War Memorial Nursing Home / Royal Navy Hospital / BMH Mount Kellett [1932-1975] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

War Memorial Nursing Home / Royal Navy Hospital / BMH Mount Kellett [1932-1975]

Current condition: 
Demolished / No longer exists
Date Place completed: 
1932-03-16
Date Place demolished: 
1975-06-30

The War Memorial Nursing Home opened on this site on Wednesday, 16th March 1932 [1].

Despite the name, in its early years it was a civilian hospital. The name referred to the fund that commemorated the people who fought in WW1, and which contributed to the costs of building this hospital.

After WW2, the Royal Navy Hospital in Wanchai was considered in too poor condition to be re-used. So the War Memorial Hospital was taken over by the Navy, and became the new Royal Navy Hospital.

The hospital has been demolished, and a housing development now stands in its place - though "its foundation stone remains" [2].

References

  • [1] - Hong Kong Daily Press, Wednesday, 16th March 1932.
  • [2] - Appendix 9, Not The Slightest Chance, by Tony Banham

Photos that show this place

Comments

Yesterday I noticed that the stones can be seen in the grounds of the Matilda Hospital:

War Memorial Hospital foundation stone

War Memorial Hospital foundation stone

They are near the corner of the building, at the front overlooking the sea:

It's approximate, based on comments in this thread that the building was demolished in the mid-70s. If you have a more accurate date, please leave a comment below.

regards, David

My mother, Margaret Lilian (Flynn) Bailey, who sadly passed away on 05/09/2012, was the first female baby to be born at the 'Naval Hospital' on the Peak, after it opened in 1932. She was born on 25th June, and she was the 3rd baby to be born, so I am told - but the first girl baby! The site of this hospital was just over the bridge, now occupied by a multi-coloured block of flats! Not my taste in architecture - but I am told that until this development, there was still the remnants of the plinth of some part of the hospital building?

I walked along Homestead Road a couple of months ago, and noticed a section of old granite wall. I think it was about where the hospital stood, but am not 100% sure.

Regards, David

More on the hospital here

As mentioned in David's post of 17-9-2012 above, a stone retaining wall, topped with a concrete rim, runs along the western side of the site of the old hospital, along Homestead Road. This is the view from the junction of Homestead Road and Mount Kellett Road. 

War Memorial Hospital

The wall appears to be quite old judging by the rusted metal water pipes emerging from it at various points, so I presume it dates from the days of the Hospital. One of the pipes can be seen in the photo below taken from the other end of the wall.

War Memorial Hospital

Rural Building Lot Number (RBL) 317 is set in concrete, not the more traditional stone, within this end of the wall.

War Memorial Hospital

Can we change the first name to "War Memorial Nursing Home" in the title and the description?

Info paraphrased from p 108 - 109
Matilda, her Life and Legacy, by Joyce Stevens Smith

War Memorial Nursing Home

Funded by public donations put into a trust as a memorial to those who had fallen or served in the 1914-1918 conflict, the first use / name of the building was the War Memorial Nursing Home.  It got its own law in 1923.

However, building costs were greater that the money collected.  Since Granville Sharp had said in a codicil to his will that any "surplus" income, after meeting the needs of the free-to-patients (impoverished British, American and European patients only) Matilda Hospital, could be used for charitable purposes, the Matilda trustees agreed to give half of the surplus to build the new nursing home.

Just getting the place built was a trick.  They originally started on a different site, leveling the land very close to where Adventist hospital is today, but when a landslide blocked the road, on both sides, they decided to look for another spot. But the money spent on leveling was wasted.

Government next gave RBL 317 on Mt. Kellett for the project.The foundation stone was laid in 1930, and it finally opened ten years after its inception, in 1932.  A detailed description of the building and its facilities was printed in The China Mail, 1932-03-16, page 7.   The Nursing Home ran as a non-profit, but still did not charge enough to cover its costs.

Then WWII came.  The building was badly damaged, so the trust sold the property to the War Department - the two trusts were merged, and the Matilda Hospital's name changed to the "Matilda and War Memorial Hospital" in 1949.

[Ed: The building was purchased in September 1946 by the War Department as the "United Services Hospital". It was first occupied as a Naval Hospital from 1949-1956, and later by the army as a British Military Hospital until 1967 when the Government bought it. Included in the sale were the nearby Nursing Sister's quarters (which were converted to Civil Servant Housing by 1971) . After several years, Gov decided not to use the old hospital as a Public Hospital and redeveloped the site in 1975. Now simply called "14 Mount Kellett Road".]

I've changed the "War Memorial Hospital" to "War Memorial Nursing Home" in the title. War Memorial Nursing Home is also shown on the original foundation stone above.

I think it is worth noting, (as nobody has mentioned it so far), that Matilda Sharp, whose name appears in the photographs above, is buried in the Colonial (Hong Kong) Cemetery. Her grave is quite impressive.

Patricia Lim in “Forgotten Souls, A Social History of the Colonial Cemetery,” tells some interesting stories about Matilda Sharp. One that fascinates me is the correspondence between her sister Lucille, living out here, and the folks back home. Lucille describes Matilda teaching her how to load a revolver and asking her is she carrying it when they set off for church one Sunday morning! (Pages 306 - 7).

It must be remembered that the HK Police, whose remit was really only to protect Europeans, at that time rarely patrolled beyond the boundaries of the City of Victoria. To go beyond those boundaries was really quite dangerous for Europeans, and only the foolhardy ventured out of the city unarmed or few in number.

It greatly amuses me to watch Westerners and Europeans doing their “Big Bus” tours west of the Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road, (beyond Ladder St). I cannot help but wonder how long they would have survived unarmed in the 1860’s in that area, known as Tai Ping Shan.

Oh and by the way, if you needed to buy a revolver, Lane Crawford always carried a goodly selection. I have seen an early sales catalogue of their’s, which carries the advertisement “new stock of Mr. Samuel Colt’s latest models has just arrived.”