HK & Whampoa Dock Co. staff housing [????-????]
The chapter Dockyards Domestic, in Austin Coates's book Whampoa: Ships on the shore, describes the dockyard's staff quarters that were built in the early 1920s:
[...] a completely new lay-out of houses was designed and built - the first were ready for occupation in 1920 - on the other side of, and on top of, the hill around which it all began. This was the largest, most imaginative, and best executed piece of staff housing yet provided by a Hongkong company. The site proved unexpectedly perfect, a horseshoe of hills, the houses built in terraces on their slopes, looking on to a dell which became a park, with tennis courts and a bowling green at various levels descending gently to a fine swimming beach. The terraces were so sited that every house from its front windows had a direct view of Lyemun Pass, and of every ship entering or leaving. From this elevation this is the most dramatic view in what is indisputably the world’s most dramatic harbour. In addition, every house caught the summer breeze. Small wonder that everyone who ever lived there looked back on it with nostalgia.
Ian McKelvie, senior engineer with the Hongkong Electric Company, was born there. He later recalled:
“The highest terrace, above the East Yard, was Highburgh (10 houses), next Inverness (4 houses), Tantallon (7 houses), Waverley and Albion at the tennis courts (10 houses each), and Haverlock at the back facing the foundry.
“Highburgh and Inverness Terraces were for the more senior staff. The others, apart from Haverlock, were all the same staff level. Haverlock Terrace was for the junior staff levels - dock police officers, wharfmen, junior clerks - and bachelors, three to a house. [...]"
I've labelled an aerial view of that area from the 1920s.
- a: Haverlock Terrace
- b: Highburgh Terrace
- c: Inverness Terrace
- d: bowling green
- e: Tantallon Terrace
- f: ? - looks like the tennis courts
- g: Waverley or Albion Terrace
- h: Tai Wan beach
- i: Waverley or Albion Terrace
- j: ? more tennis courts, or just garden?
Those are my guesses, but corrections are welcome.
Size of terraces
Looking at the photo, the long terraces all look to have 8 houses, apart from the one marked (g) which has 10. That is different from Ian McKelvie's recollection, so the individual houses may have been split or combined to give diferent totals.
The progress on construction is mentioned in the "Principal Works of a Private Nature" sections of the Public Works Department Annual Reports for 1919-1921:
- 1919: Two large blocks of quarters to accommodate the Company’s European Staff were completed and two other blocks were commenced. The preparation of sites for the erection of further blocks of quarters was also in hand at the close of the year.
- 1920: [...]two large blocks containing 16 houses were erected to accommodate the Company’s European Staff and another block was commenced. Progress was made with sites for other blocks and with the erection of a Platers' Shed and of the other buildings referred to in last year’s Report.
- 1921: Within the premises of the Hongkong and Whampoa Dock Company at Hunghom, a block of European quarters was completed ;
Can you can add any photos of, or stories about these quarters?