King Yin Lei, 45 Stubbs Road [1937- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

King Yin Lei, 45 Stubbs Road [1937- ]

Current condition: 
In use
Date Place completed: 
c.1937-01-01 (Month, Day are approximate)

Photos that show this place


Thought I would add this little one because 80skid mentioned it the other day, and also someone was after pictures of houses in the mid-levels. Not sure if this is strictly mid-levels (maybe midlevels-east?) but certainly been around for a while and is currently missing its roof thanks to a very sly and cynical owner.

This shot is a screen shot from Enter the Dragon starring Bruce Lee. The mansion was used to represent the baddy's hideout (in reality the hideout was another demolished house and grounds now occupied by the American Club in Tai Tam).

More information on the Conservancy Association and Wikipedia websites.

I was near here not so long ago and noticed that the Govt have managed to restore the roof, albeit the tiles don't look as dark as the original, however suffice to say it looks like the restoration to its former glory is going well.

More details on the repair work over at Phil's site.

I was so excited to see your photos of the restoration progress on this building. I have been trying to get a progress update for some time and the last images I had were of the roof covered in a tarp. This property has very significant history to us as my husband's great grandfather was an original owner. I hope that you will keep an update of further progress from time to time.

Hi AyshaT,

It's great to hear from the family who built King Yin Lei! I grew up just up the hill from there and passed it daily when I was a child; I've got a great fondness for the building. Watching construction workers hack at it with sledgehammers and pickaxes was the worst vandalism I've witnessed.
I'm a bit shocked if the government has rebuffed your family's attempts to give some historical context to the building. You should really contact Jack Chan, Commissioner for Heritage, at (852) 2848-2104 - I don't have an email address. I'm sure that as a descendent of the original owners they'd help you out with photos etc, and be interested in your family's opinion in the building's refurbishment and reopening.

So was your great grandfather also known as Shum Yat-chor? These are some details of the house's construction compiled by the government for Hong Kong's parliament:


 The house was built by Mrs. Shum Li Po-lun (), the granddaughter of the famous Chinese merchant, Mr. Li Sing ( ), whose company was the first to apply western style management and to join the Hong Kong Chinese Chamber of Commerce in the 19th century; and the daughter of Li Po-chun ( 寶樁 ), the famous merchant in Hong Kong who had devoted himself to a number of social welfare activities and educational events such as primary and secondary schools, health centre and so on.


 3.   Her husband Shum Yat-chor ( 岑日初 ) was a herbalist who practised in Australia.  Mr. Shum sent back bank drafts from Australia to his wife in Hong Kong, however, she did not cash the bank drafts but instead kept them in her safety deposit box.  On her husband’s return, he asked his wife about the money he sent from Australia.  The reason for not cashing the bank drafts at once was that she realized there was a big windfall; either gold or Australian dollar was rising sharply in value against the Hong Kong currency.  Therefore, Mr. Shum agreed with her to use the money to buy a piece of land and build a house. The house cost HK$500,000 which was very expensive for that time, the most expensive part being the site formation and the retaining wall.  She won the open auction in 1936 for the site by bidding the highest annual crown rent at $1069 per annum rent which leased for 75 years from 10 August 1936, and her friend, Mr. Chan Nam-cheong JP was the project manager and also her adviser for the site, who probably recommended such an auspicious location.

  5.   In 1977, after the death of Mr. Shum, Mrs. Shum sold the house to the Yau family.  The house was trading under the name ‘Yeo Qhen Man and Sons Co. Ltd’ in 1978.  The Yaus are one of the famous merchant clans which operated the dried fruit business in Hong Kong.

 The house was valued at a cost of HK$24,000,000 in 1977, and the new owner, Mr. Yau Qhei-man named the house The Ultamia ( 景賢 ), literally “House of Virtuous View”, which is inscribed on the Pai-lau ( ) of the building.  It might reflect both favourable view and moral virtue for residence.  The decoration and adornment of the house are palatal and luxurious, especially the zi-tan ( 紫檀 ) wooden furniture.

this is a links to a detailed examination of the building and its history:

Perhaps you could share some of the photos with us here?

Yes, please post the photos.  I can contact the architectural community to let them know where they can find them.

Does this mean that the lease runs out in 2011 ?  Is that one of the reasons it was on the market - because it was about to revert to the Government anyway?

thanks for your kind message and detailed information of KYL which I do have on record and which is, I believe to be fairly accurate. The mountain of information that I have from both internet and the remaining family is quite large but finding the time to piece it all together is the problem.

Regular readers will notice some changes in the text above. AyshaT asked for her comments regarding family history to be deleted, which I have done. Hopefully she will be able to share more information about the history of the building at some time in the future.

Regards, David.

   The Commissioner for Heritage's Office of the Development Bureau will organise 10 open days at King Yin Lei falling on weekends from April 2 to 17 and the Easter holidays (April 22 to 25) for the public to visit the building.

     A spokesman for the Development Bureau today (March 23) said that following the completion of restoration works, the next challenge is to find a suitable use for King Yin Lei that will meet the objectives of sustainable heritage conservation and public accessibility.

     "We will include King Yin Lei in the third batch of historic buildings under the Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme (Revitalisation Scheme) to identify the most suitable use for the building under the management of a non-profit-making organisation.  Details of the third batch of the revitalisation scheme will be announced in June.

The "Batch III of Revitalisation Scheme" has been announced, including King Yin Lei. The appendices of the resource kit include maps, plans, photos and architectural drawings of the King Yin Lei buildings and site.

Regards, David

Here's a link to a Chinese site for some photos taken during the Apr 2011 open days:

Unfortunately you need to accumulate a certain number of points on the forums before you can download them in their original size.

The mansion was completed around 1937 and was originally called Hei Lo. The first owner was Mrs Shum Li Po-lun whose husband Mr. Shum Yat-Chor was a noted merchant and philanthropist. The mansion was sold to the Yow family in 1978. (Information from a plaque at the entrance to the mansion).

Just a little information to set the record straight about KYL Mansion. It was designed by my grandfather, Arthur Robert Fenton Raven for his clients and was supposed to duplicate as near as possible a house they owned in China. The Mr Cheong named as project manager in the original article was, according to my mother, just the office boy. I remember meeting him on several occasions when I visited my grandfather at the office. My grandfather first arrived in Hong Kong in 1903 and my mother and her sister were born in Hong Kong. My aunt passed away in Australia 2 years ago, but my mother still resides in Hong Kong and this year in November will celebrate her 100th birthday. I have a book full of memories of my own from 40 years in Hong Kong, but my mother's go back 100 years. I hope to publish them one day. I hope this is of interest.

Very interesting. Thank you.