DBS and Central School Archives??

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 04/02/2011 - 03:30

I'm researching family history in Hong Kong and would like to know if the school registers for the Diocesan Boys School (founded as an orphanage in 1869) and Government Central School (now Queen's College) survived the Japanese occupation and are kept somewhere. Anybody know?


An interesting account, written by an old boy, W.J. Howard with a photo with the following caption:

"Diocesan Boys' School, Bonham Road, Hong Kong, Prefects 1918/19.
Left to Right
Back Row: Charles Mackenzie, Kenneth Tyson, James A. Kent
Middle Row: Harvey W. Knight, John L. Litton, James Howell, William J. Howard [author]
Front Row: Kor Bu Lok (Head Prefect), Rev. W.T. Featherstone M.A. Oxon. (Headmaster), Charles F.G. Jackson."


There is also and Old Boys Association:

Questioned answered. I recently found the book "To Serve and to Lead: A history of DBS" and read that all of the records prior to 1946, save for a few publications kept at HK University library, were destroyed. I was looking for pre-war school registers.

As for Central School, I'm looking for pre-WW2 school registers as well. Don't know if these were also destroyed. Perhaps Gwyneth Stokes' book "Queen's College" mentions it but I'm not able to access it from outside HK.

Saw the Howard article - the photo is especially of interest! Thanks!

A book entitled "The Diocesan Boys' School and Orphanage Hong Kong; the History and Records 1869 to 1929" was compiled by Featherstone in 1930. A reprint was made available a few years ago.  It includes a list of boys' names from 1870 to December 1929.

Submitted by on
Tue, 04/12/2011 - 11:49

In reply to by Jabberjabber (not verified)

Hi - From memory I believe it's mentioned in Gwenneth and John Stokes' school history (Queen's College: its History, 1862-1987) that most pre-WW2 records of Central School / Victoria College / Queen's College have also, unfortunately, been destroyed.

I don't have access to it now, but if it helps, there's definitely a copy in the reference section of the Central Library in Causeway Bay.

Submitted by
Anonymous (not verified)
Sun, 04/17/2011 - 07:30

In reply to by Jabberjabber (not verified)

Many thanks for the information!


As a QC Old Boy, I 've just written an article in Chinese with some English quotes (titled as 溯本尋娘~趣談皇仁校名來由 on the history of our School Name (From Central College to Victoria College and then Queen's College & particularly our Chinese school names) which 'll be published in this August issue of our school magazine "Yellow Dragon" in celebration of our alam mater's 150th anniversary (available at HK$70 from QC). Since almost all records were lost when the old school was damaged in the Japanese War, the 2 QC History Books written by Gwenneth & John Stokes "Education in HK Pre-1841 to 1941 Facts & Opinion" by Anthony Sweeting serve as the basic references. For more detail  pre-war records, we could only rely on our old school magazine, the Yellow Dragon which are kept only in the QC Principal's Office, HKU Library's Special Collection (oldest ones only in microfilm) & some copies at the HK Central Library. I had to spend a lot of time in searching HK Public Records Office & old newspapers/magazines for info. Pity we failed to conduct such researches, so we couldn't even get hold of valuable verbal histories now as the seniors were gone. But "Labor Omnia Vincit" is our school motto. So I managed to write my article despite the scarcity of records. I'm not sure how old would be the DBS school magazine & records in their school archives.

A few days ago I found a copy of "Queen's College 1862-1962 by Gwenneth Stokes, LL.B." in storage. Have not touched the book for years. All QC boys haveto buy a copy when the book came out in 1961. For some mysterious reason I still have it. I am curious about Gwenneth Stokes since I knew nothing about her. Google search on Gwenneth Stokes got me to this web page.

What's even more interesting is a long forgotten letter tucked inside the book. It was from E.E. Grose, postmarked Janurary 1984 from Abergele, Clwyd, UK. I was visiting London in 1983 on vacation. One day I had lunch in a tiny Chinese restaurant. It was busy and I shared a table with an old gentleman, his name: Ernest Grose. As we chatted he told me he lived in Hong Kong and attended Queen's College too. I sent him a postcard shortly after I returned to Canada. In his reply letter he told me he attended QC in 1920 and his older brother Frank was at QC too. I did not corresponded further with him. Too bad I know so little about the Grose family and their stay in Hong Kong. With the power of Google search I found out that he passed away in 1993. 

Late to the party but I'm also researching family history and am eager to see any Pre-WW2 records of Queen's College because I believe my great-grandfather went there in the 1920s. 

From a previous post user Alan C L Yu mentioned the school magazine Yellow Dragon in which all original copies are kept in the principal's office. I wonder if there are any photocopy versions of these magazines made available to students/public? 

I tried emailing QC twice but haven't heard back since. 

Hi Mr C S Suen,

Upon my advice back in 2012, my alma mater eventually had set up a history  museum which has been curated by some QCOBs much younger than my generation. There is a teacher now in charge of the coordination work, but the main curator is now at U.K. He had tried to complile an QC old students register mainly based on Yellow Dragon & other official records.

There are no photo copies of our school magazines and owing to privacy and other concerns, these info are not readily available to the public or even us as old boys. But you may give your ancestor's full name both in English and Chinese and any other info like the period he studied at QC to me, I 'll try to ask the Curator to check the available records to see if his name was there. However, since not all students were mentioned or recorded in our old school magazine, it doesn't mean that he was not a QCOB even his name was not found. Rgds.

Alan C. L. YU

Thank you! The second link leads to a digital pamphlet and there's mention on the last paragraph that the school has donated the full collection of Yellow Dragon to the HK Central Library! :0

Hi Alan, 

Thank you for your reply! I actually went ahead and contacted the QCOB curator, also a Mr. Yu, for records relating to my great-grandfather and his brother(s). His search came up with nothing but as you said not all students were recorded and I believe some records/documents may have been destroyed during the war? It has been very challenging to trace their paths as a lot of things happened pre-war. 

C. Suen