Photos of Old Houses | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Photos of Old Houses

When I lived in HK in the 70s, I remember seeing a few large, old, castle-like houses that people lived in. In the mid-levels, for example. I would love to find photos of these if anyone knows of any. I'm sure they're all gone now but they seemed wonderful and very mysterious. Anyone know what I'm talking about?


I don't seen anything in that area on our photo map, so maybe try a search for photos in the PRO or HKPL instead.

One of them could be Euston Castle on Bonham Road, one of 3 mansions built by Eu Tong Sen.

King Yin Lei

I remember Euston. It was very palatial and was located at 44-46 Bonham Road. It had a cast-iron gate with an arch on top and dated 1931. I think today, the site is now a children's playground.

Source: Hong Kong Going and Gone - Photographic Survey of Western Victoria produced by the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch printed in 1980. A photo of the castle and the gate is on Pg 61.


1950s Eucliff
its name, Eucliff was located on a cliff on the western side of Repulse Bay Beach. I think it was the scene of atrocities commited by the Japanese Army during the Battle of Hong Kong.


Hi there,

The Euston is now called the Euston Court, a residential estate with two high-rise towers.   I have never been to the inside so I have no idea if there are any old items of the Euston being used as decoration of the new estate.  I have a faint impression of they have a very short stone by the pavement with some markings, however.  I'll try to remember to take some photos next time.

Best Regards,


Speaking of Eu Tong Sen. Does anyone know if there are any photos of Sirmio in existance? All I know is that it was on the north shore of Tolo harbour. Was also used by the Japanese during the war (to launch a counter attack against guerrillas in Sha Lo Tung) and that Dan Waters visited once.

There are four colour pictures of Sirmio in the book Colonial Buildings of Hong Kong published in HK by Softrepublic. Text in Chinese. The other Eu residences are also featured.

The SCMP did a spread just before it was demolished along with its history etc. Inevitably it was said to be haunted

Eu Tong-Sen

Thanks for the responses. There was one house in particular I was thinking of, on or above Robinson Road in the mid-levels. I don't think either of Eu Tong-Sen's were in that area. Bummer... I would really love to find a picture of it or the site. I may just have to wait till I can make a trip next.

Hi there,

Here's two photos about the stone marker.  It is a very small marker, even smaller than many mile stones alone roads in the New Territories.

Marked A H

Best Regards,


The only thing I could think of with AH is the Alice Memorial Hospital (forerunner to the Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital) which was located on Bonham Road. I cannot say for sure if the old hospital was close-by to Euston.

Hi there,

Before the Hospital was relocated to Taipo, it was located at around where Bonham Road joins Hospital Road.  But Alice Memorial Hospital was on Breezy Path ahd Bonham, up the slope.  I don't know if there is a previous site of the hospital, however.  I'm much to young for that. :-P

Best Regards,


I too am looking for old pictures. Of St Joseph Terrace. (no relation to St Joseph Path).  This area no longer exists but in the 70's it could be reached either via Robinson Road or Caine Road, next to the cathedral. There were beautiful old homes of "neo-gothic" style with spiral external stone staircases. (My memory is hazy and may have exaggerated the beauty of these buildings. To a 10 year old though, those staircases may as well be the spiral staircases of Chambord..) They stood right next to Sacred Heart Primary school and were not far from Raimondi College.

Having left HK to return only 30 years later,  I found that my previous Midlevel haunts had all been razed and the new high rises unreconcilable. I wish Anonymous better luck in locating your castle.

One old building that still stands at Robinson Road is no 15 Robinson Rd.  It is an old house but not castle-like. I came across it on the Govt Grading link posted by 80skid. Thanks for the memories.


Good find Moddsey.

Using the Google/Life source (thank you 80skid) one can find pictures of Eucliff in Repulse bay.

Hi Sophia, a book (in Chinese) has 3 sketches (done in pencil by Mr. KONG Kai Ming) of buildings on St. Joseph's Terrace.  The English title of the book is "Landmarks of Hong Kong (Further Artistic Impressions) and its ISBN is 962-7247-08-1.

Regarding the three Eu castles, Mr. Tom BRIGGS did a sketch on each and included them in "Hong Kong: The Vanishing City Vol. II" and "Hongkong's New Territories: A Land Between", published by the South China Morning Post in the late 1970s.  Plans of all floors of Euston (very small in size) was included in a journal article written by Professor Stephanie CHUNG Po Yin of the HK Baptist University, but unfortunately I don't recall which journal it is.


Is this the same Tom Briggs who has some excellent photographs from HK in the 60's?

Tom Briggs on PBase

Hi philk, the Tom BRIGGS who did the sketches has a middle initial of "L" and taught at the King George V School in the 1980s.  I am not sure if the photographer is the same person.

Some additional information on my earlier post:

The book with Mr. KONG's sketches is actually bilingual (Chinese and English) and was published by the HK Baptist University in the mid-1990s.

The journal article by Prof. CHUNG appears in Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 39, No. 3 (2005) and is titled "The Transformation of an Overseas Chinese Family--Three Generations of the Eu Tong Sen Family, 1822-1941".

I found the book "Landmarks of Hong Kong" and indeed on page 98 were sketches of St Joseph Terrace. The first sktech shows the exact building where I played hide-and-seek as a kid. As this was not a well known landmark, references and photographs are far and few - a big thank you to C for picking this up!

You are very welcome!  Glad I could help.  :)

I am one of Eu Tong Sen's grandsons.  A book on his life with more photo's was just published in Singapore (I don't have the details, my copy is in HK and I am currently not) but it has more pictures and history of (all of) the homes in South East Asia.  If you want more details, email me and I will try to get you the details when I get back to Hong Kong.  In the meantime, I am interested in any more photo's that you might have.



Thanks for writing. Yes please, we'd be interested to get details of the new book you mentioned. I'd also be interested to know the exact location of Sirmio.

Unfortunately I don't think we have any more photos of the Eu Tong Sen houses, except for those listed above.

Regards, David

Hi there,

Some mentioned the current location of the Fortune Garden in Ting Kok Road, Taipo, was where the Sirmio was located.  That would be somewhere between the Industrial Estate and Sam Mun Tsai.  This newsletter also mentioned Sam Mun Tsai and the Villa.

Best Regards,


Hi Douglas,

Footnotes in the article by Prof. CHUNG at the Hong Kong Baptist University (see my post above) stated that (1) Mr. NG Ka-wing, a student in architecture in the 1980s, had made detailed photographic records of Euston and Eucliff before their demolition; (2) Mr. TSANG Wing-kong, an architect in charge of the demolition of Euston, kept floor plans of the castle.

In addition, Ms. WONG Wo Bik also took photographs of the two castles: (The page has her e-mail address).

I sometimes encounter photographs of Sirmio on discussion forums in Chinese (e.g. here: I am curious about the interior of this castle.


I've set an approximate place marker for Sirmio, based on T's description. So if future readers want to see the latest photos we have for Eu Tong Sen's residences, check these places:

Also check the Flickr photostream from user aetse. They have posted a wonderful collection of photos of old Hong Kong buildings, including all the buildings mentioned in this thread!

It will be worth working through those photos to see which should be added to as new 'Image (external)' entries.

I think the Sirmio marker is correct. I remember reading a Govt construction doc that referred to the "Sirmio headland" which was due NE of the Tai Po landfill site. The landfill site is now the golf driving range located to the left of your marker on the map.

David, Thank you very much for hunting this down. You made my day - these pictures of SJT brought back delightful childhood memories ! They were probably taken just before its demolition as the buildings seem to be uninhabited. SJT had definitely seen happier times with balconies full of blooming plants and joyful children playing in the courtyard.  I would vote to bring these SJT pictures into Gwulo as external images.

I savor every picture of Midlevels from this album as this is the gracious Midlevels that I knew and loved - a far cry from the concrete skyscrapers of today.

Best, Sophia

Sophia, would you like to take the lead on creating the places and external images for this album? They are great photos, but I don't recognise a lot of the buildings around mid-levels. You could either work through the whole album, or just focus on mid-levels photos, or just do the ones you're interested in - it all helps. So far I've only added the Sirmio photos.

Regards, David

David, I had started with St Joseph's Terrace and will over time work on Mid-Levels buildings from this album. I had to solicit the help of my siblings who do not live in HK and will take us a while. It should be fun though.

Regards, Sophia

Thanks Sophia, that's great news. I hope you'll also jot down any memories you and your family have of the buildings you record - it will be great to learn the stories behind the buildings.

I've noticed a few of those ghostly outlines in a couple of places in mid-levels - where the old building has been demolished, but the outline of the end wall can still be seen on the adjacent building. I'm curious to see if any of those buildings will be among the ones you find.

regards, David

Wow!!!! The photos on Flickr by aetse is a huge find! Huge thanks to aetse whoever he/she is, and the person who posted the link. I'm the original poster of this thread and found the old building I'd I'd wanted to see.  It's the one at 103 Robinson Rd.  I used to walk by this place all the time... 27 years ago.  Sure brought back memories.  I'll be in HK in about six weeks and will visit the area, even though I'm sure it will have changed for the worse :(

Is that the slope up to Ying Wah girls' school? I pass there regularly on the no 23 bus. On the opposite side of the road there's an old building, #80, still standing, but not much else in the area that's still old.

I've made a place for it here - if you find any other photos, please could you add them to it?

Many thanks, David

Yes, this was close to and opposite the street from Ying Wah. When I was a kid I used to wait at the bus-stop across from this building all the time. Can't tell you how trippy it is seeing it now!

Who built Eucliff or Euston? or the Architect 

There used to be a pretty grand house, not sure how old it was, at 41 Po Shan Road. Any idea who built this place or lived there? I saw it back in the 70's and have no idea if it's still standing.

Hi, I just checked the map, and it looks like Po Shan Rd tops out at #30. Any chance you're thinking of this building? It was at 41A Conduit Rd, on the junction with Po Shan Rd.

Regards, David

Yes, I was wrong about the address, it was 24 Po Shan Rd according to my mother. A pretty nice place from what we both remember. Any idea about its history?

I've made a new place for it here, in case any comments or photos arrive in future.

The 'Faces and Places' exhibition sounds well worth a visit:

The RAS photographic survey was initiated in May 1974 at the
suggestion of Mr. Ian Diamond, the then Honorary Secretary of the
RAS (Hong Kong Branch). The survey covering Western District
and Mid-Levels was to last for nearly four years. The last batch of
photographs was taken in about 1978. The photographers, all
volunteers, came from both the RAS (Hong Kong Branch) and the
South China Athletic Association Camera Club. The Western
District and the Mid-Levels were selected as the first areas for the
survey due to the Government’s planned redevelopments.
The purpose of the survey was not to form a collection of old
photographs of Hong Kong, but to record architecture, activities
and common scenes, all of which were rapidly disappearing.
These things were familiar to those who lived there at that time but would not necessarily have been seen as significant because of their very familiarity. In the event, about 2,000 photographs were
taken, which included buildings, various structures, architectural
features, street scenes, customs, trades as well as people. Apart
from the obvious desirability of preserving a record of Hong Kong
in the mid-1970s, the survey team also anticipated that the
photographs would have a growing future value to researchers and
others interested in Hong Kong life. What had been recorded in
the photographs were not “the great and the good”, it was believed
that the total ensemble should be recognized including the less
significant vernacular architecture and the ordinary people.

The exhibition will be held at:

12/09 – 14/10/2009
2/F, Headquarters Block, Central Police Station Compound
10 Hollywood Road, Central
Mondays to Sundays – 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

17/10 – 11/11/2009
Thematic Exhibition Gallery, G/F, Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre
Kowloon Park, Haiphong Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Mondays to Saturdays (except Thursdays) – 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sundays and Public Holidays – 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Closed on Thursdays.

Here are more details of the exhibition and associated public talks.

I took these photos in the 80's. 103 Robinson Road was owned by MW Lo of the law firm Lo & Lo. His brother Sir MK Lo, son-in-law of Sir Robert Ho Tung has a house next door at 111 Robinson Road. Another brother M H Lo lived in 62 Conduit Road, just behind. The Lo family had the whole area. 103 Robinson Rd had a underground bomb shelter, just near the entrance. The building, in my memories of the 1950's was painted in yellow color. MW Lo's daughter now lives in Switzerland.


Andrew Tse

Thank you for uploading your pictures of Hong Kong online and sharing with all. It brings back wonderful memories of a bygone era.

Is the yellow building the one at 111 Robinson Rd?

Very best picture of the front of Euston in Bonham Road from the exhibition

Worth taking a look.

This is a great website.  Thank you, David.

I lived in Hong Kong in the 1970s and I would drive up to the Peak with my family.  We used to pass the houses of the British taipans.  I found this picture on aetse's Flickr page.

It is the former house of the Standard Chartered taipan.  Does anyone know the address?  I know it is Belvedere, Plantation Rd.  I think it is 57, but cannot see the sign clearly.  There is a townhouse development on Plantation Road called Belvedere today. 

Where the other taipans live on the Peak?  I recall the Standard Charterd, HSBC taipan and the taipan of one other British company all lived along Plantation Road in the 1960s/1970s.  I am very interested in these old houses, though I think most have been demolished.

Alastair, glad to hear you're enjoying the site.

I've made a new place for the Belvedere, to collect any further information about the building.

Please let us know if you find out more about the other Taipans' houses.

Regards, David

This Saturday, 17th Oct, the 'Faces & Places' exhibition of photos of old Mid-Levels buildings opens in the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre,
Kowloon Park, at 10am. I saw it a few weeks ago at the old Central Police Station, and it was very good.

Also this Saturday, and also at the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre (in the lecture hall), there will be a free talk in English on the 'Historical Development of the Central District', from 11-12.

I'll go along, as the talk sounds interesting, and it's a good excuse for a second look at the photos. If you're going along too, please say hello - I've got a fresh crew-cut today, so hopefully will be easy to spot. And if anyone wants to grab a quick lunch afterwards, I'm up for that too.

Regards, David

I believe the film 《情場如戰場》(The Battle of Love, 1957) was shot on location in Eucliff. Both the interior and exterior were filmed. The TVB drama 儂本多情 (Once upon a time an ordinary girl, 1984) was filmed on location using the exterior.

Could I please know the ISBN of the book? I"m interested in researching on the Eu family and will visit Malaysia soon so I hope to purchase that book as well.

I'm not sure which book you're looking for, but if you type the title into Google Books you can usually find the ISBN there.