Richmond Terrace / Park View / Basilea Terrace, Mid-levels - IL 1216 [c.1880-1954] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong
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Richmond Terrace / Park View / Basilea Terrace, Mid-levels - IL 1216 [c.1880-1954]

Current condition: 
Demolished / No longer exists
Date Place completed: 
c.1880-01-01 (Year, Month, Day are approximate)
Date Place demolished: 
c.1954-01-01 (Month, Day are approximate)

Until about 1954, there was a row of six connected two-storey houses on  Basilea Terrace, which was built on an old cutting raised above Lyttelton Road, mid-levels.  I happened to grow up there but we had to move when a developer leveled the terrace in 1954 to put up high-rise apartments.

The Street Map of Victoria, c. 1915 (reproduced as end papers in the recently published Dictionary of Hong Kong Biography), shows a property named "Park View" in the same location.  I would like to know if this was the name of the residences later renamed "Basilea Terrace."  If not, when were the two properties built, and what other information is available about them?


Timeline:

  • c.1880: Built. Believed to have been built as 'Richmond Terrace', which first appears in records from the early 1880s (see comments below.)
  • 1906: The first mention of 'Park View' as an address in the Jurors' Lists
  • 1914: The last mention of 'Park View' in the Jurors' Lists
  • 1916: First mention of "Basilea", in Who's Who
  • 1917: Pg 1115 of the 1917 Chronicle and Directory for China has an entry confirming the change of name:
    • BASILEA, Bah-sik Li (formerly "Park View") in Lyttelton Road.
  • 1917: First mention of "Basilea" as an address in the Jurors' Lists
  • 1954: The building is demolished

Photos that show this place

Comments

The marker's location is approximate - I've set it to the location of Park View, based on Bruce's comments above.

Hi Bruce,

Have you found out any more about the connection between these two properties? Whether Basilea Terrace was just a new name for Park View, or if Park View was demolished and Basilea Terrace built on the site?

Regards, David

Hi David,

The data that I've seen to date seems to indicate that Basilea Terrace was the same property as Park View under a new name.  Park View was originally named Richmond Terrace, which was built around 1880 by the Richmond Terrace Estate and Building Co. Ltd.

Bruce

Thanks Bruce,

The descriptions of the three sites are all very similar, so that sounds likely.

Regards, David

Who's Who 1916 shows an address as Basilea, and the Directory and Chroniclefor 1917 Hong Kong Street Directory says "PARK WIEw, Pak King: in Lyttleton Road, now altered into “Basilea” (snippet view).

So, if a name changes, but the building is not demolished, how do we list that?

Later I'll combine the Places, so we end up with something like: http://gwulo.com/node/7439

Hi, Annelisec

Thanks for this great find from the Directory & Chronicle for... 1917!  The whole volume is free for downloading at archive.org.  In the Hong Kong Street Directory on p. [1115], there is a corresponding entry for Basilea -- "(formerly "Park View"), in Lyttelton Road."

Regards,

Bruce

I've merged & deleted the "Park View" Place, as it referred to the same building as this Place. 

I've also added a timeline in the notes at the top of the page to summarise what we know.

Regards, David

David,

Thanks for consolidating all this data in the main entry about Basilea Terrace, Park View and Richmond Terrace.  Though it's true we have no proof yet that the buildings were identical, I'm quite convinced that they were, going by the same number of units in the same location in relation to the access roads.

Regards,

Bruce

 

Annelise has found a couple of photos in the Basel Mission's archives showing Park View and later Basilea, marked as "The Basel Mission house".

I'm not sure if they were renting space there, or owned the building and also rented space out to other residents. Given that "Basilea" is the Italian spelling for "Basel", I guess they owned the building.

Where is that Government list of siezed enemy property in WWI?

I know the German Lutheran Rhenish Church forestalled the Anglicans getting their property by transferring it to the London Mission instead. 

 

 

There's a mention of "the alien Enemies (winding up) ordinance 1914-1917" at http://gwulo.com/node/5181 that might have that information.

Now merged here:

On the uphill side of "Lower Richmond Road", Richmond Terrace consisded of 6 houses with common walls. 

In 1883, we start with a "murderous assault" on Mrs. Fincham in her Richmond Terrace home, by a member of her household staff (her "boy")  She didn't die, but did end up with two black eyes.

In the 1884 Ladies Directory three ladies listed at Richmond Terrace:
Pocock     Mrs.  T. G.
Hunter     Mrs.             
Fincham   Mrs.  H

In 1888, all the houses had long term tenants.

In 1891, the monks from the French Nazereth community moved in, but they were able a few years later to buy Douglas Castle and moved out in 1896.

From Hong Kong Government Gazette 9th August 1890

 

Richmond Terrace Estate

 

Pursuant to Section 13 of Ordinance No. ! of 1865, His Excellency the office Administering the Government has been pleased to approve the following special resolution passed at an extra-ordinary General meeting of the shareholders of the “The Richmond Terrace Estate and Building Company, Limited” held on the 15th July 1890 and duly confirmed:-

                That the name of the company be changed to the Humphreys Estate and Finance Company Limited

 

By Command WM Deane, acting colonial Secretary 8th August 1890

 

Humphreys Estate & Finance Company, Limited was incorporated on 7 October 1891 (Wednesday) and as of 1 October 2015 (Thursday) is a Live Public Company Limited By Shares. 

 

About John and Henry Humphreys:

 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Henry Humphreys was a Hong Kong businessman and member of the Sanitary Board.

Henry Humpphreys moved to Hong Kong in 1889 to enter into business. He was the manager of the J. D. Humphreys & Son set up by J. D. Humphreys who set his office at the Alexandra Building. The J. D. Humphreys & Son was the general managers of the Peak Tramways & Co., A. S. Watson & Co. where he was the Chairman, and the Humphreys Estate and Finance Company where Henry Humphreys was the liquidator of the Humphreys Estate and Finance Company, Limited..[1] He lived on the Peak Road.[2]

Henry Humphreys ran for one of the vacant seat on the Sanitary Board in the 1906 election. He was appointed by Governor Matthew Nathan to the Public Health and Regulations Ordinance Commission in 1906 to inquiry into the alleged corruption and bribery in the Sanitary Department,[3] which led to the amendment of the Public Health and Building Ordinance to reform the Sanitary Board in 1908.

He left Hong Kong for home in 1933.[4]

 

Dr. John David Humphreys (died November 1922) was an English merchant in Hong Kong.

 

Humphreys was trained for a commercial career and spent some time in India when he was young. He was attracted to Australia by the gold discoveries and spent years working on the field. Subsequently he moved to Hong Kong in 1867 and became bookkeeper to A. S. Watson & Co., Ltd.. In the following year, his employers left him and Mr. Hunt to take in charge of the business. Humphreys purchased Hunt's interest and became the sole proprietor in 1871.[1]

 

Humphreys expanded the A. S. Watson & Co., Ltd. by establishing a small aerated water factory and opening branches in various districts and setting up branches all over China. In 1886, he turned it to a public company. He ceased to be general manager in 1896, and his firm of John D. Humphreys & Son became general managers of the A. S. Watson & Co.[2] and also Hong Kong High Level Tramways Co., Ltd, Olivers Freehold Miners, Ltd., and the New Balmoral Gold Mining Co., Ltd. He acquired the Mount Austin Hotel when it was winding up and sold it to the Military Authorities in 1922. He was also the first Chairman of the Kowloon College and provided financial support to the school.[1]

 

Humphreys was also the one of the first unofficial members elected to the Sanitary Board, together with J. J. Francis. They were dissatisfied with the limited power of the unofficial members and the neglecting and mismanagement of the municipal affairs by the governmental departments. In 1894, he brought forward his motion for the reconstruction of the Board with unofficial majority.[3]

 

He died in November 1922 in England.[1]

Richmond Terrace was renamed Park View on 26th January 1904, along with the renaming of all the roads in the area.

Source

 

Mr. John D. Humphreys agreed to let for five years a house he owned at the entrance into the town of Victoria above the quarter called Kennedy Town, and in April 1891 the Community transferred to its new centre, which was known as Richmond Terrace.

 

In May 1894 Douglas Castle was purchased for use a a printery

 

Source: Old Hong Kong by Colonial Vol 1

 

Thanks for posting these.  Further notes on the Humphreys (three generations).

The obituary on J.D. Humphreys published by Hong Kong Telegraph, 11 Nov. 1922, p. 7 appeared under the byline: "Twenty Five Years Ago. A Glance at our Files (Nov. 6-12, 1897)".  He actually died on 8 November, 1897 (HK Probate Grant No. 3, Probate Calendar for 1898).

Henry Humphreys was the son of J.D. Humphreys, born in Hong Kong, 1867 [Who's Who in the Far East (June) 1906-07  published by the China Mail, 1906], p. 152.  In 1933 he and his family moved to Vancouver Island, British Columbia.  ["Prominent travellers from the Orient included Mr. and Mrs. Henry Humphreys, Hong Kong residents, who will reside near Duncan in future" in The Colonist (Victoria, B.C.), 13 Apr. 1933].

Henry's son, who continued directing the family's business, was named after his grandfather.  He died at age 46 in HK ("Death of Taipan: Mr. J.D. Humphreys Passes", Hong Kong Telegraph, 28 Feb. 1940, p. 15).

Richmond Terrace was built in 1883

JD Humphreys lived at No 1 Richmond Terrace from  1883 

Captain Johnson lived at No 2 Richmond Terrace from 1887. Mr & Mrs Baily lived at No 2 1883-1886

No 3 in 1888 was Mr Webber for a short time and Mrs Blackburn for a short time. Prior to that Mr  & Mrs Wise lived there 1883-1886

No 4 was Dr Wharry 1883-1885, Mrs Blackburn in 1886 and Major Ellis in 1887-88

No 5 was Captain & Mrs Fincham from 1883-1885, Captain & Mrs Dove in 1886-1887

No 6 was Mr & Mrs Ewers in 1883-1884, Mr Wright in 1885-86, Mrs Blackburn in 1887

An extra storey was being added by the late 1880s, in 1888 three of the houses had an extra storey

Source

Thanks, great sleuthing!  Other Government notices had mentioned the prevalence of malaria in the West End, including Richmond Terrace.  In fact when living there (Basilea Terrace) as a teenager I got it twice!  J.D. Humphreys' testimony to the Commissioners indicates that by 1883 the property had been lived in, but we still don't have the actual completion date of construction. 

In the current 2018 RAS Journal, there is an excellent article by Brucce Chan about his childhood home Basilea Terrace/Richmond Terrace.  Don't know if it is possible to upload a copy of the article here?  I have a pdf of it available.

Hi Jennifer

Thank you for recommending my article on Basilea Terrace.  I only received my PDF copy today!  You are welcome to upload it here.

Bruce

Both,

Sorry to sound minatory, but Bruce's copyright extends only to the text. The article as printed is copyright RASHK and the Society's Council would have to give permission once a due request has been made.

It is also a breach to make digital copies from the Journal or to use proprietory tools to carve up a digital copy of the journal into individual articles and make them publicly available. Copies are exclusively for private use only. The only publicly authorised digital copies at present are accessible via JSTOR, which also, therefore, has a copyright it is likely to enforce.

Should Bruce wish to upload his original typescript (NOT the edited and copy-edited scripts, on which the RASHK holds copyright), RASHK can of course have no objection.

Stephen D

Hon EDitor JRASHK

When we moved in an apartment at the end of Lyttelton Road in 1961, there was a vacant terrace sitting above road level on the opposite side.  Believe this terrace fit your description of Basilea Terrace,  Shortly afterwards, a building was built at street level - Hanwin Mansion and eventually other buildings were built behind Hanwin Mansion - Greenland Gardens.