27 Lugard Road [1916- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

27 Lugard Road [1916- ]

Current condition: 
In use
Date Place completed: 

The oldest house on Lugard Road, #27 previously housed the Swire Mess.  Much restored by the late Mr. Bob Lusher, it contains the staircase from the old Hong Kong Club. 

Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society Vol. 40 (2000 )

click here for article and photos


1914 - Lease begins

1914 - Herbert William Bird
1930 - The Taikoo Dockyard & Engineering Co.
1940 - The Taikoo Dockyard & Engineering Co.
1949 - Butterfield and Swire
1974 - John Swire & Sons
1977 - Robert F. Lusher
1994 - Kirk Wood Development
1998 - Luckmax Investment

Photos that show this place


Three photos of 27 Lugard Road in the Public Records Office, titled:

Residence of Mr. Herbert William Bird c.1920

27 Lugard Road
27 Lugard Road
27 Lugard Road

The house in No. 27 Lugard Road was initially associated with a family of architects from England, surnamed Bird, who started living in Hong Kong from 1904. Constructed in 1914, the house was designed by Lennox Godfrey Bird (1878-1956), who was commandant of the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps (香港義勇防衛軍), president of the Royal Society of St. George (聖喬治 皇家學會), president of the Hong Kong Hockey Club (香港曲棍球會), and a senior partner of the architectural practice of Palmer & Bird – now Palmer & Turner (still a prominent firm to this day). Being a director of the Shek O Development Co. Ltd. (石澳道業主委員會), Lennox Godfrey Bird was the architect of many older bungalows in Shek O. The first owner of No. 27 Lugard Road was Herbert William Bird (1872-?), Lennox‟s elder brother, who bought the land at a price of $2,160 on 27 July 1914 in public auction. This two-storey dwelling was bought by the Taikoo Dockyard and Engineering Company of Hong Kong Limited 太古船塢 (a branch of the Swire Group) in 1930 and since then became a residence of the company‟s staff and their family. A former occupant of the house, Mrs Jean Mackie (nee Finnie) whose father was employed by the Company, was actually born in the house because, after her mother fell down the enormous staircase when heavily overdue with her, the sedan chair bearers could not get to the house in time to take her mother to the Matilda Hospital (明德醫院) at Mount Kellett which was opened in 1907 and is still one of Hong Kong‟s most popular private hospitals. The house has a fascinating history encompassing lost silver, typhoons and a bomb blast. It was once damaged by a typhoon in November 1939, when the roof cracked very badly in the storm. When the Japanese invaded Hong Kong just before Christmas 1941, the old tennis court of No. 27 Lugard Road was hit by a bomb. This tennis court, which is now the site of a swimming pool, was where Miss Finnie‟s mother had buried some of the family silver. While still a toddler, Miss Finnie (later Mrs Jean Mackie) was evacuated to Canada with her mother to avoid the war. After the war, the new owner Butterfield & Swire (太 古洋行) turned the house into a mess for their bachelor staff.... The house is still in residential use. Lugard Road is to this day too narrow for cars to pass for much of its length, and the cliff sides are too steep to build anything on. The site condition would seem to pose a challenge to any adaptation of the house to public use. from historic appraisal, which has more details: http://www.aab.gov.hk/form/20130627_en.pdf still - a senior govt official's brother is reportedly behind the project: Documents from the Town Planning Board show the Butterfly Hotel and Serviced Apartment Group is responsible for the project. The group is owned by Tony Yau Tang-tat, brother of former secretary for the environment Edward Yau Tang- wah. Butterfly Hotel is a subsidiary of Excel King Investment, controlled by Tony Yau. The hotel plan was welcomed by Hong Kong Tourism Board executive director Anthony Lau Chun-hon. http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?art_id=133537&con_type=1

I think turning it into a boutique hotel is a marvelous idea. Right now there's no chance I would ever be able to get into the house, but once turned into hotel I can save up my money and at least spend one night there. I'm really not sure why there is opposition to this plan given that the houses around have been redeveloped and rather ugly modern styles.

Image ID19868
Title27 Lugard Road, The Peak, Hong Kong
CollectionWarren Swire collection
LocationHong Kong
PhotographerG. Warren Swire



I've changed the completion date from 1914 to 1916.

The house was built at the end of the first section of Lugard road. That section was only completed in 1914, so it seemed unlikely the building would be finished so fast.

The 1924 map (http://gwulo.com/node/5604/paper-map-1924-c%2Bw) shows this was built on RBL 138.

I checked the 1914 PWD annual report, but didn't find any mentions. However it does appear in the 1915 (http://gwulo.com/node/14009) and 1916 (http://gwulo.com/node/28647) reports. In both case it appears in section "46Principal Works of a Private Nature.", but in 1915 it is under headings "Works commenced" and "Forming sites for building operations", then in 1916 it appears under "Works completed".

So if the owners of number 27 had a big 100th anniversary party last year, they now have an excuse for another party next year!

Regards, David