Fanling Babies Home [1940-1992]

Submitted by philk on Tue, 10/02/2018 - 00:37
Current condition
Demolished / No longer exists
Date completed
(Day & Month are approximate.)
Date closed / demolished
(Day & Month are approximate.)

Former mansion turned into orphanage. Demolished and redeveloped into factory building called World Trade Square.
The 1940 open date refers to the "Fanling Babies Home" moving here in that year, but the demolition/close date corresponds to when the physical building was demolished.

If there is any information forthcoming about the building on its own in addition to the information supplied below, I can perhaps separate into two pages.  

Photos that show this Place

Comments

Thanks Phil, good to see some photos of this building.

A few dates from the Fanling Babies Home History web page:

  • 1940 - China Children's Fund rents this Fanling estate (The estate, on Main Street in Fanling, was originally rented from an elderly Chinese landlord who had built the estate to accommodate his family and relatives.)
  • 1966 - The Fanling Babies Home relocated to the new Pine Hill Babies Home in Taipo
  • 1992 - These buildings were torn down

The building still exists and is used as a school at Hong Chi Pinehill Village. When the charity which operated the Babies Home left Hong Kong they donated their land at Tai Po to The Hong Kong Association for the Mentally Handicapped which was later renamed Hong Chi Association. Hong Chi is one of Hong Kong's largest NGOs and operates many special schools and centres through out Hong Kong.   I was the Chairman of Hong Chi Assocation from 1987 to 2004.

Hi John

As far as I am aware this actual building was located in On Lok Tsuen in Fanling, not Taipo. Perhaps you are confusing it with the building they used when they moved to Taipo in 1966?
The film stills don't really do it justice, but if you click on the other link I provided above you can see what it looked like in its full former glory.

Regards

Phil

Hi John

Understood. But this page refers to the original mansion in Fanling which was demolished in 1992 and NOT the one in Taipo

Thanks

Phil

I've updated the opening date for the Fanling home according to @dibden's uploaded brochure attached below. It would be nice to know the history of the building before the Fanling Babies Home moved in - such as who the original owners were and when it was built etc.

Fanling Babies' Home Brochure
fanling babies home brochure , by @dibden

In the account in The Yip Family of Amah Rock by Jill Doggett, we are given this information. 

The owner was guessed to be about 65 years old.  He had originally built the house as the ancestral home to contain all his relatives, so there were two other houses in the grounds.  Each had 8 rooms and kitchen facilities.  The main building had 5 large rooms and 3 smaller ones on the ground floor; upstairs it had 7 bedrooms and verandahs, with adjoining dressing rooms.  Surrounding the house were decorative and well-stocked gardens.

The owner's sons had gone abroad to study however, and he fully expected them to go into business overseas, so it was all bigger than he needed.  He therefore decided to rent it out.

 

thanks @dibden, that's more information than I ever expected. Is there any mention of the build date for the property?

No we are not told, Phil.  I think all we can say is that it was 20th century. Whether there was a pre-existing dwelling on the plot we can't say.  Time is running out for any eyewitnesses who could tell us!

As has been mentioned already, the armed forces personnel in Hong Kong gave valuable support to the Babies' Home.  This snippet from the Fanling brochure gives a snapshot of it in action and shows all three services helped in the work - 

"December 25th. The party given by St. Andrew's Young People was just great. They have indeed sacrificed themselves for these little ones, and we did have such a good time.  The Christmas tree was laden with toys and at the foot there was a wee pair of coloured shoes for each baby. After the tree came the tea party, where the Young People waited on the babies!  It was most amusing to watch.  Here a young Air Force lad was feeding a two year old with a sugar cake, and over there a "Government Servant" was supervising the serious business of eating a banana!  Just near to me, where I sat watching these proceedings, was a table of four toddlers with a young Naval man in charge. His time was fully occupied, for jelly is slippery stuff for even the experienced to handle, and when we are only three years old, and it is our first attempt with jelly, it is rather difficult to keep it on a spoon! Down with the spoon, fingers are better!  But no, the jelly squashes into bits, such a mess!  To lick it up with the tongue is best! But now the young Naval man has something to say! "Here, you must use a spoon, what - come on, I'll help you."

Such sleepy little ones they were who at last climbed into the little blue cots, clasping their new toys. So sleepy! So full! So happy! Thank you God for the generous friends who love little children." 

As an Army child in 1952, aged 12 years, our family was posted to Hong Kong in the New Territories, not far from Fanling.  Our Army Padre's wife ran our Youth Club and one day she set up a visit for the girls to visit the Children's Home, taking all kinds of gifts with us for the children.  We were told before our visit, to understand that we would see far more girls than boys in the Home, as it was the custom for poor Chinese families to give up their baby girls as they could not afford the marriage costs that fell on the girl's family.  The total children and babies at the home at that time was 130 girls and 5 boys!  The younger children loved all the attention that day, with lots of hugs and hand holding.  The older girls were a little wary of we 'confident' British girls but they had been taught some English so we all had a good time in the end.  I am collecting photos off the internet that will compliment my memories of our time in Hong Kong but it’s time consuming and I am not in a position yet to send it all in to Gwulo.  My father was in the Royal Engineers which  I believe were based at Tang Lin?  I went to school from New Territories each day by army truck to Taipo Market station and then onwards by steam train into the station at Kowloon (which was at that time right by the clock tower near the Star Ferry.  We then used to walk along Nathan Road to Melbourne Road and the Minden Row Mixed services school.  When we first arrived in Hong Kong we were housed in the Melbourne Hotel until our quarters were completed out at Sekkong, New Territories.  There was an air base about 2 miles from the Sekkong quarters, where we went many times to the swimming pool and cinema.  They used to fly some of the first jet engine planes over the top of our quarters each day to patrol the border with China.  As I said earlier, I have very clear memories from this time and am typing it all out with the relevant photos in the not too distant future.  Regards. Valerie Eggleton

A nice story of the visit to the Children's Home.

Here is a list of  1950 Military Installations Closed Areas. The Camp of the Royal Engineers would likely have been at Tai Lam. Probably Tai Lam Camp. Tanglin Barracks was in Singapore.

To get to school, the "Melbourne Road" referred to maybe Middle Road. One would have passed by an open-air car park and children's park. The Melbourne Hotel on Mody Road, just off Nathan Road was close by to Minden Row School.