Historic school buildings to get monument status

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 June, 2011, 12:00am


Buildings in two elite schools, both more than 80 years old, will be declared monuments after the Antiquities Advisory Board agreed to support the declarations yesterday.

King's College and the School House of St Stephen's College already have grade one historical status, but the new designation will give them greater protection.

When a building is declared as a monument, the Antiquities Authority can prevent alterations to it. There are now 98 monuments in the city.

The red-brick King's College, built between 1923 and 1926 in neoclassical style with Roman arched colonnades, is an icon on Bonham Road and was described as 'one of the finest and most modern of school buildings' in 1926 because of its abundance of classrooms and facilities.

The H-shaped School House in Stanley, built in 1930, is St Stephen's oldest building and the oldest such structure still providing boarding services. It was built in a late transitional Arts and Crafts style, with wide overhanging eaves and arched windows and doorways.

Both buildings were occupied by the Japanese army during the second world war.

School House was used as a British military hospital in 1941, and on Christmas Day that year, Japanese soldiers marched in and massacred the injured soldiers.

The school was also used an internment camp.

King's College was used as a mule and horse stable by the Japanese army. It was the quarters and hospital for the British Shanghai Defence Force in the late 1920s.

Lam Chiu-ying, the chairman of King's College Old Boys' Association, said he was overjoyed at the board's decision. 'King's College is the oldest surviving building for government schools. It's really beautiful, and it deserves to be declared a monument.'

Lam said he especially liked the arches in the corridors and the craft work at the entrance of the school. 'They're elegant and solemn.'

Meanwhile, the gateway and chapel of St Michael's Catholic Cemetery, built in 1848 and 1915, respectively, were declared grade two historic status at yesterday's meeting. It is the oldest Catholic cemetery in Hong Kong.

The Bauhaus-style Shek O bus terminus building was proposed for grade three status but the board decided to seek further advice.

The terminus, built in 1955 and featuring bathrooms and a rest area for drivers, 'is better than many grade three buildings', board chairman Bernard Chan said.