1 - 9 Pedder's Hill (later Ice House Street) - I.L. 617 [1865-1917] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

1 - 9 Pedder's Hill (later Ice House Street) - I.L. 617 [1865-1917]

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

Originally leased

1865 - John Dent,
           Francis Chomley and
           Alexander Turing on a 999 year lease.

           So I've used 1865 as the "built" date. 

9 European style houses were built on three sides of a central courtyard, numbered 1 - 9  Pedder's Hill.

1912 - Sold to:

           Kwan Yik Chi and
           Leung Chi San

1917 -  the houses were converted  to 23 Chinese style houses.

1918 - subdivided into 8 lots.


Here are some famous tenants

Robert Fraser-Smith - Founder and Editor of the Hong Kong Telegraph


Photos that show this place


Hi, the red box on the map is a bit too big. This lot only ran as far north as Mason's Lane, not all the way to On Lan Street.

Regards, David

Thanks. Red box corrected.  There are lots of bits of I.L. 617 listed at www.map.gov.hk.  I'll look into when I.L. 617 was granted to get the date they were built.

I'd like to move the info now at Gwulo's Harbour Master's House to here to differentiate between it and the 9 houses of Pedder's Hill. 


John Dixon:

I discovered 2 menus from 1886.

I have just been looking through an old box which mainly contains family correspondence. The box has been opened very infrequently in the last 40 years, and I don't think the bottom half of its contents have been looked at for over 50 years.

In that bottom half, I discovered two small menus headed respectively 'Pedder's Hill, Hong Kong, October 30th 1886', and 'Pedder's Hill, Hong Kong, December 4th 1886.'

The menus are on grey card with a decorative gold border, and the menu typed in light black lettering with alternate stand-up and italic script , or font, whatever you call it.

I've Googled Pedder's Hill, Hong Kong, and this is the first site I've looked at that seems of interest.

I wondered whether Pedder's Hill was a hotel, but it evidently wasn't. There's no address on the menu other than that I've described. Could the menus have been the fare served at the Harbourmaster's house?

There was aseafaring connection on my maternal grandmother's side, and I was told long ago (I'm 64) that most of my family on that side were born at sea and died at sea! I never heard of any Hong Kong connection, so maybe a member of the family happened to dine with the harbourmaster and kept the menus. Just guessing.

 The menus are just under 5 inches long by just over 3 inches wide.

 To satisfy anyone's curiosity, here's the first menu, from October 30th:



















SALA ROSA.              MARASCHINO JELLY.           CAKES.






Thanks very much for this.  If you could possibly scan and post as an image, that would be splendid.

By 1886, the buildings on Peddar's Hill were used as boarding houses, of a respectable kind.  You could also just take your meals there - hence the menus.

It is not clear, yet,  if these buidlings were the original Harbour Master's buildings, or if new ones had been built.

John Dixon:

 I'm a technophobe, and don't have a scanner, but I'll get the menus scanned somehow. Might take a few days to sort this out. My email is greenbriar28@hotmail.com

 Find it puzzling that the menus don't have any other address than 'Pedder's Hill'. You'd think the particular boarding house would also put its own name on the menu.


Robert Fraser-Smith

In June 15, 1881 a third newspaper the Hongkong Telegraph, an evening daily, edited from 6 Pedder's Hill, made its appearance.  (The actual address had apparently changed to 2 Lower Albert Road, but Fraser-Smith ignored this as slighting the historical "Pedder's Hill")

"The site to the immediate south of the old German Club is Pedder's Hill, on which stood a number of two storeyed dwelling houses.  Here lived a number of European families, including the late Robert Fraser-Smith, Editor and Proprietor of the Hongkong Telegraph, which was housed in one of the buildings. Mr. Fraser-Smith, owned race horses, and these were kept in stables there and excercised in the large courtyard, around three sides of which the dwellings were arrayed.  Chinese houses now crown the land."

From a five-volume anthology from a South China Morning Post column entitled "Old Colonial" at the Public Records Office -

Jull/Aug 2009 - Magazine of the Foreign Correspondent's Club


John, that sounds like an interesting box of treasures you have. Thanks very much for sharing the menu with us, and fingers crossed it turns up some other snippets of Hong Kong history.

Do we have any food historians reading? I'm curious to know whether any of the items on the menu confirm the location as Hong Kong.

Regards, David


Mrs. Fraser-Smith was living at 7 Pedder's Hill in the 1880/90s.  The newspaper was published out of 6 Pedder's Hill.

Mrs. Kennedy-Edwards, Mrs. J. E. Obadaya, and Mrs. A. Stopani were all living there about the same time.

It is possible that the menus were, therefore, for a dinner party in a private home,  and not a meal at a boarding house.

Thinking of your seafaring connection,  Mrs. A. Stopani had a few years earlier been giving her address as the Tug Fame, and Mr. Stopani was listed a few year later as the captain of the Tug Pilot Fish.

Fraser-Smith once wrote "We believe that this famous old landmark of Hongkong (Pedder's Hill) is now known as the Lower Albert Road"  He did not approve of the change, and did not use the new address.