17, Kent Road [????- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

17, Kent Road [????- ]

Current condition: 

Liz notes that the first mention of this in the Jurors Lists is for 1932, as the home of W.M. Gittins (see http://gwulo.com/node/32834).

His wife, Jean Gittins, wrote about it in her book:

Billy and I enjoyed ten completely happy years before the Second World War cast its shadow over us. Kowloon Tong was a new suburb designed especially for young families. We brought up our children in pleasant surroundings in an atmosphere as yet unspoiled and unpolluted. I spent a great deal of time in the garden, which we had to make from land reclaimed by developers. Billy was working on the electrification of the New Territories at that time and brought home each day a large bag of good soil to enrich the new flower and vegetable beds. I had the loan of a three-volume encyclopaedia of gardening which I studied assiduously and this, together with practical application gained from Mother’s garden and our own (although gardeners did the actual work), endowed me with the knowledge and experience which were to prove so invaluable later on.

pg 19, Stanley: Behind Barbed Wire.


From the Jurors Lists, it seems the Gittins family lived at this address from 1931 until at least 1934 (I have yet to check the later Jurors Lists).  W.M. Gittins is also mentioned as living at 22 Essex Crescent in 1931, but it must have been only for a short time, because there is no mention  of him in the JL at any Kowloon Tong address prior to 1931. (Actually, I have just checked the 1930 JL, and he was living at "143 Kowloon Tong" that year  - I'm guessing this refers to Waterloo Road, but does anyone else know for sure? There are many such addresses in the jurors lists of the mid-late 1920s, presumably because there was only one main thoroughfare in the area.)



I have now checked the later jurors lists, and they lived at 4 Suffolk Road, Kowloon Tong, from 1935-1939. There is no record of them at all in the 1940 JL. I will try to make a note of this over on that page.

It seems to have been quite common for people to move around a lot (sometimes living at three different addresses in, say, five years) in the early days of the Kowloon Tong development, according to the jurors lists. Does anyone know why this is so?

We rent a flat in an apartment complex with several blocks. So far we've been lucky and renewed the rental for this flat, but I've seen several families move once or twice since we've been here, always within the complex but from flat to flat.

Sometimes its because when you come to renew the landlord tries to increase the rent by an unreasonable amount. Other times it's a change of circumstance, eg new child means the need for a bigger flat. So people move, but like the area and don't move far. Perhaps there were similar circumstances in Kowloon Tong in the 1930s?

catching up tonight - I too noticed from my interest in Suffolk Road and then wider Kowloon Tong that the changing places seems to be dizzying (from the Jurors Lists) and asked why - so your take is interesting David. (haven't been getting notifications of this thread in inbox). I think it gets more intriguing. It seems the vision of the garden estate didn't quite come off and was at great expense - and also conclusion that it ended up as middle/upper class. Yet on my perusals of Juror lists it seems quite a mix. As I've said before, it's unfortunate that being all male, women such as my grandmother don't make these records (which complicates it for my research).  There seems to be a story there that has become hidden from history (presumably war ended the dream estate apruptly too). Final thought - original concept was 'garden estate' and I have one pic not so far posted of my mum as a toddler with a Chinese man apparently in garden plot at Kowloon Tong, among what looks like pak (bok) choi - can post if of interest - to Staple gallery? or Kowloon Tong??