Fairlea Girls School [????-????] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Fairlea Girls School [????-????]

Current condition: 
Demolished / No longer exists

An 1897 map shows the building 'Fairlea'. It faces on to two roads, and is numbered 36 Pokfoolam (sic.) Road and 9 Bonham Road.


Photos that show this place


Drawing of the Fairlea Girls School right top corner one:


Fairlea Girls School building was used as part of St John Hall of HKU. Story of Fairlea Girls School was written in the book "Illustrating Hong Kong Historical Buildings 1841-1896"


The Baxter Protestant Mission School, "Fairlea "situated on Bonham Road take sits name from Miss Harriet Baxter  who in 1860 came to Hongkong as honorary Missionary of the Society for promoting Female Education in the East. Its work is first educational. — with a large Boarding School for Chinese and Eurasian children, also a day school having an attendance of nearly 200 scholars. In addition its efforts are Evangelistic. It has its own little church and special school services with a number of Bible women visiting daily and having access to a considerable section of the native families in their homes.

Source: The Tourist's Guide to Hong Kong, with short trips to the Mainland of China (1897) by HURLEY, R. C.

I will quote from Loong, S. K. (1952), St. John's Hall: History and Register:

"The Church Missionary Society were exceedingly fortunate in being already the possessors of a very fine site directly opposite to the gates of the new University. At that time the buildings were occupied by a Girls' School, known as 'Fairlea', but in view of the need for a new hostel, it was decided to move the school to another site.

"Under the direction of the Ven. Archdeacon E. J. Barnett the work of adapting the place to its new use was promptly put in hand, a building fund was opened for subscriptions, and the Dioceses of Liverpool did much to make accomplishment possible. The old Fairlea building was adapted for the residence of students and of one member of staff, and a fine new building was designed by Messrs. Denison Ram and Gibbs, to the East [i.e. East Wing], providing accomodation for 28 students and the warden.

"When the University was formally opened in September 1912, St. John's Hall was the only Hostel ready for occupation...

"During the following terms more students applied for residence... in January 1914, the Board of Control applied to the Church Missionary Society for permission to extend the buildings... The extension took the form of a wing connecting the old [Fairlea] building and the first block [i.e. East Wing] which had been put up, and provided possible accomodation for 24 students. This was completed in the autumn of the same year [i.e. 1914]...

"Such was the condition of affairs until 1920, in which year the old Fairlea building was condemned as a residence for students. The natural effects of old age (the building was certainly over 40 years old) had been hastened by the earthquake in 1918, though the results were not immediately apparent. The building continued to stand, unoccupied and unsightly, and it was most desirable that it should be pulled down and another more suitable building erected as soon as possible.

"... the Board of Control [of St. John's Hall] obtained from the Church Missionary Society the use of St. Stephen's House standing just to the west of St. John's Hall as an annexe [in 1922]...

"An appeal for money towards the Building Fund [for the building of the West Wing] was thus launched in 1923... Thus the West Wing was extended in 1925..."


According to my own research (mainly on SCMP reports), Fairlea Girls' School was opened in 1886 by a Ms. Margaret Johnstone, but the Fairlea building itself has certainly been standing at Bonham Road before that, and was then owned by Mr. R. Belilios. Johnstone rented Fairlea from Belilios, and it was not until 1899-1900 that CMS took over the school as well as purchased the land. 

Then, CMS decided to move Fairlea away from Bonham Road since it'd not be great to have a girls' school next to a University male-concentrated area. St. John's Hall moved into Fairlea and constructed the East Wing to the east, parallel to Hing Hong Road. In 1914, an extension was constructed connecting the East Wing with Fairlea along the Pokfulam Road side. And probably sometime before 1925 Fairlea was demolished, making way for constructing the East Wing which formed an L shape with the West Wing. This structure had been preserved when St. Paul's College took over the premises in 1955 (and St. John's moved to the magnificent site of 82 Pokfulam Road), and until 1960s, when St. Paul's reconstructed the whole place. However, it is believed that the foundation and the stone fence along Bonham Road of St. Paul's are the remains of St. John's Hall.

As to Fairlea, it was first moved to Prospect Terrace, and then into the Lyttelton Road campus of St. Stephen's Girls' College in 1924, where the 2 schools shared the campus for 12 years. In 1936, Fairlea merged with another school to form Heep Yunn School in Kowloon!