The government will fully restore a more than century-old traditional Chinese study hall in Yuen Long after it declared the historic building a monument yesterday. Chik Kwai Study Hall at Sheung Tsuen, Pat Heung, was built before 1899 by Lai Kam-tai of the indigenous Lai clan. A government spokesman said it was a typical example of a traditional two-hall, one-courtyard building of the Qing dynasty, and the quality was exceptional due to the well-preserved architectural components of the building. An English-style mansion in Pok Fu Lam was declared a temporary monument last week, stopping the owner from demolishing it for a year. Clan member Lai Wai-hung, a Yuen Long district councillor whose family has lived in Pat Heung for hundreds of years, welcomed the decision on the study hall but hoped the area would be improved. 'The environment is pretty bad,' he said. 'A public toilet without a flushing facility is only a dozen feet away. It is totally unacceptable.' The study hall was built to educate young clansmen in the classics and it was also used for ancestor worship from the 1930s. School operations ceased during the second world war but it reopened afterwards as the Wing Hing School, providing modern education. It was later used as a kindergarten but closed decades ago. The study hall served as a venue for clan meetings and traditional rituals, such as wedding ceremonies and ancestor worship at the spring and autumn equinoxes. Its green-brick facade is distinguished by a solemn granite-block wall base and the overhanging roof supported by ornamental brackets, camel humps and granite columns. The roof ridge of the entrance hall is decorated with polychrome moulding depicting the theme 'carp jumping over the dragon gate'. Inside, the exquisitely carved camel humps and eave boards are devoted to themes of traditional Chinese folk stories and auspicious motifs. A beautifully crafted wooden altar sits in the main hall to accommodate the soul tablets of the Lai ancestors. Its architectural components include ornate woodcarvings, lively decorative plaster moulding on the roof ridges and gable walls and vivid traditional Chinese murals, which apparently have not been repainted or refurbished since the study hall was built. The Antiquities and Monuments Office will carry out the restoration after a comprehensive conservation study and cartographic survey. It will be opened to the public.