If you have ever visited the Museum of Tea Ware, you would find that the museum is housed inside an "unusual" building called the "Flagstaff House".
Built in the 1840s, the Flagstaff House was originally the office and residence of the Commander of the British Forces in Hong Kong (thus the name "Flagstaff House"). This Greek Revival style building was one of the first buildings the British built after occupying Hong Kong in 1842. And it remained to be the Commander's residence until 1978.
The Flagstaff House was then put under the management of the Urban Council in 1981. Council member Dr. K.S. Lo (1910 - 1995) suggested converting the building into a museum devoted to Chinese tea culture. After years of planning and reconstruction - to restore the building to its mid 19th century appearance and install modern facilities for museum use - the Museum of Tea Ware opened its doors in 1984. It was the world’s first museum dedicated to tea ware.
Specialising in the collection, study, and display of tea ware, the Museum of Tea Ware features at its core the generous donations of Dr. Lo, which include many fine examples of the famous Yixing teapots. The Museum also holds regular demonstrations, tea gatherings, and lecture programmes to promote ceramic art and Chinese tea drinking culture to the public.
Dr. Lo donated an additional collection of rare Chinese ceramics and seals to the Urban Council in 1994, and suggested adding an extension to the main building to house the donated items. The K.S. Lo Gallery was opened to the public in 1995. The Gallery matched the outlook of the Flagstaff House for its exterior design, while its interiors followed traditional Chinese-style design.
If you would like to learn more about the architectural evolution of the Flagstaff House, please visit "Living Archi Central", a liberal studies teaching kit prepared by the Architectural Services Department: www2.archsd.gov.hk/teachingkits/TK3/central/.