98 Wanchai Road

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 00:38

David mentioned that there was a Warren or Olsen at an even number of Wanchai Road in 1918 - and since my digging at the PRO yesterday involved me finding the odd numbers of the same road in the Rate Books for that year, I thought I'd post this.  It probably should be with another posting, but I'm pretty proud of myself for just getting this far.  Will read the instructions next.  (Sorry David!)

Anyhow, 1918-19 Rate Book - some earlier years had both leaseholder/owner and occupant listed, but not at this stage. 

The rather faint date is 22.03.19 - not that clear on the original either

Date picture taken
22 Mar 1919
Shows place(s)


Thanks so much. You have answered some important questions for me. My grandfather is the John Olson mentioned in the Rate Book. As part of a business settlement he gave a building on Wanchai Road to C.E.Warren and Co and the date of 22.02.19 fits very well as does the addition of Co Ltd..

It looks as if 98b had already been sold to a Chinese buyer whose name I cannot make out.

Your discovery stitches nicely into the death certs I have for my great grandfather, also named John Olson, whose address is given as 98b and who died there in 1918.  My great grandmother Ching Ah Fung died  in 1915  at 161 Wanchai Road and her death certificate shows my great grandfather as living at 98a.

Again thanks,


Yes, may I reiterate thanks to Patricia, who is working under her own book deadline. The faintly pencilled date of 22.03.19 is four days later than the registration date of 18.03.19 given on the land registry document for the transfer of 98A Wanchai Road from C.E. Warren & John Olson to C.E. Warren & Co. Ltd.. If my memory serves me right, I recall that there was a financial transaction involved in this transfer, and also with at least one other transfer of land, this time from Charles Warren, my grandfather, aged 47 in 1919, to his brother-in-law, John Olson, my half great-uncle, aged 35.  Like Sean I would have to dig into my less than orderly paper files in order to assemble the exact details. I hope to carry out more searches to find a fuller picture of the scenario, even if the full picture turns out to be elusive. I do recall mention by a Warren cousin of Charlie Olson being on the scene at 98 Wanchai Road in the 1920s, so I'd be surprised if he didn't retain a connection with this address, especially after the return of his sister Hannah (my grandmother and widow of Charles Warren) in 1923. I am still frustratingly unable to verify where she lived from that date till her departure from Hong Kong in 1941. Perhaps here?


Sean, you mention 161 Wanchai Road ... my guys own houses from around the 130s and then the 150s, so I've got the information on this house too. It was one of a group of 'European style' houses, all given house names. 161 in 1908/9 and 1918/19 (the two dates I've looked at) was "Merville", owned by one J. M. Murray. This would seem to cover your grandmother's period.

Sorry we have not met before! 

Obviously you seem to have similar links to old HK as I have. I don't know for sure but 96 A and B Wanchai Road seems to have been a base of some sort for  Olson family campusprobably from around 1890 to 1918.  I mentioned 161 because according to the death cert that is where my great grandmother died. I have no idea why as her husband - who i believe she lived with - resided at 98A.

It is perhaps easier to suggest that you have a quick scan through www.thehongkonglegacy.com which is a website I have created after more years than I care to think about.

There's an email address there and if you want to send me a query or add anything please do. You will see that I am very shy of detail of many things mainly I think because of the Eurasian link. Times were like that then.

Please feel free to use any info that might be useful to you on the website and if you think there is an area of mutual interest I would be happy to help/join in/listen.



Can someone tell me where these rate books are kept, what years they cover and if they are accessible to the general public? Is there a digitzed version anywhere, or can one get a search done by someone at the office where they are kept? I am interested in the years between about 1936 and 1939. Would any books still exist for those years? 



The old Rate Books are kept at the Public Records Office and are accessible to the general public. They aren't digitised. The best thing would be to contact the PRO through http://www.grs.gov.hk/ws/english/contactus.htm  They have a Rate Book index which would record whether they have the years 1936-1939 for the area in which you're interested. I'm sure they would give you that information for free. If you wanted photos of the pages for a particular address such as the one posted by Patricia, they might supply them for a charge. I don't know what their current policy is about conducting lengthier searches. Worth asking anyway. 



Land Registry said they had no current record but refered me to the mapping dept. I got this back from them some time back.There was no detail on the maps that would help. I think the rate books might be my last hope if I can find them.

After going through our map records, the building with house number "4" along the road "Moreton Terrace" was once appeared on the first edition or our archived survey sheet No.197-SW-13 (scale 1:600) since 1959 until the structure was found demolished on its fifth edition in 1970.  At the same location, a building with house number "7" was found shown on another series archived survey sheet No. 11-SE-11A (scale 1:1 000) in 1976 until it was demolished again in 2011.   The site is still under building construction today.  

Thanks Jill, I sent an e-mail off to the Records Management Office this morning so we'll se if they can help. I'll keep you all posted. Thanks for the continuing support in this quest of mine. It's frustrating to get so close and not be able to fill in the last piece of the puzzle.