Airlie / Chardhaven / Baron's Court / ??? / Star Hotel [????-????] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Airlie / Chardhaven / Baron's Court / ??? / Star Hotel [????-????]

Current condition: 
Demolished / No longer exists

23-25 Nathan Road

Mark's map shows this on Nathan Road between Peking and Middle Roads. 

Here's what we know about it so far. Adam first:

The hotel next to the Kowloon Hotel looks like the Chardhaven Hotel. A place by this name is mentioned on page 3 of the China Mail, Apr 8, 1940, but no location is given.

Annelise:

Advert in The Straits Times, 24 October 1939, Page 2

For Sale:

Residental Hotel 44 rooms, beautifully funrished, 20 bath rooms, etc., licensed to sell intoxicating liquors, situated in the best part of Kowloon, showing handsome profits, price £3,000 selling on account of ill health.  Apply to Mrs. Greenburg, proprietress, Chardhaven Hotel, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

80skid:

Good time to sell given the Japanese invasion a year away; though possibly fears of war prompted the offer in the first place. I wonder what happened to Mrs Greenburg and her handsome profits

Adam:

Mrs Greenburg is also mentioned in the April 1940 China Mail piece, mentioned above, so obviously the place wasn't snapped up too quickly.

Tony Banham has this entry in his list of civilian internees during WW2:

Greenburg, Essie [25] 51, Mrs. Room 303, at Stanley Int. Camp ISH UCWD 12.3.43

I wonder if she's the same person?

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Essie G Greenberg, died at Stanley  Mar. 12, 1943 - age 51.   Her husband, Walter William Greenburg is on the 1939 Jurors list as a Foreman, Taikoo dockyard & Engineering Co., living "on premises"

(http://www.roll-of-honour.org.uk/civilians/html/g_database_40.htm)

Confusingly - there is a gravestone in Stanley which lists an Essie J Greenberg, who died March 12 aged 46. That's the same date but a year earlier than Tony Banham's list and also her age is different.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_IwGDyZ6FcVk/TKg6hpEoFYI/AAAAAAAABJQ/K4p2qMoLR08/s1600/100_0792.JPG

Looks like either commonwealth graves commission has the details wrong or the headstone is wrong http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=3169501

80skid, well spotted!

I asked on the Stanley Camp discussion group, and received two replies. First from Mrs Barbara Anslow, who has a remarkable memory:

I was working in the Tweed Bay Hospital, Stanley, during internment, and remember that Mrs. Greenberg died within the first few months, ie. early in 1942.  I didnt' know her personally though.

And another from Tony Banham:

Note that the CWGC also spells her name 'Greenburg'. Although I missed this error, I found around 200 others when going through the entire CWGC records for HK. Many included mistakes of this sort, where one number was wrong. In the most dramatic case (which I believe was unique), a '4' in the year had been replaced by a '5', making the death a decade late.

Though I'm not sure if the gravestone shows the correct spelling or not, as it's not hard to imagine there being no written record of her name available at the time.

Regards, David

People applying for a Liquor Licence on 7th November 1939 include a Mrs. Essie Jean Greenburg, applying for a 'Hotel Keeper's Adjunct Licence' for the Chardhaven Hotel, 23-25 Nathan Road. She had already held a licence to sell liquor in Hong Kong for two years.

So it's the same lady mentioned as trying to sell the hotel on grounds of ill-health. It's likely the same health problems contributed to her death at Stanley Camp in 1942.

Regards, David

Great find David, I haven't really explored HKGRO. Guess the headstone was probably right apart from spelling her name slightly wrong. Sad story all round.

Amazingly, I also notice on the same licensing form Andrew Peter Tkachenko applying for a liquor license for Tkachenko's... So we now know it was definitely there pre-war on Hankow Road.

Also there are Nagasaki Joe, and Gingles...

Dont think the Chardhaven Hotel lasted after WWII as the Star Hotel at 23-25 Nathan Road was already in business in April 1947.

The 1936 Licensing Sessions show an entry for a "Publican's Licence without Bar" from Walter Greenburg for the Chardhaven Hotel at 23-25 Nathan Road. It's marked as a "New application", meaning he hadn't held that type of licence in Hongkong before.

But looking at the 1935 Licensing Sessions, Alexander Ogilvie is applying for a "Hotel Keeper's Adjunct Licence" at these same premises, though named the "Airlie Hotel". He's listed as having held the licence for two years. Sure enough, he appears in the 1933 Licensing Sessions, listed as a "New application".

Just to confuse things, he's also shown as a "New application" in the 1932 Licensing Sessions. This time he applied for a different type of licence, "Publican's Licence without Bar", which probably explains why the 1933 application was also considered a new application. (Alternatively his application in 1932 might have been rejected).

There isn't any mention of these premises in either the 1930 or 1931  Licensing Sessions, so I'll assume the building was completed and opened for business in 1932.

After that it had three owners and business names (but always ran as a hotel) until the outbreak of war in 1941. I don't know what it was used for during the Japanese occupation, but it re-opened post-war as the Star Hotel.

We have photos of it running as the Star Hotel into the 1950s, but I'm not clear yet when it closed and was demolished.

I'll move the photos of the Star Hotel over here, and delete that Place.

Regards, David

Does anyone know any details about exactly who purchased the Chardhaven Hotel from Mrs Greenberg, leading (presumably) to it's change of name to the Baron's Court Hotel ?

My grandfather (Ernest William Wakeham, an Admiralty Clerk to the Staff Officer Naval Intelligence) lived there before the Japanese invasion and I'm trying to trace "a financial interest" that he's stated to have had in that hotel.

Any information or advice would be greatly appreciated.

I'd also be very interested to hear from any descendants of other pre-war residents of the hotel.

Ernie Lloyd-Jones

Ernie, the 1941 licensing session (Government notification #446, 24 Oct 1941) shows George Wong applying for a licence for Baron's Court Hotel. I guess he was the owner, or someone closely connected to the owner.

Regards, David

Hi David,

Many thanks for that, but I'd already found that particular entry for a Liquor Licence.   Have you got any ideas as to how I can find out any more information about this Mr George Wong, especially whether he also applied for the post-war Liquor Licences ?

Regards Ernie

I'm not aware of any public website where the post-war licensing information is available. I don't know if the PRO would have anything, or perhaps you'd find something by trawling through the post-war newspapers. I'm not sure when the name changed from Baron's Court to Star Hotel, but I guess it happened after the war.

Please let us know if you turn up anything interesting,

Regards, David

David, many thanks for the advice.

A while ago, I did try to ask the H K PRO a question on a different subject and received their auto-reply, but never got an answer, so no joy in that direction.

Unfortunately I'm in the U K and unable to follow this up through local research in H K, so at the moment I'm totally dependent on any information that's available on the internet.

If you happen to know of and can recommend a reliable researcher in H K, please let me know.

Regards, Ernie

At the PRO website I typed in "George Wong" in the Carl Smith Collection Cards.  No idea if these are for your George Wong.

You can write the PRO asking specifically for copies of these cards.

Direct link to the Carl Smith Catalogue: http://www.grs.gov.hk/PRO/srch/english/sys_carlsmith.jsp?language=english

1 WONG , C.L.; WONG CHUNG - LAM; SUN CO.; CHUNGSHAN DISTRICT; WONG YAU - CHEUNG; W.S. WONG; GEORGE WONG; W.C. WONG; FRANCIS J. WONG; DAVID WONG; MRS JEANNE MOY; USA; CORNELL [UNIVERSITY]; MRS ANNIE CHANG; HOP YAT CHURCH1955; 1939 - 1941; 1948; 1952
47403
 
2 WONG CHING - YAU; HAPPY VALLEY; WONG WOO HEUNG - TING; ALEXANDER [WONG]; STEPHEN [WONG]; GEORGE [WONG]; CAESAR [WONG]; EVA [WONG]; IRENE [WONG]; SOPHIA [WONG]; PEARL [WONG]; HK METROPOLITAN BANK; TUNG WAH; DIOCESAN BOYS SCHOOL OLD BOYS ASSOC.1969
47205

Hi Annelise.

Many thanks for the tip about this excellent collection, it's the first that I've heard of it.   I'll keep the card reference numbers for future research.

Regards, Ernie

I was awakened (on December 8, 1941), in the saggy spring bed of my rather tatty lodging-house in Kowloon, pretentiously named "Baron's Court," by the thud of bombs...

Israel Epstein, My China Eye, 2005, 135