2 Connaught Road / New Oriental Building [1898-c.1955]

Submitted by David on Wed, 09/02/2009 - 09:24
Current condition
Demolished / No longer exists
Date completed
(Day & Month are approximate.)
Date closed / demolished
(Day, Month, & Year are approximate.)

The building was completed in 1898, and was originally just known by its address: 2 Connaught Road

In 1939 it was sold to a new Japanese owner, and renamed: New Oriental Building

Later place(s) at this location

Photos that show this Place


Not sure but this building may have had something to do with the New Oriental Bank that folded in the 1890s. The Bank was the first note issuing institution in Hong Kong.

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The 1899 PWD AR says:

The handsome Offices of the United Telegraph Companies next the Hongkong Club were completed and occupied during the year, also a large block of buildings adjoining it on the East [ie this building], next to Messrs. Butterfield & Swire's Offices.

We've got a couple of sources above giving the completion date as 1898, so I'll leave it at 1898 for now.

I tried a search for 'oriental' in the HK newspapers, 1897-1899. I didn't find any mention of this building, though of course it may not have had this name originally.

I've set the dates:

  • Completion: I received this very prompt reply from HK Land confirming the date: "As per our record, the first site to be developed on the Central Reclamation was Marine Lot 278 at No. 2 on the then newly formed Connaught Road, where a building that eventually came to be known as the New Oriental was completed in 1898. It was a 4-storey building and was Hongkong Land's first building completed on the new reclamation.  However, there is no record of who the architects were for this building."
  • Demolition: I've put 1963 as an estimate, because it's already been demolished in this photo, dated 1963:
    1963 Central Aerial View

Looks like the demolition date should be earlier than my current guess of 1963. The building has already been demolished in this photo, estimated to be from 1954. I've set the demolition date to be 1953 - if anyone can confirm the date, please let me know. (I've tried searches for oriental building and new oriental in the newspapers for 1945-60, but no luck)

2 Connaught Road (Later New Oriental Building)


Marine Lot 278 Acquired 12th October 1896 for HKD67,441


Completed 1898, designed by Architects Palmer & Turner

                Originally four stories, 5th Story added mid construction due to strong demand from tenants

Offices for

                Carlowitz & Co

Hamburg based China Export, Import and Bank Compagnie

                German Club leased part of Top Floor as did Japanese Consulate


Sold 10th June 1939 to Toshihiko Eto

                -possibly to spy on dockyards?


Mr Eto declared enemy alien after WW2, property passed to Hong Kong’s administrator of Japanese property

Became temporary headquarters of Hong Kong police until building in Arsenal Street was completed


Building sold in October 1954 to Kwong Hing Investment House

Demolished to become car parks until construction of Furama - I would change demolishment date to 1955-01-01

As mentioned above, Toshihiko Ito, a Japanese publisher purchased the New Oriental Building in June 1939. China Mail dated 26 June 1939 indicates the purchase of the building was connected, inter alia, with the establishment of an English language newspaper publication. On another photo from the same era the word "NIPPO.. " can be viewed in bold letters on the ground floor of the building. (Update: "NIPPO" was the cable address.)

In the photo below, the Japanese flag flies from the top floor of the consulate.

New Oriental Building
New Oriental Building, by uwm

Hong Kong Sunday Herald 1 June 1947

Before the war, all Hong Kong Police departments were at Central Police Station but at Liberation, its Administration Section moved to the HSBC Building. In October 1945, this department and several others moved into the New Oriental Building which had then come under the control of the Custodian of Property as an ex-Japanese owned newspaper office. 

Altogether, ten departments of Police are housed, including the C.I.D., Special Branch, Fingerprint & Photographic Bureau, Immigration, Registration and Stores.

(The Hong Kong News also had its Head Office at 2 Nakasumiyoshi-dori [Connaught Road Central] during the Occupation.)