Dent & Co. (East) / 14 & 14A, Des Voeux Road, Central [????-????]

Submitted by Admin on Thu, 05/09/2013 - 18:14
Current condition
Demolished / No longer exists

Photos that show this Place


This was the eastern portion of Dent & Co's Building (2nd Generation) It was built c1865 unsure when it was demolished.

I suggest renaming this to Dent & Co Building (2nd Generation)  Eastern Section




On the night of the 22nd June a. large fire occurred at Peddar’s Wharf, Hong Kon . The conflagration lasted nearly twelve hours, and resulted in great destruction of property. The Daily Press gives the subjoined account of the disaster :—

The fire broke out behind the premises of Messrs. Melchers and Co., Peddar‘s Wharf. It_ originated in the servants' quarters, and soon spread to the westward, over the stables. Once having secured a firm hold of the upper story, it spread with greatjapidity eastward, and in a short time the rear of Messrs. Russell's premises was also enveloped in flames. The alarm bells were rung vigorously, and these, with the dense volumes of smoke and occasional flashes of flame, soon attracted assistance, together with a grcat crowd of spectators. The Hong Kong Fire Insurance Company‘s engine and ladders were first on the spot, and these were reinforced soon afterwards by the Government steam engines. These again were quickly followed by all the other engines in the colony. The Government Fire Brigade and the various volunteer brigades worked in concert. All the ships' bells were rung, and in a very short time the available marines and seamen were on the scene. The military were also called out, some of whom were told 08‘ to assist the fire brigades and others to keep back the crowd. By this time, and before any water could be got to play on the buildings, the fire had made considerable progress. Messrs. Melchers and Co.'s stabla and outhouses, situated between the Hong Kong Hotel and the firm's premises, it was soon obvious could not be saved, and great fears were entertained that both the hotel and Messrs. Melcher's premises would catch fire. Consequently most strenuous efforts were made to save the adjoining buildings, which are some of the most valuable property in the colony. Inside the hotel a scene of the wildest confusion at this time prevailed. Most of the ladies and gentlemen resident there had, at almost the first alarm, set to work to pack up their effects, so as to be ready to leave at any moment. Others, assisted by coolies, marines, and soldiers, at once removed everything portable from their rooms to seek other lodgings. Very soon several lengths of hose were laid up the hotel stairs, and played upon the fire from different windows. Flames burst out from the stable roof, but they were principally confined to the corner next to Messrs. Melcher's premises, and although it was quickly apparent that no danger to the hotel was to be apprehended from that quarter, the former premises were'for a long period in peril, as no efficient supply of water could for some time be directed upon the corner of the stable adjoining. Ultimately the roof of the stable fell in, and several jets of water were brought to bear upon it, and happily Messrs. Melchers' premises seemed to be at length secured. The houses from the stable extending backward nearly the whole length of the hotel were at about nine o'clock nearly burnt out, when the flames were seen to shoot forth from that rt close to the east corner of the hotel. The hotel was at this time in' the most imminent danger, but a better supply of water having been obtainedand showered upon the fire from all sides more hope was felt that the confiagration would be nearly confined to the premises in which it originated. For some time, however, it continued to spread eastward along the outhouses attached to Messrs. Russell and Co.'s. Several additional hose were conveyed into their premises, and otherswere taken round to the back of Messrs. Landstein and Co.'s premises, and every effort used to stay its progress. In spite of this, owever, it still continued to spread eastward, and reached as far as the rear of Messrs. Smith, Archer and Co.'s old premises, now occupied by Mr.‘MscG. Heston. During the course of the conflagration the smoke, which arose in thick clouds, frequently prevented the firemen from doing effective service, and in a number of instances, notably for some time in that of the stables facing the street, the jets were entirely misdirected and a great deal of water lost. As portions of the different roofs fell in, one after another, the flames shot up clear and bright, and shed a brilliant glare upon the scene. They seized upon the windows with especial fury, licking the framework, which was consumed with incredible celcrity, and sending constant showers of glass rattling upon the debris below. The heat was most intense.

Shortly after midnight, a number of the police and the soldiers and the marines, were ordered home, and the native brigades, thinking there was no more use for their services, had left with their engines, when the fire broke out afresh, and it was soon discovered that the main block of premises occupied by Messrs. Russell and Co., facing the Praya, had caught fire at the back. Owing to the position of the houses, it was with considerable difficulty that hose could be got to play upon the roof, but this was soon accomplished as far as possible, several lengths having been taken in through Messrs. Melchers' prernisee, others in Messrs. Russell's, while one or two were got into the block occupied by Mr. A. MacG. Heston. The three steam engines con~ tinned hard at work, but in spite of every effort, the fire was soon discovered to have got astrong hold of Messrs. Russell's premises and run along the roof, although no flames broke out for some time. A num ber of the military were again got out, and several additional engines set to play. By two o'clock the fire had completely enveloped the upper story, and at intervals different arts of the roof fell down with a tremendous crash, while the flames s ot upwards in awful grandeur. Shortly after two o'clock it was impossible to continue to play any hose on the main building, and the additional lengths were taken into Melchers and Co.'s and MacG. Heaton's, and the water played upon the mass from either side. By three o‘clock the flames had burst right through into the front verandah at the Praya, and were devouring the wood-work with extraordinary rapidity. They seemed to keep more towards the east, and fears were for a long time entertained for the block on that side. These were augmented considerably by the fact that already one of the Government steam-engines had broken down, but some additional hose were got up to the front by ladders. The fire, however, continued to rage with terrible fury, presenting a scene from the harbour that has been unequalled in Hong Kong for many


a day, and it was not till dawn had broken that the confiagmtion seemed to have been mastered. A little before five it had been considerably checked, and the adjoining property secure. The other Government engines, however, had broken down, and the fact that both of them were now disabled might have been very serious had the fire not been by this time reduced. A number of the engines continued to play upon the smoking ruins for several hours afterwards, for fear of another outbreak, as owing to the situation of the buildings the fire had already proved most treacherous. After all the engines had gone the fire again showed signs of breaking out, but it was speedily checked. '

What the estimate of the damage done to Messrs. Russell and Co.'s premises is it is at present difiicultto say, but it is certainly very extensive. The books and papers of the house were luckily removed early in the evening, and- have been saved. The damage done to Messrs. Melchers and Co.'s premises is comparatively slight, and has been mused principally by water. It was a fortunate circumstance that the disaster occurred in pretty_close'proximity to the harbour, as of course the supply of water was unlimited. Great credit is due to Captain Superintendent Deane and Mr. May, as also to Mr. Creagh for the mannerin which they superintended the efforts put forth by the different firemen. The members of the Volunteer Fire Brigade were as usual to the fore, and rendered most valuable aid. Thanks are also due to the naval and military authorities for the prornptitude with which they despatched assistance to the spot. The various Chinese brigades also worked well.

The origin of the fire is at present unknown, but it is believed to have commenced in one of the cookhouses behind Messrs. Melchers', and the fact of its spreading so rapidly is by many attributed to the fact that there was some hay stored in the adjacent stables. The damage, we believe, is covered by insurance.