Kingsclere / Kingsclere Hotel - Kennedy Road - IL 1381 [c.1901-1924] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Kingsclere / Kingsclere Hotel - Kennedy Road - IL 1381 [c.1901-1924]

Current condition: 
Demolished / No longer exists
Date Place completed: 
c.1901-01-01 (Year, Month, Day are approximate)
Date Place demolished: 
1924-01-01

This is the second "Kingsclere" in Hong Kong - both owned by ER Belilos.  The original Kingsclere's address was 13 Caine Rd.

Belilios originally intended the Kennedy Road as a Synagogue.  However, there was some to-do with the Trustees, (Belilios wanted a road to the upper part of the property to build on, and the Trustees said no.  ER took some legal action) and it was not built.  

In 1896, the Kennedy Road lot was put up for auction.  An extention was requested in 1898, and a lease issued in 1904.

In about 1901, a mansion was built and it was named it Kingsclere - but Belilios himself moved to London with his wife Sema and son Rafael about 1900.  He died in London on November 11, 1905.

Kingsclere became a "private hotel" in 1906.

In 1907 ER's nephew, Raphael Aaron Belilios, was living at Kingsclere Hotel.  He had studied in Edniburgh and was an eye specialist and also lectured at the Hong Kong College of Chinese medicine until 1912, when he moved to Shanghai.

IL 1381 - which included Kingsclere and houses on MacDonnell Road.

The property was held in the Belilios Special Trust with his son and daughter=in-law and 3 others as trustees.

Photos that show this place

Comments

Kingsclere was quite a place in earlier Hong Kong days, and many of us lived there at one time or another. It was once a swank private home with postern 'n' everything. An air well ran from the ground floor to the roof, and a balcony ran around the wall at each floor. Were we inadvertently (or otherwise) left out of a party, we nevertheless had a rough idea at least as to what was going on. And so, I guess, did Mrs. Sachse, our gracious landlady. Dick, Duke and I were having tiffin (lunch) at the Parker House in Boston only a few weeks ago. ''Duke'' had recently returned from an African trip, Dick had been acquiring culture (I hope) by living near Harvard's ivy-covered walls, and I had been preparing to perpetrate this. We once had lived within Kingsclere's walls, and it's a wonder they stood it. I said, ''Dick, do you remember the time you invited about twenty of us to dinner at a long table in Kingsclere, one end of which you graced, and just as the soup had been served gently, you yanked the table-cloth and the whole shooting match became a torrent of mulligatawny?'' ''Why! I don't remember any such thing!'' Duke: ''Why, Dick, darn it, we were afraid you wouldn't remember, so we signed the table-cloth!''

Voices were often lifted up in song within and without Kingsclere. It seemed almost inevitable that idiosyncrasies would develop as to what should be sung at any given moment. Since many of the glee club are respected members of the community (at any rate, members of the community), a few examples will be mentioned by nickname only. Chief's theme song was ''Lydia Pinkham, and her love, and her love, for the Human Race''; Sam's ''Cristoforo Colombo'' (''although the world is roundo, No land could be foundo''); and Walter's ''The Tatooed Lady'' (sung to the tune of ''My Home in Tennessee'' - ''and over one kidney, was a bird's eye view of Sidney,'' etc.!). It may be permissible to identify these gentlemen warblers a little more closely by saying that they have since done yeoman work for the Red Cross, an embassy (the Japs had him in solitary confinement for months), and Lend-Lease at one time or another. They tell me my specialty was (unlike theirs, respectable) ''Old Heidelberg,'' but it has some good swipes in it just the same. ''I Want a Girl'' was a general favorite. It was sung (?) with much gusto to the tune of ''The Church's One Foundation,'' and the words ran as follows:

My old man's a fireman,
and a jolly good one at that,
He wears gorl blimey trousers,
and a little gorl blimey hat.
He wears a blinkin' muffler,
around his ''brudy'' froat,
For my old man's a fireman,
on a Kowloon ferry-boat.

A Far East Journal
(1915 - 1941)
by Harold (Hank) Abbott Rand Conant

ed. Edmund Conant Perry (published 1994)

(originally downloaded from http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/5814/harc1-8a.htm) 

 

Looks like the Kingsclere became a private hotel on 1 December 1906. Note the landlady is mentioned.

1906 Kingsclere

The land sale of Inland Lot No. 1381 (Kingsclere) took place in July 1896. Further info about Kingsclere and later Kennedy Heights can be viewed here:

http://www.kennedyheights.info/history.htm

It's visible at the very bottom of map 3-5B in the Mapping Hong Kong book.

After subdivision:

Sections A and B became Lodge On the Park in 1988.

Sections C and D still have the original terraced houses from the 1920s,6 & 8 Kennedy Terrace.

Sections E-I became Kennedy Heights in 1989, while

section J is known as 20 Kennedy Road, built in 1970.

On the south side bounding Macdonnell Road, as near as we can tell from the map,

Sections K-L became Belgravia in 1989 (No. 3 Macdonnell Road),

Section M became South Mansion in 1956 (No. 5),

Sections N-O became Hoover Court in 1980 (No. 7 & 9),

Sections P-R became 11 Macdonnell Road (last built by New World Development and Henderson Land in 2002),

Section S became Park Rise in 1995 (No. 17),

Sections T-V became Hillview in 1955 (No. 21 & 23) and

Sections W, X and the "Remaining Portion" became  Park Mansion in 1986 (27 & 29).

1923

I have also been approached regarding two private hotels,― Kingsclere and a private boarding house, consisting of four houses in MacDonnell Road. It is proposed to put 25 houses on the Kingsclere site, and to substitute for two houses of the boarding house, and one other independent house in MacDonnell Road, eight or ten houses.

remarks in Legco by HON. MR. A. G. M. FLETCHER, C.M.G., C.B.E.
(Colonial Secretary)

The two existing 1920s era terraced houses at 6 and 8 Kennedy road are proposed as Grade 2 buildings.  They are on the list of properties that have asked to be delisted:

click here to see request

 

 

I am of the family of E R Belilios whose mansion became the Kingclere hotel. Does the hotel still exist? Who owns it now? On the web site www.kennedyheights.info/history.htm the author says that Mr. E R Belilios had a lease of 999-years commencing 13-Jul-1896. Where can I check whether this lease is still actual? Though I put another email address here for email advices, if you have some useful info can you please copy me through the form on my web site at http://www.easytraining.com/contact.htm? I receive a great deal of contacts so please say that it has to do with the discussion on this web page http://gwulo.com/node/4982 regarding the Kingclere hotel. Who are the owners now? Has it indeed been divided into different buildings? Is the lease owner still E R Belilios ? (his son, R E Belilios had gone to Great Britain to become a lawyer and then he became member of the House of Lords). Thank you for any information you may provide. Claire Belilos, Vancouver, B.C. Canada

The site was acquired by a consortium in 1923, partitioned into sections and developed into terraced houses, the front ones being known as "Kennedy Terrace".

www.kennedyheights.info/history.htm

Claire,

Do you have anything in your family that will confirm if the camel story is true - i.e. that ER commuted on what is now Old Peak Road to The Eyrie on the Peak by camel, and after the Peak Tram was opened the camel became melancholy and committed suicide by jumping off the hillside ?

Claire, when the property was sold to be subdivided, the lease would have been transferred to the purchasers. If you look at the 'legal documents' page you can see a Deed of Assignment mentioned, that would have made the transfer.

Regards, David

"Do you have anything in your family that will confirm if the camel story is true - i.e. that ER commuted on what is now Old Peak Road to The Eyrie on the Peak by camel, and after the Peak Tram was opened the camel became melancholy and committed suicide by jumping off the hillside ?" You ask if I have proof re Mr. E R commuting by camel. Well, it is written right here on the Kennedyheights page, but I had an additional article back in the early eighties from a U.s. Jewish Magazine about E R Belilios saying how following expulsion by the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions our family fled to Venice and Greece (true, I know it from my father). They were a few centuries in Venice where, despite the oppression by the Catholic Church, and Jews being barred from holding any job or opening any business but being forced instead to act as money lenders (I will give you direct reference to a historic book about the Jewish Communities in Venice), and being gated into a Ghetto (I believe the first Jewish Ghetto in europe), they managed to turn Venice into the center of culture in Europe. One of my Belilios ancestors is mentioned in that book of Cecil Roth free for download here Books Cecil Roth at archive.org/details/universallibrary http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%22Cecil%20Roth%22 The book Jewish Communities in Venice is here for download http://www.archive.org/details/jewishcommunitie008847mbp So in that article in the American Jewish magazine, it said that after that the family went in different geographic areas (e.g. some of them were in Trieste when it was under Austrian rule, some to Syria, etc.) and E R Belilios himself who was a successful businessman heard that the future lay in Hong Kong which was in the beginning of development. He was in Greece at the time. He booked passage for himself and family + a camel (the article said he loved camels and this is why he took one, but now when I read there was no tram or rails I think he must have taken it for his own transportation convenience). The article said that taking a camel aboard a luxury liner caused quite a stir internationally, especially in Europe and that most newspapers carried photos of him and wrote articles about that. When I moved from Montreal to Vancouver every now and then I had to do some paper clearing. I am dead afraid that by mistake I threw that magazine and cannot even remember its name. I had that proof. However, what you say above about the camel becoming melancholy after the Tram became operational, following which the camel committed suicide, I never heard of that - is it a joke? People must have invented this story, although we never know - I do believe in animal intelligence. I saw quite intelligent looks in any cats or dogs I had. This year it is the 120 year anniversary of the Belilios Public School and they wrote to me saying they will have many celebrations and events. I never saw Hong Kong and would love to come but I cannot afford both the flight and the hotels and would want to also tour there, and I would want my daughter to also come. Who knows ? Maybe something will turn up. It is such a long long flight! And everyone else who posted here, thank you so much for your replies. You come across as a very nice bunch of people. Are you all in Hong Kong or different geographic locations? I do have in hand one original letter from E R Belilios (and signed by him) to his cousin, my father's uncle, regarding some trade proposal. His cousin was in Cairo, Egypt, where my father was born and so was I. But we left Egypt as soon as we had our own land back ISRAEL. Despite the facade, it was not so nice in Egypt. Never treated as equals despite the many contributions Jews made to the country, including Maimonides (also originally from Spain and later prominent Rabbi, Philosopher, and Physician) Nice to know you. Doesn't this site send postings or responses to the email I submitted to them? Claire

David Thanks for pointing out the legal documents page. One can read it, but if you try to open or save any of the documents mentioned you get an error message. You also get an error message when trying to open the contact us page. So I have no way to read the documents. On the page you gave it mentions Vera Carlotta Belilios. I have no idea who she is. She must have joined the E R Belilios family after they settled. The name is Italian, so she too must have been in Venice. Claire

I omitted to mention something in my above explanation about the Jewish Commmbunities in Venice.   The Church said that it could not itself lend to the poor and impose interest because this was against the teachings of the Bible.  However, the poor or those of lesser means who wanted to buy houses or begin a small business needed loans, so the Church thought that the solution was to make Jews agree to lend to those people and the Jews did so against a small interest.   Despite this explanation, for centuries and centuries, even in the plays of Shakespeare, Jewish people were portrayed as userers though in the book of Cecil Roth you can read how the exhorbitantly high interests were charged by non-Jews and this choked economic development and made life impossible for those of poor means, so the Church every time signed agreements with the Jewish community enabling them to be money-lenders because the Jews charged small interest amounts.  They also later allowed them to trade in "used goods", i.e. second hand clothing and furniture.   The fear was that Jewish people who were known to be good at business would take business away from the established non-Jewish businesses and guilds.  No profession was allowed, e.g. they could not be carpenters or anything.

So what is the big building right next door to - and on the far side of - Kingsclere in the colour postcard?

I myself am just discovering.  There is a very good image at the Library of the University of Washington  http://content.lib.washington.edu  so you can conduct a search on google:  Kingsclere with view of the military hospital, Hong Kong, ca. 1909  Washington University Library

I do not know if they have more pages

Claire,

The legal documents mentioned above were working ok when I tried just now, so you may want to try them again.

This site doesn't send emails, but if you want to check for updates to anything you have written / commented on you can go to the tracker page, and click on (and maybe bookmark) the 'My recent posts' tab you'll see there.

Any chance you know why Mr Belilios chose the name Kingsclere for two of his houses? Did he have any connection with the town of that name?

Annelise,

I'm not sure which building you mean. Any chance you can add a comment to the postcard in question?

5 Dec 1929
Hong Kong Telegraph

Kingsclere Hotel Theft

 

Land lease dated 4-Jan-1904 over Inland Lot 1831 for a term of 999 years commencing 13th July 1896, between King Edward VII and Mr Emanuel Raphael Belilios, notarised by George Isaac Bridges of 59 & 60 Chancery Lane, London. The annual rent on the lot is $852, payable in equal half-yearly instalments on 24th June and 25th December, and the lot area is 113,284 sq ft.

"Hong Kong Telegraph", July 24 1897:

"We are informed that the animal belonging to Mr Belilios strayed away from his stable at the Peak yesterday afternoon. A long search during the afternoon prooved fruitless; but this morning the poor animal was found dead about 100 feet below Mountain Lodge, having apparently jumped or fallen from the wall there."

RIP

Annelise: I have been following your fascinating posts regarding the second Kingsclere. Do you have any information on the 1st Kingsclere on Caine Road specifically its street number or its location today? Also any idea as to where the Eyrie (Aerie) was located relative to present day maps? And ER Belilios' office was Lyndhurst Terrace. Do you know what #? And finally, the old court of appeal in HK was also listed one of ERB's offices. Do you have any record of this?

I will be in Hong Kong and India researching the Belilios family and would like to visit these locations. S

Do you have any information on the 1st Kingsclere on Caine Road, specifically its street number or its location today? 3 Caine Road - see http://gwulo.com/node/4984

Also any idea as to where the Eyrie (Aerie) was located relative to present day maps? On the Peak - see http://gwulo.com/node/5069

I'd enjoy a Gwulo trip to try and find the Eyrie site - so let me know when you are coming and I'll host one.

Annilisec says the first Kingsclere was at 3 Caine Road. But see "Hong Kong Going and Gone" published by the HKBRAS in 1980 which suggests it was at 61-69 Caine Road.  Any explanation of the discrepancy?

The address for 3 Caine Road was from the Hong Kong Directory 1884.  (certainly not Infallible.)

Another is 13 Caine Road, for Mrs. Belilios in the Hong Kong Ladies Directory 1894.

We have to check the source, and the date for the "Hong Kong Going and Gone" entry, and compare them.

The photo in "Hong Kong Going and Gone" should be easier to check on.  The buildings shown there were, as I recall, on Caine Road near Shelley Street. The house numbers on Caine Road were changed, and 13 would seem to be more likely for to-day's 61-69.

Annelesic: My wife and I will be in HK Sept 6 - 12 and again briefly on 17. We intend to visit all the locations associated with ERB. You are welcome to join us. You can reach me through: www.wakingdragonink.com 

I think the reference is to the Kingsclere Hotel in Kowloon on Carnarvon Road as seen here: http://gwulo.com/node/7415

Demolishment of Kingsclere off Kennedy Road began around May 1924. HK Telegraph 7 May 1924 refers. See here

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