1, Ladder Street Terrace [????-????]

Submitted by David on Wed, 04/18/2012 - 22:10
Current condition
Demolished / No longer exists

Given as residential address of John Olson at various times.

Photos that show this Place



1, Ladder Street Terrace is the address on the birth certificates of my uncle, Leslie Warren and my aunt, Evelyn Warren, born 26 August 1900 and 26 November 1901 respectively. I think that the two younger Olson children were also born there in the late 1880s. According to the Land Registry Office, John Olson probably bought the house when newly built and was the first owner.  Louis Kirchmann, also a publican and perhaps a friend, seems to have bought no. 4. Tony Lam told me that Ladder Street Terrace would have had a sea view at that time.


It is possible the building labeled A in the below photo is 1 Ladder Street Terrace. It is situated below Caine Road and East of Ladder Street, although with the angle it is hard to be 100% certain. It was almost certainly demolished after the plague outbreak and replace with tenement houses. 

Tai Ping Shan Panorama
Tai Ping Shan Panorama, by Herostratus

The Land Registry records show that Ladder Street Terrace no. 1 was in the ownership of John Olson from 1885, when newly built, until his death in 1918. Ladder Street Terrace was bombed flat during the war. My understanding is that it was not in the worst of the plague districts in 1894. The Olson and/or Warren families were living there continuously from 1885 to at least 1901. Four family babies were born there, the last of whom was my aunt, Evelyn Warren, at the end of 1901. Ladder Street Terrace is pretty near the top of Ladder Street. I have a 2013 photo showing the tower buildings of the street above looming behind it.

Having drawn some lines on maps I think the building marked as A is too far down the slope, somewhere in the location of the junction of Bridges and Ladder Street. Ladder Street Terrace would have been behind the building marked F.  

Ladder Street Terrace consisted of two rows of four houses: No 1-4 was the lower block and 5-8 was the upper block. Here is a picture of the location c1910

Looking East towards Ladder Street Terrace
Looking East towards Ladder Street Terrace, by Herostratus

While Ladder Street Terrace was not resumed by the government, the entire Western side of Ladder Street between Caine Road and Square street was cleared due to the insanitary conditions found there.I wonder if this had anything to do with the move to Wanchai Road?

The lower block was destroyed during the war but the upper block survived until the mid/late 60's

A pic from the 1920s showing the upper and lower blocks of Ladder Street Terrace on the right hand side of the photo:

1920s Ladder St
1920s Ladder St, by moddsey

The same view in the 1950s. The Lower block has gone and been replaced by a new building, which survived until 2015

Ladder Street 1952, by foundslides

Google Earth view in 2015:


What a superb photograph of the two rows of houses - and indeed series of photos showing the time line. Well found, Herostratus! It’s fascinating to see the difference in style of the two rows. Do you have the date when the western side of Ladder Street was cleared?

I haven’t had access to the Ladies Directories prior to 1904, so can’t say for certain when the Olsons moved from Ladder Street Terrace to 33 Caine Road. If they stayed as long as 1900, living space would have been at a premium at Ladder Street Terrace with four Olson children alongside the Warren couple with a toddler and a baby on the way.

The move to Wanchai was driven by the expansion of the business and the availability of spacious premises that offered the opportunity to live above the shop. 98A Wanchai Road was bought by the company in 1911 – ie the two partners, Charles Warren and John Olson jnr.  98B was also rented by them. No doubt they would have liked to buy it if they had been able to. The C.E. Warren hardware factory had been located at 100-108 Wanchai Road since at least 1909.





The 1902 Ladies Directory is online here (Ladies Directory for Hong Kong starts at page 417) and a Mrs CE Warren is still listed at 1 Ladder Street Terrace for 1902. 

Taipinghan Resumption - The land was officially resumed by the government on the 26th September 1894, with the demolishment of buildings beginning in June 1895. I created a place here to show exactly what areas of Taipingshan were cleared.


Many thanks for the link to the 1902 Ladies Directory and the relevant page number. Great to have online access to that!  Is there also a 1903 Ladies Directory? In passing, I noted that the house called "Belvoir" is here given as 161 Wanchai Road (Baird; Tayler) whereas by 1915 the house "Merville" is no. 161 and Belvoir has become no. 165.

Re. the Taipingshan Resumption, my grandfather, Charles Warren arrived in Hong Kong in 1895 post-plague and got a job with the PWD as an overseer in the sanitary department. I can't help wondering if he was involved in the demolishment process.