Mountain Lodge was the former summer residence of the Governor of Hong Kong on Victoria Peak on the Hong Kong Island in Hong Kong. The second building was a two-storey Renaissance style home and was demolished in 1946. The site is now the Victoria Peak Garden, a public park. The Gate Lodge, which originally served as living quarters for the keeper of Mountain Lodge, is still extant.
History as a sanatorium
A military sanatorium was proposed and established by Governor Hercules Robinson (1859–1865). A path was cut in December 1859 from what is now Robinson Road to the top of Victoria Peak, and the sanatorium was opened in the spring of 1862. It was well-built on the plateau below the flag-staff and 17 patients were sent there. However, the patients, like those in the rest of Hong Kong that year, did not improve and the military abandoned the site.
The site was then used for picnics until 1867
The first Mountain Lodge (1867–1897)
Governor MacDonnell (1866–1872), in 1867, purchased the building from the War Department and transformed it into the first Mountain Lodge—a bungalow to be built for the Governor's use. He had noted that the temperature was 14 °F (−10 °C) less than Central District in the summer.
There were three main buildings at the first Mountain Lodge. The Lodge itself, faced toward Pok Fu Lam on one side, and the lawn on the other. Two smaller buildings, rather like large European style cabins, and faced the lawn with their backs to the hillside. However, the lodge was severely damaged by a typhoon in the next year.
In 1873, Governor Kennedy (1872–1877) ordered to refurbish and extend the lodge, but it was again destroyed by a typhoon in 1874.
In 1892, another typhoon did some damage. You can see photos of both the first and second incarnations of Mountain Lodge at this reference.
In 1892, Governor Robinson (1891–1898) designated the Director of Public Works, Francis Cooper, to restore the lodge. But due to the deteriorating condition of the lodge, the restoration scheme was given up and the lodge was demolished in 1898.
In 1892, the Gate Lodge was built is in Renaissance style. However, when Sir Henry Arthur Blake became Governor, he did not like the proposals.
The second Mountain Lodge (1900–1946)
Instead, he appointed Palmer & Turner for another design. This second design was constructed in the Renaissance style of Scottish lodges and built between 1900 and 1902. The building was described by the media as the most imposing and handsome architecture on the Peak.
Governor Sir Francis Henry May and Lady May used it extensively and there are several photos of their family showing everyday life at Mountain Lodge 1910–1920. Thomas Southorn also lived there with his wife, including during 1925–1936.
Notes on the Photo: The lawn in front of the mansion is now the car park for the Victoria Peak Garden public park. The lawn on the lower left was the site of the first Mountain Lodge.
In 1932, it was proposed that the Governor have a house in Fanling, and plans were then made to abandon Mountain Lodge. In 1938, it was proposed that both Government House and Mountain Lodge be abandoned, and a single home built at Magazine Gap.
The Second World War intervened.
The building no longer exists as it was demolished in 1946. The Gate Lodge and the granite foundations remain, however.
During the Peak improvement project in January 2007, pieces of wall, roof tiles and several in situ granite steps beneath the ground were found on the former Mountain Lodge site during pre-construction checks. They have been confirmed to be the original tiles and steps of the second Mountain Lodge. A report with photos showing the original tiles and steps is available online.
Victoria Peak Garden (1969–present)
In 1969, the former Urban Council redeveloped the site as a park (the current Victoria Peak Garden) with public facilities including a new pavilion, lighting and drainage systems, a car park, a kiosk and a public toilet at the west of the pavilion. The pavilion of the Garden was built upon the masonry platform of the former Mountain Lodge.
In 1979, a pair of stone lions, donated by businessman Mr. Chau Yau, was located at the northern entrance of the pavilion. Another pair of stone lions was donated by the Lions Club in the 1990s, which was placed at the southern entrance of the pavilion.
Three identical marking stones for the Lodge were rediscovered in 1978; since then, one of them has been placed at the northeast corner of the former lodge grounds. One of the three GOVERNORS RESIDENCE stones has been erected in a flowerbed close to the Government House, Mid-levels since 1980.
- Hong Kong Public Records Office Plan of Mountain Lodge proposed additions (floor plans and elevations), 28 October 1873.
- Hong Kong Public Records Office Plan of Mountain Lodge additions, from 1879–1894
- Hong Kong Public Records Office Plan of proposed Mountain Lodge September, 1899
- Hong Kong: Somewhere between Heaven and Earth – letters of Matilda and Lucilla Sharp
- Europe in China – by Eitel
- CityLife article by Arthur Hacker – A Cut Above
- Bard, Solomon Matthews 2002 Voices from the Past: Hong Kong, 1842–1918. University of Washington Press.
- CityLife article by Arthur Hacker – The eccentric Governor of Hong Kong, Sir John Pope Hennessy
- [China Mail 1879–1886]
- Voices from the past: Hong Kong, 1842–1918 by Solomon Bard
- A collection of photos at the Hong Kong Public Records Office
- Out and about – Bella Southorn's stories reflect the life she loved as the wife of a colonial civil servant, SCMP Post Magazine, Jason Wordie, 24 Apr 2011
- Legco Report, 8 March 1926 .
- Legco Report, 6 Oct 1932
- Photos and floorplan
- 2007 Peak archaeological survey Photos
- 2007 Peak archaeological survey Text
- Wa Kiu Yat Po, 18 May 1969
- Gate Lodge (English)
- "Part 1 - Statement of Significance" .Interpretation Study On The Site Of Former Mountain Lodge And Its Surrounding Areas. The Oval Partnership for Leisure and Cultural Services Department (December 2011). Note: see p.46 for a photograph of the first Mountain Lodge.
- "Part 2 - Study Report". Interpretation Study On The Site Of Former Mountain Lodge And Its Surrounding Areas. The Oval Partnership for Leisure and Cultural Services Department (December 2011).
- Historical photographs of the second Mountain Lodge at the Government of Hong Kong website: