Carmelite Monastery, Stanley [1937- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Carmelite Monastery, Stanley [1937- ]

Current condition: 
In use
Date Place completed: 

Completion date from the Carmeilte website:

[...] our monastery in Stanley was finally established in 1937.


Arthur May tells us that about a week after the arrest of Selwyn-Clarke and others on May 2, 1943 those people seeking to carry on his clandestine relief work found a new way of contacting Stanley - before the arrests all necessary messages had gone through the French Hospital where Selwyn-Clarke was living. May set up communication though the Carmelite Convent and it seems that engineer Robert Cryan was also involved in taking this route through to Franklin Gimson in Stanley. (May Papers, Hong Kong University Special Collections, A4). A note made by G. B. Endacott in an interview with May for his book Hong Kong Eclipse clarifies that the Mother Superior of the Convent was involved in getting messages to the Camp and Prison (HK PRO, HKMS 100 1-6).

Barbara Anslow's diary entry for August 29, 1945 gives an excellent description of the Convent.

To check that the route into Stanley through the Carmelite Convent could be established, May 'swam around the perimeter of the barbed wire & electric fence & avoiding the guards climbed under the fence into the Camp to make a satisfactory meeting with Franklin Gimson, & open a new route which remained open even after I was interned'. (Arthur May Papers, A-29)

May held a number of Hong Kong swimming records before the war and a story has it that he once dead-heated a world record with Olympic champion Johnny Weismuller (who was also the most famous film Tarzan). Weismuller was so piqued he got back in the pool and beat the just-established record.

I would be sad to think this story is apocryphal! In any case, as according to Wikipedia, Weissmuller broke world records 67 times the particular swim would be hard to track down.