Declared Monuments in Hong Kong - New Territories
Chik Kwai Study Hall, a typical traditional Chinese study hall in Hong Kong, was built before 1899 by Lai Kam Tai of the Lai clan in Pat Heung, which had settled in the Pat Heung area for hundreds of years. According to the genealogy of the clan, the second generation ancestor, Lai Chung Hing migrated from Jianxi to Xinhui, Guangdong in the Song dynasty. Clansmen later settled in the Dongguan and Kam Tin areas. During the Ming dynasty, the thirteenth generation ancestor, Lai Wui Wun, led his clansmen to settle in the present Sheung Tsuen.
Chik Kwai Study Hall was used for both ancestor worship and educating young clansmen. The Study Hall, which ceased operation during the Second World War, was used afterwards as the temporary classrooms of Wing Hing School, a school offering modern education. The Study Hall was later used as Chik Kwai Kindergarten, which was closed in the early 1970s.
Chik Kwai Study Hall is a typical example of traditional two-hall-one-courtyard building of the Qing dynasty. The impressive facade of the green-brick study hall is distinguished by the 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 mouldings depicting the theme of "carp jumps over the dragon gate". Internally, all the exquisitely craved camel humps and eaves boards are devoted to the themes of traditional Chinese folk stories and auspicious motifs. A beautifully crafted wooden altar is placed at the main hall of the Study Hall for accommodating the soul tablets of the clan ancestors.
The Chik Kwai Study Hall is exceptional due to the well-preserved architectural components of the building. Examples include the ornate woodcarvings throughout the building, the lively decorative plaster mouldings on the roof ridges and gable walls, and the vivid traditional Chinese murals, which are all said not to have been repainted or refurbished since the construction of the Study Hall. Such features make it one of the finest examples of traditional Chinese study halls that still survive in Yuen Long.
Chik Kwai Study Hall