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Bishop's House

Built in 1848, grade 1 historical building.

Historical Interest

Located on a commanding site in Central District, formerly known as Tit Kong or Iron Mound, the Bishop’s House is one of the most remarkable symbols of the development of the Anglican Church of Hong Kong (also known as Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui). The first building on the site appears to have been a boys’ school constructed in 1845-1848. Alterations and additions were made to the school building in 1851 in “collegiate style”. The building then housed St. Paul’s College and also the Residence of the first appointed Bishop, George Smith, who was the Warden of the College. The College nurtured many figures, including Wu Ting-fang, a well-known diplomat and the first unofficial Chinese member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council in 1880. In 1951 St. Paul’s College moved to Bonham Road, and the old college building became the residence and office of the Bishop of Hong Kong. Today the stone plague inscribed with St Paul’s College is still visible near the main entrance of the Bishop’s House.

With a new school campus available in the summer of 1996, Kei Yan Primary School was then evacuated from Glenealy and moved to the new site at Hollywood Road. After that, Sheung Kung Hui Ming Hua Theological College occupied one of the two buildings of the school premises. Another former school building has been used as an office of Echo, the journal of Sheung Kung Hui. This building is now named as Kong Kit Building.

Architectural Merit, Built Heritage Value & Authenticity and Rarity, Social Value & Local Interest

The style of the building, which is quite unusual for Hong Kong, is the Tudor Revival style. The building is two-storey with a semi-basement and an octagonal tower at the north-east corner which has an additional storey. Tudor style elements include an oriel window, flathead and pointed windows, label mouldings over the windows, buttresses, and imitation cross-shaped loopholes to the top of the tower. Classical elements are also apparent in the use of quoins, rusticated granite stonework to the G/F storey on the north-east façade, the regularly spaced windows, and the glazing bar patterns. A local adaptation is the use of red-painted Chinese roof tiles. Overall the impression is castle-like and imposing. Internally, the building is believed to have undergone extensive modernization, but the exterior is considered to be largely original and authentic. It is a rare piece of architecture with obvious built heritage value and local interest.

Group Value

The Bishop’s House is the heart of the Diocese of Hong Kong Island. It has historical and local interest and also group value being situated alongside St. Paul’s Church (Grade 1) and the Old S.K.H. Kei Yan Primary School (originally the south wing of St. Paul’s College, Grade 2). 

Bishop's House is part of the “Conserving Central” initiatives was announced in 2009-10 Policy Address by chief executive Tsang Yam-kuen. The eight sites mentioned in the initiatives include the Central Government Offices Complex, the Central Market, the Central Police Station Compound, the former French Mission Building, Murray Building, the New Central Harborfront, the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Compound (Bishop Hill), and also Police Married Quarters on Hollywood Road.

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