Sharp & Co.'s building, Kowloon Point [1891-1912]

Submitted by David on Wed, 03/23/2011 - 22:34
Current condition
Demolished / No longer exists
Date completed
(Day & Month are approximate.)
Date closed / demolished

[20 April 2018: Updated: Herostratus has identified this as Sharp & Co.'s building. See comment below.]

There's a three-storey building on the seafront in old photos of TST. Look at the building in the centre of this photo:

1907 TST coastline

I asked what it was, and Moddsey replied with these notes:

From photos I have seen, the building became prominent on the TST waterfront in the 1890s i.e. prior to the extension of the Naval Dockyard on Hong Kong Island and reclamation of TST for the Kowloon Canton Railway.

This photo postcard of TST I assume is from 1900.

1900 TST

The following information is extracted and condensed from the KCR archives.

In 1912, it was decided to build the Terminal Station in Kowloon and purchase Kowloon Marine Lots 3, 9, 74 and 75 and acquire a portion of land in the occupation of Messrs. Holt and Co to gain access to the proposed New Station. An equal amount of Railway property on the TST waterfront was exchanged for the latter parcel of land. Work then commenced on raising the Praya Wall at Kowloon Point and demolition of the warehouses and other buildings on site.

More digging will be required to ascertain who had previously owned the Kowloon Marine Lots (Kowloon Wharf?) or whether the mystery building had previously belonged to Messrs. Holt and  Co.

I've made a rough guess at dates:

  • Completion in 1895, ie mid-1890s as Moddsey notes
  • Demolition in 1912 for KCR work

Corrections & extra information welcome!

Regards, David


Photos that show this Place


appears to have been owned by Kowloon Wharf & Co:

Under "Miscellaneous," a new item "Repairing and Coaling Yard for Government Launches" appears. It will be within the recollection of honourable members that the surrender of the present Police Camber and Yard at Kowloon Point to the Hongkong and Kowloon Wharf and Godown Co. formed part of the arrangements under which the site of the terminal station of the Kowloon-Canton Railway was acquired. Provision for a new yard, workshops and slipway is being made on the reclamation in front of Kowloon Marine Lots 29-31 (item 41), and the vote in next
year's estimates is to provide for the construction of the slipway, workshops, stores and quarters. legco records: 9TH OCTOBER, 1913.


The Officer Administering the Government recommended the Council to vote a sum of One million four hundred and seventy-two thousand three hundred and ninety Dollars ($1,472,390) in aid of the vote Kowloon-Canton Railway, Extraordinary Expenditure, Resumption of land for terminal station site.

THE CHAIRMAN ― At the meeting of Council I laid on the table a paper which gives details of this vote, and I believe every member of this Council is conversant with the negotiations which have been carried on between the Wharf and Godown Co. and the Land Reclamation Co. on the one hand, and the Government on the other, for the acquisition of property at Tsim-sha-tsui, on which the terminal station is to be built. I shall be glad to answer any questions which hon. members may wish to ask.

In reply to Sir Kai Ho Kai, THE CHAIRMAN explained that the railway came round in a sweep, north of Holt's godown, down to the seafront, where the terminal station was to be built. legco records: 6TH JUNE, 1912.

Notes from Stephen Davies, moved over from this thread:

This is just a (partially) informed guess, but I'd suggest thinking in terms of a godown and offices. The location of the building is pretty much where, subsequently (don't know the date) Holt's Wharf was built. Putting together the info about the marine lots, the railway and the name of Holt and Co., the likelihood is that Holt (Alfred Holt & Co, the Blue Funnel Line, whose local agents were Butterfield and Swire) had a godown on the TST waterfront in this location, accessible by lighter/bumboat to store cargos for forwarding. When the land was needed for the KCR, one supposes that Holt was given permission to build out into the harbour (Holt's Wharf). Do we know if and when this building disappears?



The building was over on the western side of the peninsula, somewhere in the area of today's Cultural Centre. Holt's wharf was over on the eastern side, so as Moddsey says, this was more likely part of the Kowloon Wharf & Godown property.

I've just had a skim through the Public Works Reports for 1890-1903, but didn't see anything that would give a date for when this was built.

Regards, David


Dumb of me...of course it is on the west side of the old TST bay. Looking more closely at the building thanks to all the photos, might it be a hotel? It has something of the air of a building of that sort. Certainly it doesn't look like godowns. Does anyone know of the history of hotels in early TST? I'm rootling through successive years of the Reports of the Director of Public Works and this building would be bound to be mentioned if we have terminus a quo or terminus ad quem dates.


I think, from the Report of the Director of Public Works in 1904 that the building was on Kowloon Marine Lot 6. So far I have no further data as to what might have been there.


I don't think it was a hotel, as they usually appear in the Jurors Lists as places of residence / employment, and we haven't found any mention of this.

Above I've guessed it was here from appx 1895-1912, but those are rough dates.

Regards, David

Sharp & Co Kowloon Point
Sharp & Co Kowloon Point, by Herostratus


The building is identified as belonging to Messrs Sharp & Co in an engraving recently sold at auction. There is an interesting flag on its roof, possibly a Danish or Duchy of Savoy flag? There also is a smaller version of the main flag in the lower left quadrant, does anyone know what this means?


Here is what I have found online about Sharp & Co and Granville Sharp, the owner:


1866 Jurors list: Henry William Davis is employed as a broker at Sharp & Co. There is also a Granville Sharp His wife Matilda gave her name to the Matilda Hospital),in the same list - likely that he was behind Sharp & Co. Granville Sharp and his wife Matilda arrived in Hong Kong in 1858. He left the employ of the Commercial Bank of India on 16th September 1859, after opening their Hong Kong representative offices at 350 Queens Road, in the house occupied by Dr Watson & Kane, on the 30th April 1859. Application to keep Pigs on Lots 671 and 674 (On Queens Road below Belchers Battery) on 6th August 1874. Purchased IL 724 & 725 & East Point Foundry 27th May 1876. Justice of the Peace in 1883.


He appears in the 1888 Jurors List as a resident of Rose Villa.


Granville Sharp died 16th August 1899, in Norwich aged 75 His wife Matilda Lincoln sharp died 22nd August 1893 aged 64 and is buried in Plot 11B/4/10 Happy Valley Cemetery.

1st April 1879: Sharp & Co, Estate Agent & Valuator partnered with William Danby CE, Architect and Surveyor to form Sharp & Danby. Office was No 6 Queens Road, lately occupied by Messrs E D Sassoon & CO

1st February 1881. Partnership dissolved. Mr Sharp will continue the business under prior name as Sharp & Co in offices at 13 Queens Road opposite Chartered Bank of India, Australia & China

In 1887 Sharp and Co owned Marine Lots 177-182 -He lodged an objection to the Praya reclamation scheme (Lots 177-182 were on the waterfront on Des Voeux Road West west of Hill Street)


Honourable C. P. Chater,

Hong Kong, 15th September, 1887.



In accordance with the invitation conveyed in your letter of the 3rd instant, we beg to point out that the cutting off of the reclamation, and the termination of the proposed new praya road immediately opposite to Marine Lot No. 188 is calculated, by interrupting the sweep of the tides, to cause a vast increase of the same deposit from the Shektongtsui Nullah at this point.


The owner of Marine Lot No. 188 is precluded from the extension of his area, whilst the owner of Marine Lot No. 183 will have his Lot inextricably encumbered with sand deposit.


This will in a short time become really formidable, spreading westward, and shallowing the water in point of Marine Lots Nos. 183 to 177 and Marine Lot No. 126, which have only just now, at great cost, been reclaimed.


Moreover the new Praya Roadway is made to terminate in a most awkward and unsightly manner, with a godown wall at right angles across its face, a defect which has not failed to attract the attention of everyone on examining the plan.


By continuing the reclamation but seventy-five feet further and carrying out the nullah sewer into deep water all these difiiculties will be removed. The owner of Marine Lot No. 188 can then share in the extension. Marine Lots Nos. 183 to 126 will be relieved from the danger which threatens their frontages, whilst the new Praya Road will be connected directly in line with a street of equal width, forming, for the meantime, a most appropriate termination of this work to the West.


We are, Dear Sir,

Yours faithfully,

SHARP & Co.,

Owners of Marine Lots

Nos. 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182.


1891 Sanitary Report concerning the drainage of two houses on IL 795 owned by Sharp & Co. IL 795 is where Hill Street is today

From the 1899 PWD report on the Central Reclamation:

Six thousand nine hundred and sixteen (6,916) cubic yards of earth from Inland Lot No. 795, were also deposited on this section, by agreement with Messrs. SHARP & CO (C.S.O. 2,416/1899).



In the 1899 Jurors list Antonio Marciano Baptista was recorded working as a clerk for Sharp & Co. He is also listed in the 1884 list. I wonder if he was a son or grandson of Marciano Baptista, the 19th Century painter?


No further mention of Sharp & Co has been found after this the 1902 Juror Entry for Antonio Baptista


In his last Will and Testament Granville Sharp bequeathed a hospital to be constructed in Hong Kong on his death, so it is likely that this building was sold for funds to construct the Matilda Hospital



Matilda Sharp was the first European women to be cremated in Hong Kong. Unfortuantely it did not go quite to plan:


In Sharp's case, however, a European-style coffin was used, with mixed and rather macabre results. Newspaper reports describe how her pyre was constructed, with stacks of kerosene-impregnated firewood and several tar-barrels to assist the flames. After some time, "the lid and sides [of the coffin] fell away. The form of the body then became visible, with the flames playing about it, and combustion seemed to proceed slowly. Additional fuel was from time to time thrown onto the fire …"



Notes from moddsey:

This building has been recently erected for Messrs. Sharp & Co., at Kowloon, immediately facing the city of Victoria, Hong Kong. It is built upon the bund which has only recently been reclaimed from the harbour, and being upon made ground the whole of the foundations have been piled with sticks of hardwood, from 8 ft to 12 ft long, and averaging 8 inches in diameter. These have been spaced 2 ft centre to centre, and have been driven by manual labour with a timber-monkey weighing about 280 lb. These monkeys are worked by 12 Chinese, with a fall about 3 ft, and deliver 20 to 25 strokes per minute. The walls are of bricks plastered, with white granite plinth, dressings and strings etc.. Red bricks of very good quality are made at Canton,  and these have been used on the ground floor, and for all arches, piers etc., the rest of the walling being of blue bricks. The roof is covered by a double course of  Canton pan and roll tiles. The joinery and flooring are of teak, and most of the carpentry is of Manila hardwood. The first and second floors are arranged as residential chambers,  each floor being in complete by itself, with bathrooms, servants's quarters etc., whilst the ground floor  is designed to fulfill the requirements of godowns (warehouses).  Mr. Edward A. Ram , of Hong Kong, was the architect., and whole of the work has been executed by Chinese contractors.

Source: The Building News and Engineering Journal, Vol. 61  dated 27 November 1891. See:…

A B/W sketch of "Kowloon Point", same as the building above can also be viewed.