Armand / Armend Building, Kowloon [????-????]

Submitted by Rugosa on Thu, 06/08/2017 - 17:32
Current condition
Demolished / No longer exists

Hello everyone, I am trying to find the exact location of the building in which my grandfather lived in 1933. It was 2A Armend Building, Kowloon. The building is mentioned as the address of a variety of others on, but I can’t pinpoint where it was. Could you possibly help?

Many thanks in advance! 

Photos that show this Place


Buried way down the list of a Google search for 'Armend Kowloon' is an entry from a Chinese book published by the Commercial Press, for the first time in the early 1940s.  The link below lists a reprint of it that is on sale at the Commercial Press:

On page 207, which looks like some sort of index, Armend Buildings is listed as being '(on Kimberly Road)'.  The whole book is written in Chinese, so I guess Armend Buildings did not have a Chinese name, necessitating the author to write in the English name instead.  See screen capture from Google books.  The other pages of this list is a kind of Chinese-English translation of all the street names, with some old names of the streets also.  There have been many occasions when we asked ourselves about old street names in Hong Kong.  This book seems to provide some sort of useful, vintage resource.


Book page with Armend.jpg
Book page with Armend.jpg, by breskvar




Kimberley Road is a good step forward. I can't find any mentions of its street number online, so one option would be to visit the PRO and look at the Rate Books for Kimberley Road around the 1930s to see if it is listed.

Yes, nothing much is available online. If one looks at this map of Kimberley Road from 1924, it may be the building on the junction with Carnarvon Road  i.e. on the eastern side. Given that the road was not fully developed with buildings, it was not necessary to have a street number attached to Armend Buildings.

That's a good point - there aren't any other large buildings along Kimberley Road at the time, so that should be it. I've put a marker there, but if anyone can add further proof of its location it will be good to see.

I compared two maps, one from 1949 ( and another from 1952 ( 

The one from 1949 shows the layout of Kimberley Road similar to pre-war photos, with the oblong Armend Buildings standing on its own in the street corner.  There is a building opposite it.

1949.jpg, by breskvar

The one in 1952 shows two small thin buildings standing in its place, one at the street  corner and another down the road.  I surmise Armend Buildings were demolished between these two dates.  


1952.jpg, by breskvar

If one zooms in, this aerial view shows the development and buildings on Kimberley Road.

On reflection of life in Tsim Sha Tsui from a Macanese/Portuguese resident as noted here, "Kimberley Road was somewhat different from other avenues in Tsim Sha Tsui. There were more high-rise apartments here - Luna Building, Armand (sic) Building, and even a small high-rise hotel. Not too many Macanese lived on Kimberley Road then. On Kimberley Road, there was a row of red brick terrace-like houses, beginning at the corner of Carnarvon Road and Kimberley Road." 

From the desrciption above, it would appear that Armend Building would have been a "high-rise" building - perhaps on the north side of Kimberley Road. I guess Luna Building would be today's Luna Court.

1931 Aerial view of TST, by eternal1966c1

Hello - I've just seen these comments. Thank you very much for your help. I didn't quite follow. Did you think that the building in the two photographs left and centre, above, are the Armend Building? 

It is known that the Armend Building was on Kimberley Road. After investigation through maps etc , it is probable that the Building as shown below occupied a large lot commencing from the junction of Kimberley and Carnarvon Roads. If you can provide further information, that will be appreciated.

1926 Kimberley Road, by Eternal1966

How about also finding information about ‘Armand’?

It’s a French name. The building must have been named after someone. Was the individual a missionary, a philanthropist, a politician, a merchant etc from the 19th century with connections to the Far East?

Armand Joseph Braga (1900-1968), the first minister of health in Singapore, though born in Singapore, had part of his education in Queen’s College, Hong Kong. He is too young to have the building named after him, but is there a link with the nascent Portuguese community in Tsim Sha Tsui, the well-known Portuguese Braga (or other Portuguese or Macanese) family and an Armand individual, which gave rise to the buildings name? For example, José Braga (1871-1944) was a pupil at St Xavier’s College, a leading Jesuit school in Calcutta (after his initial formative education in Hong Kong at St Joseph’s) and its then Rector was Fr Armand Neut.

Rugosa, its worth running through that article linked by moddsey as it listed a lot of Portuguese family names living in the vicinity. See if there is any familiar familial or friendly links to your family.

“On Kimberly Road there was a row of red brick terrace like houses beginning at the corner of Carnarvon Road and Kimberly Road.  Few will remember that it was here that the Maryknoll nuns had their first school – (in the early 1930s?) -whilst the nuns stayed on premises on Austin Road-near Nathan Road -  This became the Tak Sun School much later.”

Looking at the 1920 map at , the lot no, K.I.L. 540 is given to the building at the junction of Carnarvon and Kimberley Roads. Whilst perusing the 1913 PWD Annual Report, item 139 indicates that K.I.L. 540 refers to 1-9 Torres Buildings. The name of the building appears in this photo here

So it is not the Armand/Armend Buildings after all. I tend to think the Armand/Armend Buildings are in the vicinity of Observatory Hill/Observatory Road after reading a news account of burglaries here Further work required.

(Update: Noted an advertisement for the letting-out of houses in the Torres Buildings, Kimberley Road from 13 September 1913. China Mail 18 September 1913 refers. Please change the place location to "Torres Buildings". Will try and ascertain the location of the Armend Buildings later on.)



Moddsey, You are right that K.I.L. 540, which was located to the east of the junction of Kimberley Road & Carnarvon Road, was the Torres Building. The 1920 Railway Boundary Plan shows the name Torres Building very clearly.

1920 Railway Boundary Plan
Location of Torres Building, by ashchoi

The 1920 Railway Boundary Plan did not have the Armend Building.  Perhaps it was built after 1920.

Advertisements related to rental of flats of the Building may shed some light.  In ads on the SCMP published in May 1922 & Feb 1936, the Armend Building was described to be located on "Observatory Rd".   Another ad in Dec 1926 described it to be on "Kimberley Road", and an ad in Apr 1940 stated "Entrance Observatory Rd".  Possibly, Armend Building was at one of the four junction corners, with some entrances facing Kimberley Rd and others facing Observatory Rd, hence the different descriptions on the ads.

The western corners of the Kimberley/Observatory junction were later occupied by Luna Building and Melbourne Apartments, so my guess is that Armend Building might be located at one of the eastern corners of the junction.

Thanks for the map and nailing down the location of Torres Building. Please add the  "1920 Railway Boundary Plan" to the map to indicate the source of the information.

Will add place locations to the map sent in. Next to resolve is the Armend Building.

Yes, agree with ashchoi that Armand Building is at the east side of the crossroads of Kimberley Road and Observatory Road. Should be the case by deduction with just the info from this thread alone.

The 1924 map shows only one building at the cross roads - and it’s on the east side. 

Armand Building existed in conjunction with Luna Building as pointed above in a reminiscence as posted by moddsey earlier in the thread. Luna Building was on the north side of Kimberley Road and No.63 Kimberley Road was in Luna Building but it’s entrance was on Observatory Road. Therefore it is not the west corner of the crossroads. It’s not the south corner as there was nothing there. The north side was empty on the 1924 map - so it’s not that either. 

This is a view of Kowloon tentatively dated 1928:

Kowloon air view TST 1927-28, by Klaus


We can see the Torres Building clearly and there was nothing on the immediate north side of Kimberley Road, and by extension, there is nothing on the west side of the crossroads of Kimberley and Observatory Roads (where the future Luna Building would occupy). There is no tall building on the south side of the cross roads. Just so annoying that the very area we are interested in is cut off near the lower right hand corner of the photo border.

So what was the K.I.L. number of that plot of land?

Kimberley Road 1931
Kimberley Road 1931, by eurasian_david

The above is an enlarged view from this 1931 photo focusing on Kimberley Road. 

Half way up the photo, Torres Building is the dark building running from left to right on the south side of Kimberly Road, with Carnarvon Road visible to the left of Torres Building where it joins with Kimberley Road. 

The large white building just right of centre is the newly built Luna Building on the north side of Kimberley Road. Observatory Road, hidden in the photo, runs up behind Luna Building. 

Kimberley Road continues as the white road towards the top right of the photo. 

Armand Building is possibly the building at the junction of Kimberley Road and Observatory Road on the right hand side of the photo. 

Thanks moddsey. So far the evidence is circumstantial so it would be nice to confirm the identity by other means, perhaps looking at the Lot number history.

Here is a photo of the Kimberley Road-Observatory Road crossroads from circa 1956-1957.

Observatory Road and Kimberley Road 1956-1957
Observatory Road and Kimberley Road 1956-1957, by eurasian_david

Observatory Road is seen going up towards the Observatory. Kimberley Road is running from left to right. 63 Kimberley Road within Luna Building is on the extreme left but has its entrance on Observatory Road. 

There seems to be a new building at the east corner of the crossroads, compared with the late 1940s Olive Batley photo above. If that was the location of Armand Building it seemed to have existed during the period from c.1921 and disappeared by the mid-1950s.

It is mentioned here that Mr. Arratoon Vertannes Apcar was the owner of  Observatory Villas and the Armand/Armend Buildings. Both buildings were on K. I. L. No. 615 with the latter I think on No. 615 R.P. (Remaining Portion) as Observatory Villas were built first.

The Reports on Public Works for 1921-23 do not specifically mention the Armand/Armend Buildings by name. The only reference to K. I. L. No. 615 R.P. is in the 1922 Report. Mention is made under Item 160a of the laying of storm water drains and sewers on Kimberley Road between Austin Avenue and Observatory Road to K. I. L. No. 615 R. P..


Thanks for digging up the info moddsey - I think that seals it. Interesting Arratoon Vertannes Apcar’s (from Persia) son, George Armen Arratoon Apcar, born at Ava House, 1 May Road, Hong Kong 4th June 1915, had the name Armen as part of his middle name. Since the child came before the building, was the new Armand building named as such because of his son? But then why did his son get Armen as his middle name? The name must have meant something to Mr A.V. Apcar.

Addendum (from Wikipedia): 

Gender Male
Word/name Armenian, Latin, Persian, Turkic, Kurdish
Other names
Related names Armand

Arman means "wish", "hope" in Persian, "God's man" in Armenian, "will," "purpose," "honorable and good man" in Turkish, "man in the army" in Germanic and "ever lasting fire" in Kurdish. 

And Armand is the French version of Herman 





Prosecuting a Chinese youth as a rogue and a vagabond, at the Magistracy, yesterday, Sub-Inspector Shannon of Kowloon, in explaining to Mr. Lindsell that the youth was arrested on Sunday night, in a passage way at the rear of Armand Buildings, with a screw-driver and a box of matches in his possession, said that every night there were reports of people breaking into the different flats of Armand Buildings, and into houses on Observation Hill. “Last week,” added the Inspector, “there was a burglary each night in the neighbourhood. Things have become so bad that I have had to put six men in charge of a detective to picket the neighbourhood.

Regarding the possession of matches a Chinese detective told the Magistrate that it was most unusual for a Chinese to carry matches.

Asked as regards the screw-driver, the defendant said that on the night prior to his arrest there was an alarm of stealing at No. 3, Armand Buildings. At the request of an amah, he went there to fix two screws in the lock of a door that had been forced. He forgot to leave the screwdriver behind.

The Magistrate: More likely to undo the lock you mean? That story can be easily verified.

The defendant, in reply, to the Magistrate, said he had been in Hongkong for three years and was formerly employed as a shop coolie. He had been out of employment for about a month. At times he slept with friends at No. 2, Armand Buildings.

The Magistrate remanded the case until this morning for the defendant’s statement to be verified and told the youth that if his statement turned out to be a “cock and bull” story it would be all the worse for him.”

Source: Hong Kong Daily Press, page 3, 30th August 1922






The youth who was yesterday remanded on a charge of being a rogue and vagabond, having been found in a lane at the back of Armand Building, Kowloon late on Sunday night with a screw-driver in his possession, was again before Mr. R.E. Lindsell this morning, when he was sentenced to three months’ hard labour.

The case was remanded because the defendant had alleged that the screw-driver belonged to an amah employed at No. 2, Armand Building, who had asked him to fix a lock in the door of her room.

This morning the amah denied having had anything to do with the defendant, while a “boy” employed at the same house also denied having given the defendant any instructions to fix the lock. He admitted however, that he had allowed defendant to sleep in his rom for one night and had given him food, but this was two or three days before defendant’s arrest.

The Magistrate warned witness to be more careful in future as he had been harbouring a thief this time.

Before sentence was passed, Sub-Inspector Shannon told the Magistrate the defendant had received 8 strokes on August 16 for larceny. When the police were investigating the burglary in Major Lloyd’s residence, he proceeded, they found a footprint which tallied with the defendant’s, but unfortunately the print was not complete and therefore defendant could not be charged in connection with burglary.”  

Source: The China Mail, page 4, 30th August 1922




Gets Three Months.


Footprints left by the burglar who entered Major J. Lloyd’s residence at No. 5, Observatory Villas, Kowloon, have enabled the police to secure a clue since the arrest of a youth in the back alley of Armand Villas the other night. A comparison of these prints with those of the arrested man suggested a certain resemblance, but as the former are not intact and very faint it has not enabled the police to advance the results as evidence to show the prisoner’s connection with the numerous burglaries which have been carried out night after night in this locality.

The results of the detectives’ energies were brought to the notice of the Magistrate this morning when the prisoner was brought up on remand on a charge of being found under very suspicious circumstances and with a screw-driver in his possession. His story, when brought before the Court for the first time yesterday morning, was that he went to No. 2 Armand Villas at the request of the amah employed there to repair a lock which showed signs of having been tampered with, and the Magistrate ordered the case to be adjourned until this morning to give the police the opportunity to verify this story. It has now proved to be without truth, the amah denying that she knew him, though a “boy” admitted that he was acquainted with the prisoner, having admitted him to his room where he slept one night.

Mr. Lindsell administered a caution to the witness to be more careful in the future as in the present case he had harboured a thief.

Sub-Inspector Shannon, in producing the prisoner’s record, said that the youth was sentenced to eight strokes of the rattan as recently as the 16th. instant on a charge of larceny. He referred to the incomplete footprints found in Major Lloyd’s house which appeared to the detectives to resemble those taken of the prisoner.

Sentence of three months’ hard labour was passed.”

Source: The Hong Kong Telegraph, page 1, 30th August 1922




Armand Buildings Again Burgled.


Armand Buildings, Kowloon, again figures in a case of burglary. A few days ago it was stated that burglaries were being carried out night after night in this vicinity, but the watch that the police have since kept appears to have been inadequate, for on Saturday, Mrs. Evans, living at No. 5. reported that in the early morning jewellery and money of the total value of $795 were stolen from her flat.

Mr. H. Large, 39, Nathan Road, reports that his flat was entered early yesterday morning by way of the verendah window, which was left open, and jewellery and money of the value of $134 were stolen.

On her way home to Empress Lodge, Mrs. Johnstone was yesterday robbed by a Chinese, who came up from behind whilst she was walking in Salisbury Road and snatched a handbag containing a sum of $3 from her hand. The man escaped.

House Coolie Sentenced.

A house coolie was charged before Mr. R.E. Lindsell, this morning, with larceny of a pair of binoculars and other property, said to have been committed before the strike of houseboys in conjunction with the seamen’s dispute. Sergeant Anderson, of the Water Police, stated that the police had reason to suspect the man of the theft of $100 from Mrs. Avenell, a resident of Kowloon, and on going through his pockets they found a number of pawntickets relating to certain articles which, on production by the pawnbrokers concerned, were identified as having been stolen from Mr. W. Robertson, of the Kowloon Docks. How this connection was traced was due to the resourcefulness of the Sergeant. Unable to find any identifiable mark on a bedsheet, he dipped it in water and when held against the light the name of Mr. Robertson stood out in one corner as clearly as it did before it was obliterated by Chinese ink.

The Magistrate imposed sentence of six months’ hard labour. It was indicated that the man would be banished after serving this term.

His Worship remarked that he could not understand a man with such a bad record as the defendant had (he had been banished in 1914 for three years for a similar offence) could be taken into service by Europeans. His Worship made an order that the binoculars be returned by the pawnbroker to Mr. Robertson, without charge. In the other articles, they were also to be returned on payment by Mr. Robertson of the small sum lent out, without interest."

Source: The Hong Kong Telegraph, page 1, 4th September 1922




Mrs. Evans, who lives at No. 5 Armand Buildings lost jewellery and money worth $795 on Saturday night.

Through an open door leading out on to the verendah a man entered the bedroom of Mr. H. Large, at 39 Nathan Road, early on Sunday morning and stole money and jewellery valued at $134.”

Source: The China Mail, page 1, 4th September 1922






Efforts by the police to trace the gang who carried out an armed robbery at the servants’ quarters of Mr. D. Harvey’s residence in Armend Building on Wednesday evening have been successful. Five men were arrested as the result of raids carried out in the neighbourhood of Lascar Row.

According to the report made by the victimised servants a few minutes after the robbery, four men armed with daggers entered their quarters. An important feature of the arrests was that some of the stolen property was also recovered. It may be found after the completion of investigations that there is evidence of the men being concerned in other recent crimes.

The arrested men will probably be brought before the Kowloon Magistrate this morning, and application made for a formal remand.”

Source: Hong Kong Daily Press, page 10, 4th May 1929






The armed robbery committed in the servants’ quarters of No. 1A Armend Building, the residence of Mrs. D. Harvey, was again mentioned before Mr. T.S. Whyte Smith at the Kowloon Magistracy yesterday afternoon when one of the alleged robbers was charged with participation.

Detective Sub-Inspector Dorling appeared for the prosecution and outlining his case said that the charge arose out of an armed robbery which occurred at about 7.50 p.m. on May 1. The complainants, two female servants, were sitting in their quarters talking and doing some needle work when they heard a noise outside.

One of them, Lau Kwai-ying, enquired who was without but received no reply. Almost immediately afterwards three men entered the quarters. One of them threatened the servant Lau and told her not to make any noise, at the same time producing a dagger or knife. The woman was bound and gagged while another of the robbers treated the second servant, Lo Chan, in a similar manner.

The men then searched the quarters and stole a quantity of clothing. They also searched the persons of the two women and from one they took a $10 note and $1.50 in small coins. After remaining in the house for about a quarter of an hour the left and disappeared down a scavenging lane.

On the morning of May 3, the Police received certain information and the defendant was arrested in Rutter Street, Hongkong. At an identification parade held later this man was recognised by Lo Chan and the husband of Lau Kwai-ying who had seen the defendant looking through the window of the quarters the night previous to the robbery.

When the defendant was being taken from the cells of the Water Police Station to be charged, the Police found a $10 note concealed in the double cloth forming the collar of his coat. The note was a new one and evidence would be given that the bill which was stolen was also a new one.

In reply to his Worship, Detective Sub-Inspector Dorling, said that the note was hidden in the lining of his collar. It had been folded as small as a postage stamp.

In his statement to the Police the defendant admitted that he had taken part in the robbery.

The case was adjourned.”   

Source: The Hong Kong Telegraph, page 10, 29th May 1929

For reference. Looking at the 1920 Railway Boundary Plan provided by Ashchoi, the previous building on the large lot adjacent to Observatory Villas appears to be named "Cherubville". 

The 1938 Street Index has the following entry:



       (Kam Pa Lei To)

From Nathan Road to Austin Road



          K.I.L. 542

...........then Carnavon Road...........

24.    K.I.L. 540 R.P.   "Torres Buildings"  No. 1 (Re-entry)

26        "        "       "                     "                     No. 2 (Re-entry)

28        "        "       "                     "                     No. 3 (Re-entry)

30        "        "       "                     "                     No. 4 (Re-entry)

32        "        "        "                    "                     No. 5 (Re-entry)

34        "        "        "                    "                     No. 6 (Re-entry)

36        "        "        "                    "                     No. 7 (Re-entry)

38        "        "        "                    "                     No. 8 (Re-entry)

40        "        "        "                    "                     No. 9 (Re-entry)

                    521      "

.............then Observatory Road.............

64    K.I.L. 615  R.P.   "Armend Buildings"  No. 1

66       "        "     s. B                   "                       No. 2

68       "        "       "                      "                       No. 3

70       "        "       "                      "                       No. 4

72       "        "       "                      "                       No. 5

Source: Street Index of the City of Victoria &c., &c., Hong Kong 1938 Pg. 243


Great find in providing a primary source of information.

Is the 1938 Street Index of the City of Victoria available online ?

David - Appreciate if you could update the location of Armand/Armend Buildings. Thanks.