Hutchison Whampoa

Heritage bid to protect oldest home on The Peak

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 October, 2011, 12:00am


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Government heritage advisers are considering upgrading the historic rating of the oldest surviving residence on The Peak to stop owner Hutchison Whampoa from demolishing it.

Members of the Antiquities Advisory Board agreed at a meeting yesterday that the grade-two status was too low for the European-style mansion at 23 Coombe Road, which had high historic and architectural values.

Hutchison Whampoa recently submitted an application to demolish the house, Stonyhurst, for redevelopment.

Antiquities board member Tony Lam Chung-wai, of the Institute of Architects, said the house was a rare reminder of 19th-century residences.

'I am worried that under a grade two, the developer will partially tear down the building and keep only parts of it. It could also conduct alteration work that could damage the integrity of the building.'

He said the house deserved grade-one status, which would allow it to become a protected monument.

The house was built for Irishman John Joseph Francis, who came to Hong Kong as a military officer in the 1860s and later became a barrister. He is also remembered for drawing up the rules for the formation of the Po Leung Kuk, one of the largest charities in Hong Kong.