Declared Monuments in Hong Kong - Hong Kong Island
The facade of the Old Mental Hospital is one of the oldest surviving structures testifying the development of mental care services in Hong Kong. Its style of monumental Early-Baroque architecture is also rare in Hong Kong, particularly as it is so accurately constructed, using local materials.
Completed in 1892, the Old Mental Hospital at No. 2 High Street (referred to as “the Building” hereafter) was originally designed and constructed as the Medical Staff Quarters of the Government Civil Hospital. In 1939, the Building was converted into the wards for the mentally-ill female patients in order to relieve the overcrowding of the Mental Hospital in its vicinity. In 1961, it became an out-patient clinic for the mentally-ill after the opening of the Castle Peak Hospital in the same year, and was left vacant from 1971 until 1998. In 1998, works commenced to redevelop the site into Sai Ying Pun Community Complex, with the exceptional granite facade of the Building preserved intact. Having served as the additional wards of the Mental Hospital from 1939 to 1961, the Building has been locally known as the “Old Mental Hospital”. It is also affectionately known as the “High Street Haunted House”.
The existing facade of the Old Mental Hospital is L-shaped in plan, and comprises a wide verandah along the long side facing High Street, and its short side elevation facing Eastern Street. The heavy Early-Baroque features, including wide arched verandah and lower level of rusticated granite blocks together create an appearance of strength and impregnability. The fine dressed ashlar mouldings, cornices, quoins and band courses provide an elegant contrast to the heavy rusticated granite blocks. Further graceful effects are achieved by the use of pediments, pinnacles, decorative parapets and ornamental wrought-ironwork balustrading to the verandahs.