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Special Research >
Research on Historical Buildings in Knutsford Terrace, Tsim Sha Tsui
Prepared by Dr. P. H. Hase (November 2002)
The land on the north side of Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, was originally sold as a number of Garden Lots in 1875 (including Garden Lots 22 and 37, and some others) and was bought up piece by piece during the late 1880s by the Kowloon Land and Building Company (Kowloon Land). It bought up this land mostly in 1888. The land thus bought was converted to a single new lot (K.I.L. 671) in 1895, and developed as Knutsford Terrace, probably in that same year.
Kowloon Land developed Knutsford Terrace as a row of sixteen small villas, on the upper side of the road (which was accessed from Observatory Road).
Descriptions survive of the late nineteenth century European-style villas in Tsim Sha Tsui. Most were two-storeyed, although a few of the larger ones, were three-storeyed. Most consisted of two bedrooms, side-by-side on the upper floor (each opening onto a verandah running along the front of the building, and each with a bathroom behind). Some had a small third bedroom at the back as well. Below there were also two main rooms, side-by-side, a living room and a dining room, with the entrance between them, leading to the stairs to the upper floor. Behind each house was a tiny courtyard, with, on the further side, a servant's quarter and a kitchen. These early developments were mostly not at that date on mains drains, and nightsoil was removed each night from the houses. The 1895 Knutsford Terrace development was of villas of this sort. Certainly the houses there originally had the usual tiny courtyard and servants' quarters and kitchen at the back.
The Knutsford Terrace development, like most of the developments in this area, was on the hillslope, with the houses standing well above Kimberley Road, to get the maximum benefit from the breeze. The area below Knutsford Terrace, along Kimberley Road, which also lay within K.I.L. 671, was developed as communal gardens, shared by the residents of the sixteen houses behind. Two large garden areas were developed, with an access path up to the houses behind between them (this access path still survives today). Part of these gardens was developed as tennis courts, and other parts as flower-gardens, with trees.
In 1923, the Knutsford Terrace property was sold to the Wong family which decided to develop the gardens in front of the Terrace for more housing: these new terraces, along the Kimberley Road frontage, were under construction in 1925. A small area, however, was left as gardens, in the centre of the new developments, this area was built over in the early 1950s.
The Wong family divided the lot, and sold off the property house by house, in the late 1940s and early 1950s. After this house-by-house sale, most of the old 1895 houses on Knutsford Terrace were speedily demolished and rebuilt, the new premises having five to six storeys: in the last fifteen years these early post-War buildings have in turn all been replaced by multi-storey buildings.
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