Victoria Buildings (North Building) [c.1860-1922] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Victoria Buildings (North Building) [c.1860-1922]

Current condition: 
Demolished / No longer exists
Date Place completed: 
c.1860-01-01 (Year, Month, Day are approximate)
Date Place demolished: 
c.1922-12-31 (Month, Day are approximate)

Demolition date is a guess, based on the completion date of the Bank of Canton that replaced it.

From a 1924 newspaper article:

In an interview with Sir Paul Chater this morning, a Telegraph representative learned some of the history of Victoria Buildings. Erected about 1860, the first offices there were occupied by Messrs. Lyall, Still and Company, a firm since defunct. The original property extended right through from Queen’s Road to Des Voeux Road.

Some time later, the building was purchased by Messrs. Jardine, Matheson and Co, and they were in occupation for a considerable period. In 1884, they sold the promises to Sir Paul Chater, and Messrs. Chater and Mody moved in and the firm has remained there up to practically a few days ago.

In February, 1919, the portion fronting on Des Voeux Road ((ie this North Building)) was sold by the firm of Chater and Mody to the Bank of Canton. This part was pulled down, and the site is now occupied by the imposing building just completed. The portion facing Queen’s Road ((ie the South Building)) was sold to Mr. Pun Yick-cho in April, 1921. This is now to pass into the hands of the contractors’ workmen, and make way for another addition to the fine modern structures of the city. Thus will pass another link with olden-day Hongkong.

Photos that show this place


Victoria Buildings History


Were there two generations of Victoria buildings on the North site?


Chronologically in 1846 there was a small godown on the site of the South building. The North building is still open water. Another view here


Between 1846 & 1860 a three storied building was constructed on the South site as shown in Beato’s March 1860 photo here. Due to the roof condition and blackened walls it looks at least a few years old by this point. A smaller two storied building exists on the north site. A view from the opposite direction is here and here dated mid to late 1860’s. The decorative style of the North building is the same as the south building at this point.


Another photo from 1870 of the North Building


This North building exists until at least the mid 1880’s as it is still in existence here as the distinctive roof can be spotted. (two larger gables on each side with a middle smaller gable, all running north-south.)


By the early 1890’s the two storied building had been replaced by a three storied building shown here. But is this the same building just with an extra floor added and new facade? Looking at this photo just above the ‘m’ in the watermark shows a U shaped building with a gap in the middle where the small gable used to be on the two storied building so it is conceivable that an extra story was added using the existing building structure (this also happened to Dent’s original headquarters on ML3) The South building still exists here unchanged.


Another photo c1902


This photo from 1927 shows the replacement buildings on the North and South Site

I'm not sure. One thing against it is that any re-building would have happened during Chater's time in Hong Kong but he doesn't mention it in the interview. I recommend we leave it as one page until there is clear evidence of reconstruction.

Regards, David

I lean towards the remodeling of the additional building rather than a complete rebuild as this was pretty common back then.

Its likely that it was Chater who did the remodeling as he bought the lot in July 1886 from William Keswick and this is approximately when the extra floor was added