William Alfred STEWART [1900-????]

Submitted by Uncle Yabai on Sun, 09/01/2013 - 22:30
William Alfred


First post in this fine forum.  Wandering around last weekend by Gough Hill Road on the Peak, where Gough Hill Road bends back into Craigmin Road, there is a dead-end cul-de-sac that leads to the back of what is now 84 Peak Road.  On the approach, there is an old sign on the left that says "W.A. Stewart/Private Property".  Looks old, but not pre-war old.  I guess that was there for whatever used to stand on the location of 84A Peak Road.  There is Stewart Terrace, but that's a couple hundred meters to the West and across Peak Road.  This is on the other side, right next to the Peak Police Station.

Any idea who this private "W.A. Stewart" is, and what was there before?

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Photos that show this Person


I have seen the name with the initials before. W. A. Stewart may refer to William Alexander Stewart of HSBC, pre-war and post war.

William Alfred Stewart was my grandfather and the house was one of the most beautiful houses in Hong Kong.  Sadly when it was sold long after he died they turned the house and land into many ugly houses!  It still makes my mother sad as she grew up there and loved it there.

William A Stewart was my late husband David's father and I can confirm he use to work for David Boag and I think then became his company but am not sure . I'm in HK at this moment and would appreciate any information concerning WA Stewart or Stewart family early history .
I can confirm that he was interned at Stanley and that was the family home on the Peak that his granddaughter spoke so fondly of. It was a beautiful white colonial house with green tiled roof often referred to as the wedding cake .

WA Stewart was my father in law although I never had the pleasure of meeting him ,he died a few years before my marriage to his son the late David Stewart . I know he worked for David Boag & co and I thought eventually owned the company but am not sure . I would appreciate any information on Bill. Stewart or early family history .
Silvija Stewart

I'm amazed that the sign is still there. The property certainly belonged to Willie and Sylvia Stewart and I remember the sign from the mid 1950's as my family were great friends with the Stewarts. Willie was M/D of Davie Boag & Co which I believe was an offshoot of a Scottish trading firm although it was mainly an importer after WW2 as HK needed anything and everything for its reconstruction. The firm prospered quickly and made a large contribution to the rebuildng of HK. Willie was also a great supporter of the Royal HK Jockey Club, HK Club and the HK Volunteer Defence Force (as it was called in those days).


Willie and Sylvia had three children: David, Beverley and Merilyn. Bev and my late sister Pat took Chinese painting classes at the house and both attended KGV in Kowloon. Merilyn (I think) and I went to the Peak School. David went to Australia and the last photo I have of him is on the family boat in HK and another photo of his parents and myself on the front steps of their house both taken around 1970/71. I went to Bev's wedding to John Watson in 1970, Chris Rowe being a very amusing best man.

The house was indeed fabulous with great views, lovely gardens looking down to a tennis court and a bright green-glazed tile roof. The master bedroom had a semi-circular corridor running around it. Pretty unusual.

Quite some memories!


Was my Father's  (Arthur Brown) Boss at Davie Boag . The company was an offshoot of the Greenock company of the same name. Had offices in the centre of main town (Victoria) with Godowns at Quarry Bay / Saukiwan. Suppliers of Gunny Sacks for Rice Harvest moving on to speculative buys and finally Agencies such as Westinghouse / Mobo Toys/Johnsons etc. Finally bought out by Hutchinson International. Mr Stewart had a beautiful house on the peak with an enclosed verandah that circled the property. Used to visit with my parernts to play with son David.. Who in due course went to Millfield College and I went to King's Taunton. Both in Somerset. We usually both were taken out by whichever parent was on leave. Mr.Stewart was also a member of Shecko Golf club that had a large swimming pool area. He presented the club with the Stewart Cup for Boys and one for Girls and I was the proud first winner of the Boys Cup in 1955. I could go on but hope this may be of interest.

Dear Tony, Please DO go on as myself and David's daughter and son are so interested in the Stewart side of the family history  especially everything about Hong Kong because although very little when they first started to visit there and staying at the house on the Peak they still have vivid memories and are fascinated by the family history so any information or anecdotes are greatly appreciated .Thank you

Mr. Stewart MD Davies Boag...Also worked there Arthur Brown and then Alec Dinnen.

They socialised and I remember Mr Stewart and Wife Sylvia coming to parties at my Parents Flat.

Mr Stewart  was interned during Japanese occupation at Hong Kong British Civilian Camp Stanley and is listed in the nominal roll March 1942 Occupation Merchant.

He was a very active Freemason and Joined Zetland Lodge 525 on the 3rd March 1936 and was Worshipful Master 1948-1949. Meeting at Freemasons Hall,1 Kennedy Rd. HK. He was a Founder member of Zetland and Hong Kong Lodge 7665 16th Dec 1959 meeting at Freemasons Hall Great Queens Street, London. For those on leave or retireing to have a UK lodge to go to.. I met Mr.Stewart there on a number of occassions in the early days. Both Lodges are still very active.

He was also a member of:- Foochow Lodge No 1912 / Swatow No 3705 / Paul Charter No 5391 / Eastern Scotia No 923 (SC)

His last recorded address on the 1st Dec 1976 was 2 Gough Hill Road, Hong Kong.....Hope of interest


Hi Salwatson65, Silvija Stewart (sls), Adrienne Howell, Peter, Tony Brown and anyone else who remembers Mr. W.A. Stewart's house on The Peak.

I hesitate to give the house an address as Peak addresses changed from time to time so can be confusing. However, as Tony quoted it as 2 Gough Hill Road I'll use that one. Elsewhere on Gwulo I've tentatively identified the premises in old photos but without realizing its connection to the Stewart family. Most grateful if someone could confirm that the house is the one in the following position in the following pics.

Starting with the earliest. Is it the bungalow in full view towards the upper right corner of the following pic?

1890s Peak - Cast Iron Water Tank
1890s posted by Moddsey

The same building appears in a number of shots from the Schou Sorensen collection circa 1910, of which the following is a sample. The premises is the leftmost of the two on the ridgeline on the right side of the page.

View south2 from 44 Plantation road - Aberdeen reservoir.JPG
1910 posted by Grousehunter

I can confirm that the Stewart house at 2 Gough Hill rd is the same as the 1890s photo as I have compared it with a painting done by Beverly but the 1910 I find confusing because of the angle taken  and the roof line not so clear. It breaks my heart knowing now that that beautiful house was so old and now gone .


Hi Uncle Yabai,

Above you raised the question of whether 2 Gough Hill Road and Villa Rosa were one and the same. I don't think so. At https://gwulo.com/node/5210 Annelisec has given 1959 as Villa Rosa's year of construction, but 2 Gough Hill Road is much older.

You referred to a 1970's photo said to show Villa Rosa. Is it this one?

View to the south from Gough Hill Road showing Lysholt, Clavadel, Peak Police Station & Villa Rosa circa 1971.jpg
View to the south from Gough Hill Road showing Lysholt, Clavadel, Peak Police Station & Villa Rosa circa 1971.jpg, by ole_vet

Just to the right of what I think is 2 Gough Hill Road (the old building with work being done on its roof), a tower sticks up from behind the ridge line. It has a spike ontop and may well be circular, so with a bit of imagination could be said to look a bit southern European in style - as you'd expect a "villa" to look. The 1960's map of the Peak at https://gwulo.com/atom/15993 shows a building labelled "82" (i.e. 82 Peak Road) next to 2 Gough Hill Road, roughly in the position of the tower. Google Maps shows the development on that site today is called Villa Rosa. From the above, I think the old building with work being done on its roof is 2 Gough Hill Road and the building with the tower is Villa Rosa.    

Dear Peter, 

Thank you for sharing photos . I never had the pleasure of meeting Willie , yourself or Pat but seeing Sylvia and a young David brings back wonderful memories.


Hello Peter

I am sitting here with my mum Bev and my Aunt Merrilyn and they would love to get in touch with you.  Bev lives in NZ and Merrilyn lives in London and Ibiza.

I have tried to add some lovely old photos but am not quite sure it I have done it properly so hopefully this link will work!


For those interested in the history of the Willie and Sylvia Stewart’s house at Gough Hill Road -  the house was bought 2 weeks before the the Japanese invaded HK in WW2 and cost him HK$30,000.

During the war it was completely looted by the Japanese and only the stone walls and roof remained.  

It used to be 292 The Peak, until around 1952 when Willie Stewart built the private road known as 2 Gough Hill Road which still exists and where the W A Stewart sign was left until very recently when my sister Suzie took it home to Australia with her.

Until the road was built, access to the house was from the garage on The Peak Road and there were 109 steps to climb up to the front door!

The pictures didn't show up so I have posted them below:

9C6453D0-9230-4D0D-B6B8-F0365C53E18B.jpeg, by salwatson65
F0B995FC-BDE2-4394-ADD9-2F3DB72A6FBB.jpeg, by salwatson65
DD05AFE8-1593-4FD1-82D6-1926318D561D.jpeg, by salwatson65
DFBDF3B0-5FA9-4895-ADDB-6109254B3B2A.jpeg, by salwatson65
00E7A83A-DFF3-4878-B44D-D99B43E67881.jpeg, by salwatson65
4C4A37F5-4E9E-4775-8463-1BE6C516210A.jpeg, by salwatson65
EB859EB3-C385-47E0-8B73-BFB3701DB9DF.jpeg, by salwatson65


6F4DC2FE-95DD-4678-B87E-D097983ADE65.jpeg, by salwatson65
9D6FF2CF-80C7-4140-B4BF-A716250F8BBB.jpeg, by salwatson65

I have created a place for this house here and added some extra & zoomed in photos of it. I have titled it 1 Gough Hill as that was its name for much of its life, post war (possibly c1960) it became No 2 Gough Hill Road

Looking South to Aberdeen from Mount Gough
Looking South to Aberdeen from Mount Gough, by Library of Congress
Gough Hill Houses c1910
Gough Hill Houses c1910 , by Grousehunter

The house grew a shanty on the roof in the 1970s, possibly due to repairs to leaks

Gough Hill Houses 1971
Gough Hill Houses 1971, by ole_vet

salwatson65 did your family take the "private" sign back to Australia based on my sighting of it in 2013?  It was still there a couple of years later.   I think taking it was the right thing to do, as it would preserve it, so not being critical here. 

Thank you so much for sharing the photos - so many memories.  We lived directly above the Stewarts house and the   Peak Police Station at 86 Peak Road directly opposite Dr. Watson's house at No.1 Gough Hill Road. His daughter Janey was my childhood friend and we spent many happy hours roaming around the nearby neighbourhood.

For years and years we all used see the sign there whenever we went back to HK but never had the right tools to take it off the post.  Finally in June last year when we went to a school reunion in HK my sister Suzie managed to retrieve it and she now has it framed on her wall in Sydney.  We are all glad she saved it as it meant a lot to us all :-)

I have been following with great interest the various postings on Gwulo relating to the late ‘Willie Stewart’ house on the peak, having spent my teenage years in the 1950’s living at 359 The Peak at Pollocks Corner on Mt. Gough, just up above the Stewart family house. My good friend John Watson who married Beverly Stewart lived on Severn Road not far away and, in later years, I had the pleasure of playing tennis on the Stewart house tennis court, but if John was on the opposing side I was always well beaten!

These postings about 292 The Peak, later known as 2 Gough Hill Rd., have lead me on to another earlier Gwulo page from 2011/2012 entitled “Mt. Gough – Pollacks Path Houses” where I recognised my father’s old house at 359 The Peak (owned then by HK Tramways), and also the Jardine’s batchelor flat in “Brockhurst” where I lived in 1962/63. It all seems like centuries ago now!

I am going to post some of my old photos of those houses on Mt. Gough for any readers who might be interested.

Incidentally, one other contributor (Lawrence Tsui)  spoke of Dr. Vio and his “zoo”. I knew he had Afghan hounds but his other menagerie collection of pets must have come later. Dr.Vio bought my father’s old Tramways owned house – 359 The Peak where he obviously established his little zoo.

Best Regards to everyone!

The above 'stitched' photograph was taken my me in 1971, and gw, Uncle Yabai and others are correct. The Stewart house at 2 Gough Hill Road was not called "Villa Rosa". Perhaps as gw notes above the building of which the tower pokes up behind and to the right of the Stewart house is Villa Rosa. Sorry to have mislead people when labelling my photograph. I will try to edit the photos title. Regards Graham (ole_vet). 

I found this forum purely by chance. I have been trying for years to track down Merrilyn. She was my closest friend at St. Brides School in Helensborough and shared accomodation in London. I would simply love to hear from her. Marion.


Thankyou so very much to this forum. I am now in touch with Merrilyn after 50 years. Absolutely thrilled. Marion

So glad to hear you've made contact. It's what this site is all about and a huge thanks to David for making it happen.

Us oldies are becoming fewer sadly. Fact of life. So to preserve history it is important to keep in contact with those who are interested and have a commitment to keep things going. Bravo to everyone who contributes to this site.

I'm currently watching an amazing view of sundown on the Pyrénées, all 150km. Wish some of you could enjoy it with me. Peter

I knew both John Watson and Bev Stewart. John joined the HSBC  but later had a seat on the HK Stock Exchange before being bought out by one of the Nat West's subsidiaries. At one point they owned the Glen Afric hotel in Scotland where aother close friend spent his honeymoon!