioned by me on another thread, relating how the local British children used the house as their "play castle" in the 1950s, throwing stones down the chimney in imitation of the Japanese dropping bombs. The house must have been an empty shell at the time. I don't have any record of what happened to it after that, so your memories and photos are very valuable. I assume it still had its "castle" appearance when your family lived there, do you know?

I will check if I still have your email address for extra news.

Looking at the upper section of Broadwood Road in a 1970 map that I uploaded recently (in error) it seems that The Towers itself had already been knocked down and replaced by two buildings - 20 -20A and 20B-C Broadwood Road - maybe blocks of flats. I also have an image of a different, more detailed map of similar date that shows the same outlines. I will look for it.

1a broadwood road
1a broadwood road, by jill

Here is the map I referred to in the previous post. The marginal identification is also C-214-NW and it shows two buildings designated 20, 20A, 20B and 20C in the position where, I believe, The Towers, no. 20 Broadwood Road used to stand. The map is more finely drawn and with more detail than the above map. It seems to be larger scale and does not include the Happy Valley Racecourse. Unfortunately I didn't make a record of the date of the map when I took the photograph. I can't see no. 22. Nona, if this map brings back memories of anything in particular, please let me know!

broadwood road 1970
broadwood road 1970, by jill