Lane Crawford bakery (later Garden bakery), Stubbs Road [1938-c.1963]

Submitted by David on Sat, 11/03/2012 - 18:26
Current condition
Demolished / No longer exists
Date completed
Date closed / demolished
(Day, Month, & Year are approximate.)

We haven't seen an official address for this bakery other than "Stubbs Road", but from descriptions given this seems the likely location.

The opening date is taken from Brian's article about the bakery.


I asked Barbara Anslow about the access, as she lived very near here: 

Along the back (south side) of the building, there was a lane (Hau Tak Lane) between the building and the Muslim cemetery. We're guessing it was the access road to the Lane Crawford Bakery, where Brian Edgar's father worked. It's possible there was an entrance from Stubbs Road too / instead, but from some of the recent wartime diary entries that Brian has added, it seems more likely their vans would drive out along Hau Tak lane into Happy Valley. Just wondering if you have any memories of that, as I think you'd have been able to smell the bread baking from where you lived.

Barbara replied:

I can't remember knowing about Hau Tak Lane or the Bakery behind our building in Gap Road.   I would guess there was an entrance to the Bakery from Stubbs Road too.   I think I would have noticed if that Lane was wide enough for traffic, but could be wrong.

It was still used as a bakery in June 1942 as my father was offered his old job as manager! This would obviously not have been a positive development, and he succeeed in avoiding the offer and continuing his work baking bread for the hospitals.

Later in the war the bakery was shut and the building used to make military buttons, rattan baskets and salted fish. This presented a huge restoration problem after the war, but the work was done - the facts that the press carry complaints about bread and note a thriving black market in December 1945 and that my father didn't go on home leave until July 1946 (later than anyone else I'm aware of) suggest that it was a long time before the bakery was fully functional again. As far as I know it was still in operation when he left to work for the Garden Company some time in 1947/48.

More information:

A notice from the Food Controller during the hostilities (SCMP, December 13, 1941) describes the bakery's location  as 'Stubbs Road (below Hong Kong Garage)'.

A couple of years earlier a police officer had followed an erratic Lane Crawford lorry driver along Stubbs Road 'from Magazine Gap Road to the Peak Garage'.

I assume the 'Hong Kong Garage' was aka 'The Hong Kong Hotel Garage':

Was the 'Peak Garage' the same building? And does 'below' throw any light on the bakery's location?

Thanks for any help with this!

On a related point: Lane Crawford were advertising for a new head baker in May 1946, so my father (Thomas Edgar) must have given in notice when he finished the immediate post-war restoration work, and before going to the UK for recuperation leave in August 1946.

David, would it please be possible for you to create a 'place' entry for the former Lane Crawford Bakery (I don't know how to do this)?

The company acquired 17, Burrows Street in 1922 or 1923 and used it to make furniture.  In 1925 it was turned into 'Hongkong's modern bakery'.

One  source locates an LC bakery in 'Wood Road/Lane'. Looking at a map, it seems to me like this might be the same building?

On April 1, 1960 Lane Crawford and the Dairy Farm merged some of their operations, creating a new company - Dairy Lane. Negotiations for this had begun in 1942 in Stanley Camp! Lane Crawford turned over most of its provisions operation to Dairy Lane, and as a result decided to leave the food business altogether, selling its bakery to T. C. Cheung's Garden Company. As a result of teething problems, the bread delivery system broke down, so Lane Crawford, Dairy Lane and Garden published a joint advertisement to re-assure customers. This advert (SCMP, April 9, 1960, p. 17) gives the address of the bakery as 1, Stubbs Rd.

It is rather surprising that the pre-war bakery was still in operation as Lane Crawford had regarded it as inadequate once it became clear that the wartime damage would never be properly set to rights; in 1948 the company had manouevred unsuccessfully to acquire land for a new bakery on the cheap.

I'm now trying to find out how long Garden continued to operate it.

David had found the address of the Hong Kong Hotel Garage as shown here from 1956 as being located at 1 Stubbs Road. It is quite a substantial building. Strange relationship though, I guess the bakery and the garage may have shared the same premises with the bakery being below the level of the garage on Stubbs Road.

In February 1969 the Canadian businessman J. Arthur Duff wrote to Sir Lindsay Ride from the Repulse Bay Hotel. In this letter he states that before the war he worked for the American International Insurance Corporation, and that this company had world-wide interests, including ownership of the A.I.A. 'which owns the new building on Stubbs Road'. Duff claims that he bought the original building after the war when it was the Hong Kong Hotel Garage, and that the cost of the purchase was met by the first year's profits.

Duff had been caught in transit when the Japanese attacked on December 8, 1941. As soon as he had recovered from a bout of illness, he made arrangements to escape, leaving Hong Kong for Free China on January 9. He seems to have been the source of a story with a Chungking byline which appeared in the Daily Mail and elsewhere about the activities of Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke during and immediately after the hostilities. The doctor, whose real role was impressive enough, is credited with near superhuman capabilities!


Source: Ride Papers (online) Fiche 223, part 1, p. 21