Ventris Road Government Quarters [1927-1983]

Submitted by 80sKid on Fri, 07/09/2010 - 08:32
Current condition
Demolished / No longer exists
Date completed
Date closed / demolished

Photos that show this Place


  There's definitely a similarity and one wonders if the architect was the same for both. Would be great to collar someone who lived in V.R. and get some detail of the internal layout and history. I'm very surprised that Ventris rd. is still standing. Certainly looks the same vintage as C.P.

from Legco meeting March 1926

HON. SIR HENRY POLLOCK, in reference to item 17, relating to the sum of $113,000 for Hongkong Buildings, Officers' Quarters in Ventris Road, asked for more information.

THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS explained that the money was required to complete the subordinate officers' block. The work was stopped last year when the building had been carried up to the ground floor. It had to be decided whether the contractor was to proceed or not, and ultimately it was decided to ask the Finance Committee to approve this expenditure as against a corresponding saving on another item in the Estimates for 1926.

 THE CHAIRMAN It was not economy really to leave buildings half finished.

HON. SIR HENRY POLLOCK enquired the total cost.

THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS said he had not the figures with him, but the amount was something like $150,000. The other work had been done on site preparation.

 HON. MR. LANGHow many houses does this provide?


HON. MR. LANGIt is a terrace of houses?


THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS said the total cost, including site formation, would be $280,000. HON. MR. LANG remarked that this was about $47,000 each, or, exclusive of site formation, $25,000, for terrace houses. It seemed to be out of proportion.

HON. MR. HOLYOAKHow many storeys have they?


THE CHAIRMANThese estimates were submitted to the Finance Committee last year and approved.


The Ventris Road Officers' Quarters were built in two phases.

The first phase was for "two blocks of four terrace houses of five apartments, with appurtenances and servants quarters." They were known as the south and north blocks. They're first mentioned as Quarters at rear of "Le Calvaire" in item 86 of the PWD AR for 1922, when plans and documents had been prepared and tenders called for. Construction began in 1923. The north block was finished at the end of 1924, and the south block was finished soon after.

Item 95 of the PWD AR for 1924 introduced the second phase as Additional Quarters at rear of "Le Calvaire"

 This work consists of site preparation, and the erection of a block of 6 houses similar to, but slightly smaller than, those recently completed on the adjoining site.

The accommodation provided for in each house affords a sitting room, dining room, 3 bedrooms and the usual servants quarters, etc.

A contract for this work was let to Messrs Kien On & Co. on 22nd of October, 1924, and the work commenced immediately.

By the end of the year, the site had been cleared and the foundations to the retaining wall were in position.

The second phase was completed in August 1927 (see item 101, PWD AR for 1927). 

I lived in No 14 Ventris Road Government quarters as a 7 year old during the latter part of 1958 until sometime in 1959 when we moved to Stanley. I remember the quarters as having big, tall rooms which were cool in summer but cold in winter. The living room and master bedroom, which was above the living room, both had verandas which looked over towards  Happy Valley race course. Each room had ceiling fans; in those days we did not have air-conditioning. To the rear of the house there was a small courtyard with the amah's quarter and a small laundry room, no washing machine as all our washing was done by hand by the amah. There was a banana tree growing next to the steps leading to the front door which produced bananas. I have a photo of my mother, brother and self standing at the top of the steps with a large bunch of bananas. We were able to ride our bikes right round the terrace with no danger from traffic as the quarters were built well above the road. Access to the quarters was by a flight of steps from the road. Occupants' cars were parked along Ventris Road next to the pavement which ran alongside the retaining wall. No 14 was the most southerly of the South row of quarters and, if I remember correctly, the northern row of houses was on a higher level with a row of steps leading down to the southern row.

I was thrilled to see Ventris Road featured in a recent bulletin, despite the very sad dilapidated state of the buildings probably just before demolition.

I have vivid memories of my life there from age 2 to 4 in no.4, then aged probably 6 to 9 in no.1. We were there from 1947 to 1955 with home leave trips to England separating our years there. My father had one of the garages along Ventris Road for the first family car, an Austin , number plate 2552 . It had the amber stick out indicator arms..! 

The Swing Park, which was between Top Terrace & Bottom Terrace, was a favourite haunt for all the kids who lived in Ventris Road.. ! The Amahs used to call us home from the top of the stairs between the terraces , many times we would be in trouble for ignoring them ! We also loved the ‘Bamboo Forest’ behind the  Swing Park.  So many memories ! I can remember riding my tricycle around Top Terrace, then when older, my new red 2 wheeler bike. 

The  photos of Happy Valley are so familiar with the Police Recreation Club , & next to it but not shown was the CCC or Craigengower  Cricket Club which had a ‘shack’ in South Bay where we went every weekend. 

I would really love to get some response from anyone who shared their lives with us in Ventris Road  & of course continue the contact after so many years. 

Fond regards, 
Ann Hudson ( née Hardy )  Sydney Australia

Madwith- feel you must have know our family- I was born in 1957 whilst we lived at 12Ventris Road, Alan And Bunty Sainsbury were my parents. Sister Susan and brother Hugh. Alan taught at Queens College. I came back for first time in March 2019 and went to the College and visited their wee museum. I remember nothing  ut my sister and brother remember more. My brother used to go down to Happy Valley on his bike. 

Just like Anna, we also lived in number 14 Ventris Rd. after them. 

I loved that house and I remember my time there fondly. It was a big old colonial house with large verandas and big airy rooms. And it was such a safe environment as was Hong Kong my whole life, where you could ride your bikes away from any motorized vehicles. My dad, Colin Green was the head of physical training for the Fire Service Department and that’s how we got to live there.

We were there for about 3 or 4 years before moving up to Leighton Hill where I lived until I was 12 and then we moved to the government quarters across the road from Island School in Borrett Road.

It was such a wonderful, airy house, you could smell the jasmine from the garden and hear the gentle tick tick ticking of the fans in the tall ceilings, it was so cool in the summer.

I remember Dad had some of the carpenters from the fire service build my sister and I a Wendy house one Christmas, which they then put together on the huge veranda on Christmas Eve. We were so thrilled the next morning and spent many many happy hours playing in it.

I also loved the delightful walled garden at the back, which became a cool little oasis by late afternoon, where one could get some respite from the heat. I remember the banana tree too.  

My baby-amah Lin, who started working for us when my folks first arrived in Hong Kong and mum was pregnant with me, lived there with us. Her bedroom opened out into a little covered walkway which led into the walled garden. We would lie on the bed in her sparse cool room sometimes after lunch for an hour during the hottest time of the day and watch Chinese opera on her little black and white TV when she was resting during the hottest time of the day. She worked into the evenings feeding us and cleaning up after dinner. There was a lot of work back then as everything was done by hand. My parents hired a young amah to help her. 

I used to love playing on the swings in the playground up behind the houses. I remember rolling down the hill behind the behind it and playing in the bamboo grove too.
I never wanted to go home, so one of the young amah’s jobs was to come and fetch me. One day she caused me to fall down the metal stairs by pulling me too hard, causing me to split my head open, after that Lin who thought she was pretty lazy and useless just wanted her gone.

Dad rushed me to Tan Shui Kin Hospital and for some reason I couldn’t get an anesthetic. I remember several nurses and orderlies had to hold me down while they stitched the big cut on my head closed and I screamed blue murder during the whole process. I was only about five at the time.

Sometimes when my mother had friends over, they would hear me chattering away to Lin in Cantonese in the kitchen and they would ask mum if Lin had a child. She was definitely like a mother to me and stayed with us until I was 12.

On the summer of my 12th birthday we had a ‘long leave’ and went on a world cruise on the HMS Canberra. When I found out I was saying goodbye for good and Lin was off to live with her son in California, I couldn’t bare it and clung to her for dear life. About five staff  had to help my dad prize me off her (I’m beginning to see a pattern here!). I was so traumatized that when dad said I should keep my Cantonese up I thought that if I stopped speaking it maybe they would bring Lin back. Of course she never did return and sadly I forgot so much of the language.

I always stayed in touch with Lin, and many moons later I went to work for her son in his jewelry business down on Brannon Street in San Francisco’s Diamond District. Lin would visit me there and regale me with stories of working for Dean Martin when she first arrived in Los Angeles. Much of it had to do with picking up empty bottles and cleaning up in the mornings after the lavish parties he would throw. She told me how once she had a puff on one of the strange hand-rolled cigarettes that always seem to be in his special ashtray that she wasn’t allowed to throw away if they had only been half-smoked!

Here is a photo of my much-loved Lin with myself at about three years old, standing outside our house in Ventris Road. Also present was my baby sister Erica and my mum Thelma, who taught at Quarry Bay School.

Us outside 14 Ventris Rd. Happy days!
Us outside 14 Ventris Rd. Happy days!, by nicola green

Dileas, I have a couple of photos which I shall try and download here. They were taken in 1958 and I am pretty sure they show Hugh and Susan with me and my brother on a couple of outings we had. I remember  Hugh as he was my best mate whilst living at Ventris Road. If the photos don't come up here please look on the new items. Cheers.

We are visiting the UK, currently living in HK for the past 10 years. My mother in law has just been speaking fondly about living at 14 Ventris Road. She can't remember the dates but does remember Hugh and Susan Sainsbury who lived at No. 12 so it must have been around the same time. Her name is Ann Mitchell, attended QBS school and then KGV.