Godown / shops near Star Ferry [1923-1963]

Submitted by David on Mon, 11/10/2008 - 20:53
Current condition
Demolished / No longer exists
Date completed
Date closed / demolished

[Update March 2019: I'd previously named this Place "Star House (1st generation)", but I can't find any evidence it was called Star House when it was in use.]

Phil wrote:

Some old china hands are mentioned here, who were interned at Stanley during the Japanese occupation. One of whom is identified as a Sammy Shields who now ran a dental practice from Star House in TST - but the Star House of 1953 was a "two storey building facing the Kowloon Star Ferry pier across the bus terminal"

IDJ adds:

A recent Booth post mentions the dentist Sammy Shields. His dental surgery moved into the Ocean Terminal when that opened and he introduced me to modern dentistry practices after suffering for years under the hands of a cruel UK NHS dentist who used slow belt driven drills. Shields had very modern high-speed equipment and two young beautiful female assistants to hand him the tools who always addressed him as "Master."
He was very much one of the old school and like modern HK dentists he certainly knew how to charge for his services. But it was worth it for the lack of trauma.

Here's a photo we've been sent previously, showing the Star House that Booth saw in the 1950:

1950s Tsim Sha Tsui and Star Ferry

Later place(s) at this location

Photos that show this Place


IDJ has some excellent info. Booth notes in his book that Sammy had no formal training as a dentist but he had, please excuse the pun, 'cut his teeth' working on fellow inmates in Stanley internment camp. It's quite amusing that someone with such a background should be more advanced than his UK based professional peers.

I've put in guesses for the dates:

  • 1940 for completion, as the oldest photo showing the building is dated 1940.
  • 1963 for demolition, as the newest photo we have that shows this building is dated 1960, and there's a photo dated 1966 showing the next (current) Star House under construction.

If you can narrow down the dates more, please let us know.

I could be wrong but I don't think there was a building called 'Star House' prior to the current one. The building prior to the current Star House was I believe built originally as a warehouse for the Kowloon Wharf and Godown Co. Ltd.

It may have been converted for commercial purposes or rented as office accommodation in later years.

1930s Tsim Sha Tsui KCR station, YMCA and Peninsula Hotel



According to this photo from the government web site taken in 1937 the buildings referred to were No. 51 Godown (or possibly 50,51 and 52). They were built in the 1930s at the latest.


As the numbers suggest, the godowns stretched all the way up the shoreline (called West Bund Wharf apparently), making it hard to pinpoint the construction of individual buildings.



Gents, thanks for the extra info. The name came from Chapter 7 of "Gweilo":

"[Sammu Shields'] surgery was in Star House, a two-storey building facing the Kowloon Star Ferry pier across the bus terminal."

I don't have any other evidence though.

I've pushed the construction date back to 1923. After seeing those photos of the Godowns, there's a view of the building dated 1923 on pg 28 "Early Hong Kong's Kowloon Peninsula". Maybe it was built around the time the railway reached TST? The cut-off corner looks like it was built that way to allow the railway line to curve round to the wharf.

Seen in a notice of partnership between Shields and Whelpton in the China Mail dated 1 January 1949.

"As from 3 January 1949, we will also maintain an office in Kowloon at No. 1 Salisbury Road, opposite Kowloon Star Ferry and next to the Hong Kong and Kowloon Wharves main gate."

No  building name is given.

My very first dental visit was to see Dr. Shields at the location shown in the photo above, near Star Ferry and the bus terminal, in a single storey building. I had to have two of my milk teeth removed and my aunt accompanied me to his office.  I don't have any recollection of what Dr. Shields looked like but his name remained in my memory all these years.  I can still remember sitting in the dental chair in this small office space, having something placed in or over my mouth and then seeing swirls of vivid colors during the procedure.  It was not a very pleasant experience for me at the time!

When I read Martin Booth's book, I was amazed to see Dr. Shields' name mentioned.  Martin also referenced the Chololate Soldier drink in a glass bottle, another jolt to my childhood memories.

This has been on my to-do list for some time.

The shops are not in the aerial photographs for 1924 and 1934 but are present in the 1949.1 update in https://www.hkmaps.hk/viewer.html

Mentioned by the Chairman in the Kowloon Wharf & Godown Co., Ltd's Annual Meeting on 7 March 1935:

"Another construction scheme we have on hand is the building of eight shops on the Salisbury Road end of the Kowloon property. These should be completed early in June. I may mention that we already have tenants waiting to go into the buildings when ready for occupation."

Source: China Mail 7 March 1935.

The eight shops were numbered 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15 Salisbury Road.