Seaman's Hospital [1843-1873] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Seaman's Hospital [1843-1873]

Current condition: 
Demolished / No longer exists
Date Place completed: 
Date Place demolished: 

The Chinese Repository: From January to December 1849

"July 26th.  Annual Meeing of the "Destitute Sick Foreigners" Society at Hongkong.  Receipts, $1,215; expenditures, $1,111, mostly through the Seamen's Hospital"

The Lancet - 1867

"The Seamen's Hospital, established by Messrs. Jardine, Matheson, and Co., did good service last year. The new building has been opened about seven months. The admissions in 1866 were 314, as against 406 in 1865."


 There are four buildings on this map on the far right on hills to notice (from right to left)

1. Morrison Education Society School

2. Medical Missionary Society Hospital

3. Chief Justice's house (toward harbour)

4. Seaman Hospital (away from harbour)


Current view of the Entrance to the Seaman's Hospital that originally lead to the beach.  On the current map above, you get to the entrance from Wanchai Road, near Triangle Street.




Old entrance - Ruttonjee Hospital


Photos that show this place


"Rice, fish, rat, cat, dog, and tea, are the usual rations of Chinese sailors; and the allowance is in proportion to the stock on hand."

Report on the Commercial Relations of the United States with All Foreign Nations: Consular returns - 1857 - read the original eBook p637

I believe that IL86 covered the whole of Hospital Hill.

IL87 was definitely on the south side of The Gap:

Wanchai 1946

There are two buildings on Hospital Hill on the 1856 Map. The caption on the north building reads 'Chief Justice', and on the south reads 'Seaman's Hospital'. (Plate 3-1c, Mapping Hong Kong)

Thanks, I've updated the text

Just for the record my great Uncle Anders Jakobsson aka Olson died in the hospital on March 21, 1872 of smallpox. He was 30 years old. He is bried at Happy Valley though I have no picture of his grave

In later years his brother, my great grandfather John, died at 98 Wanchai Road - then Marine Lot 111 - and was buried at Happy Valley Cemetery where his grave is today. I have a recent picture of the grave.


China Mail, 1866 - 24 April

"The Hon. Speaker proceded to give a sketch of the history of the building.

Nearly 22 years ago Messrs. Jardine, Matheson & Co. established on [this] spot a small hospital for sick seamen.  As time went on and trade increased it became too small for the proper accommodation of patients, and furthermore in the long period which had elapsed since it was built had gradually fallen into decay.  Under these circumstances they had decided upon raising a hospital which should be worthy of Hong Kong so they have erected the present building which contains 65 beds and accommodation for 100 patients if needed.  They were not perhaps quite justified in a strictly commercial point of view in doing so; as matters now stood a contract for the building amounted to ... about $35,000.  To meet this, subscriptions and promised to the extent of $6,000; a personal friend of the Hon. Speaker had promised to donation of $7,000, making $13,000 in hand and leaving a balance of about $22,000 to be subscribed by other members of the colony.  In conclusion speaker said that he begged to thank not only the subscribers who had come forward so liberally but those who he was sure would come forward when appealed to; and sat down amid the laughter and applause of his hearers.

The new hospital is a two storied building consisting of four wings, an open courtyard containing baths etc. in the center.  It is well built and advantageously placed for receiving the benefits of the breezes from both a northerly and southerly direction.  There are four public wards for seamen; one first and second-class ward for officers, and one to be appropriated to lascar seamen."

Page 2, The China Mail, 31st of May, 1866

The most important item of local news during the past week, which we slightly noticed in our last issue has been the opening of the new Seamen's Hospital, which took place on the 25th instant. The firm of Messrs Jardine Matheson & Co. have in this instance again come forward with the princely generosity and active public spirit, which has characterised the action taken by the house in every public undertaking, since the infancy of Hong Kong, and which has been displayed more especially in the valuable support which was afforded to the sailors home, in conjunction with the firm of Messrs Dent and Co; and again looking further back, and touching more immediately upon the present subject, when years ago Hong Kong had to thank Messrs Jardine Matheson and Co for the only hospital it possessed, which stands to the present day, as the Civil Hospital. When the Trustees of the old Seamen's Hospital met to concert measures for the building of a new one, the scheme proved difficult, funds being required for the purpose, when Messrs Jardine Matheson & Co stepped in and offered to advance the whole of the necessary funds, leaving it to the community to repay them at their pleasure. Thus a scheme which might have been in abeyance for months, during which time the old hospital would have crumbled to the ground, was put in working order at a moment's notice, by the prompt and generous interference of the East Point firm. Although there cannot be the slightest doubt of the community coming forward and reimbursing Messrs Jardine Matheson & Co for their outlay, ($13,000 having been subscribed even before the opening of the hospital, since which the well-known liberality of Hong Kong must have subscribed many thousands more,) this certainty of repayment does not in the least detract from the generosity of the sole supporters of the original cost of the building, who have acted as bankers for the hospital without a deposit account to its credit, a commercial risk which few would accept.

The new hospital is a two-storey building with four wings enclosing an open courtyard, containing bathrooms etc. It is built on a breezy hill on the road to East Point, and is open to both northerly and southerly winds. The interior arrangements are excellent, there being two wards for European seamen and lascars and a first and second ward for officers of ships. The moderate sum of one dollar per day will be charged for each seaman admitted, which ought to cover the working expenses of the establishment.