Commodore's Bungalow [1897-????] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Commodore's Bungalow [1897-????]

Current condition: 
Demolished / No longer exists
Date Place completed: 

date from foundation stone

Photos that show this place


Foundation stone found in jungle says: The Stone Was Laid By Mrs Swinton Holland on January 1897.

Swinton Colthurst Hollland (1844-1922) served in the Royal Navy from 1857 and retired in 1908.  He was an Aide de Camp to Queen Victoria in 1895, Commodore-in-Charge at Hong Kong in 1896 and Superintendent of Chatham Dockyard from 1899-1902.  He died on the 8th June 1922 and was buried at sea on the 12th June 1922.  Swinton Colthurst Holland had a son called Cedric Swinton Holland. (source:

Hi there,

The stone should be moved to a museum before more damage is done to it.  I wonder who would listen and who should we contact.  Mr Tim Ko?  Or Dr. Joseph Sun Pao Ting?

Thanks & Best Regards,


I guess the AMO shld be responsible, though technically I suppose it was naval property. It's safe where it is for now - anyone would struggle to find it (I have the scratches to prove it!). it literally weighs a ton so it's going nowhere. Any suggestions plse go ahead, I can show someone where it is

What a great find - proper Indiana Jones archeology!

About the building name, do you mean it was the commodore's bungalow, ie the bungalow where the commodore lived? Or was that its name, "Commodore's Bungalow"?

I wonder what other goodies are hidden among the Peak undergrowth?

Regards, David

Thanks, it was luck though I always keep any eye out for any boundary stones etc...! I couldn't believe it when I could read the inscription. If you look on the 1924 map, the Commodore's Bungalow is marked as one of the Admiralty bungalows - I don't know how lived in the other house 6. Will the Government state what would be― (a.) The capital cost of erecting lamp-posts, with the necessary gas-burners and appliances and connections with the gas-main at the following places at the Peak, namely:― (i.) On the slope up to Plunkett's Gap, near the approach to the Commodore's Bungalow; (1904 legco records)

Hi there,

I guess the Royal Navy does not fit in anymore here as the plot of land had most likely been ceded to the local Government before their retreat, like other Navy lots.

So the site had not been redeveloped?

Best Regards,


There's a decent account of the ceremony in the China Mail on Jan. 27, 1897 - I haven't worked out how to copy it here but found through the library online search. I wonder if the family still have the silver trowel and mallet the commodore's wife was presented with.

It appears that the foundations of the Commodore's Bungalow (or a later incarnation) is still there on the ridgeway between Mountain Court and Cloudridge. My guess is when they build Cloudridge (sometime in the 60s?) to replace the naval bungalows, they carved out a new site lower in the ridge to allow road access from Plunkett's Road and left that lot to the jungle.
Again, my guess is they rebuilt the Commodore's Bungalow in the 1950s and kept the foundation stone as a feature of the garden or a wall etc.  When that was demolished and abandoned, they either pushed the stone down the slope or it fell down.

Anyone know when Cloudridge was built? or if they rebuilt the naval properties after the war?

Interesting to hear there are still some other remnants of the old building. I looked at the usual sources, but can't see a mention of when Cloudridge was built. 

Regards, David

I found the stone in 1961/2 on the floor of what remained of the bungalow on the ridge between Findlay Road and Plunkets Road. Further down the ridge were two more bungalows then used as quarters for RAMC staff working at Mount Kellett Hospital. The hospital was still Naval property i.e.'HMS Mount Kellett' although at the time run by the army. I do have photo's of the stone and other Bungalows at that time if needed. Circa July 1962 a Typhoon sent tree through the roof of the lower bungalow and the site was vacated and I assume, abandoned. I regularly used to use the floor of the Commodore's bungalow as a viewing point, watching movements in the harbour and planes in and out of Kai Tak. Views were spectacular, north over Kowloon and New Territories and south over the Islands and south China Sea. One of the more spectacular sights from the Hospital was one day watching the Fishing Fleet leaving Aberdeen Harbour and stretching a mile or more out to sea.

It's good to hear they were still standing in the 1960s. We've got some more photos of the area at:

If you can add any more we'll enjoy seeing them. Here's how to upload a photo:

Regards, David

Commodore's Bungalow Foundation Stone - 26 January 1897
Commodore's Bungalow Foundation Stone - 26 January 1897, by Moddsey


Thank you for the explanation as I was getting muddled between the two naval bungalows and their locations. I think Admiralty Bungalow(s), the 2 houses mentioned (Farm Lot No. 63)  as viewed here and here were erected initially for the purpose of a Naval Sanitarium in the early1890s.

AL15_HKRS156-1-1868.JPG, by HKRS156-1-1868


AL15_Hong Kong Dockyard ADM 140:1484-1911.png
AL15_Hong Kong Dockyard ADM 140:1484-1911.png, by Hong Kong Dockyard ADM 140/1484-1911

Hong Kong Dockyard ADM 140/1484-1911




we visit the site today, find Foundation stone condition good and find one Naval boundary stone, but it don't look alike the other stone on 1910 it may be older?? just few step go down hill!!

Commodore's Bungalow Foundation stone 2021
Commodore's Bungalow Foundation stone 2021, by Ebee Lam


Commodore's Bungalow Naval Boundary Stone
Commodore's Bungalow Naval Boundary Stone, by Ebee Lam
Commodore's Bungalow Naval Boundary Stone
Commodore's Bungalow Naval Boundary Stone, by Ebee Lam

floor tile-2.jpg
floor tile-2.jpg, by James Ho


floor tile.jpg
floor tile.jpg, by James Ho

Good to see the floor tiles can still be seen - I wonder which part of the building they were used in?

Thanks everyone for the usual impressive fossicking, which I have found in time to be able to tease out a minor issue in my history of HMS Tamar - why did the Tamar NOT become the nominal depot ship until 17 March 1898 and the Victor Emmanuel continue in the role until then?  Looks like having a new bungalow for Mrs Holland may have been a minor influence (the major one was probably that the Tamar sprang a serious leak shortly after re-commissioning) but good to know.

For info, there is a splendid photo at (Gurner was Commodore 1918-1921).

The image shows that the Commodore's bungalow, marked by a flagstaff flying the White Ensign and the Commodore's broad pendant, was truly at the top of the plot up a steep flight of stairs. Curiously, in 1918 when Commodore and Mrs Gurner had an 'At Home', it is recorded as having been held at HMS Tamar and not at the Commdore's Bungalow (HK Telegraph, 1918-12-19, p.8), though what to make of the combination of the photo and the location of the 'At Home', who knows?

Evidently by 1952, with the adoption of the ex-Iddesleigh as the Commodore's House, the building up on the Peak had ceased being used despite the images showing it still standing at that time. Presumably it must have been sufficiently badly damaged during the Japanese occupation for the RN not to have repaired it and instead to have re-purposed Iddesleigh, which they'd commandeered when they got back in 1945 (q.v.


have a look for that docment from Director of public works 13th July 1946


Commodore's Residence 1946
Commodore's Residence 1946 , by Director of public Works