Happy Valley 1923 | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Happy Valley 1923

Happy Valley 1923

Was interested to see the recent picture of Happt Valley. Here is one from my family collection. It was sent to my grandfather John Olson in 1923.

Things changed a bit!

The house with the mark above it it 13 Broadwood Road which was the home of my great uncle Charles W. Olson until 1927 or perhaps a little later. Above it on the right on the ridg is The Towers a picture of which I posted some time ago.

This house was built between 1916/1917 and was the home of Charles W.Warren and his wife Hannah who was my great aunt and the half sister of the aforesaid John Olson and Charles W, Olson.

Any information regarding The Towers and it's history after 1923 when Charles Warren died would be appreciated. I think it ended as a school before making way for new high rise buildings.

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Monday, January 1, 1923


In 1940, the address provided by Leslie Beal Warren was The Towers, 20 Broadwood Road. It appears that the building was still around prior to the Japanese Occupation.

Again thanks. I am surprised that it was the address provided by Leslie Beal Warren as family history says it was sold in about 1923.

What happened after that I am not sure but I think it survived the War and recall reading somewhere that its final use was as a preparatory school.

My information is that the land the house stood on was at Wongneichong Road overlooking Happy Valley Racecourse. This later became Broadwood Road and was bought from the Government in 1913.  


HK Daily Press dated 4 April 1933

1933 The Towers to Let Advert?


This picture goes back to last year when I posted it and I was rude not to reply to Moddsey to thank him for the information.

The interesting thing about the clipping here is that I think it is possible that the company letting The Towers also bought the headquarters of C.E.Warren in 30-32 Des Boeux Road in the early 20s.

The picture I referred to in my last posting about the The Towers does not have arrows on it. However, if you go to my website www.thehongkonglegacy in the chapter "Growing families growing expectations" you will see the picture I mention with the arrows which may be of help to you. It shows the view from 13 up to 20 Broadwood Road.



Thank you, moddsey, for this information and sorry for the late response. Just to clear up the confusion: The Towers didn't reach its reserve price in July 1924 when it was put up for sale and was left empty. My uncle, Leslie Beal Warren, lived with his family at 'The Cottage' in the grounds until he sent them back to England in 1938. His children used to play in the large empty house. The Towers was sold, as per your newspaper clipping, in 1933. It was subsequently rented by friends of the family, the Dransfields. After 1938 Leslie Warren went to live with them until he left Hong Kong in 1941. I assume that's why he was giving his address as 20 Broadwood Road in 1940. 


Not sure if the date of demolition of the Towers has been determined. From our home in Happy Valley, where I was born and grew up, the building could be clearly seen from our dining room windows. It was known to us as "Warren's Castle", and was certainly still there after the war - I think until the 1950s.

I wonder if you knew Judith Evans and Roy Spencer who used to play in The Towers when it was derelict in the late '40s/early '50s. Together with the other local children they called it their castle. A favourite game was to "bomb" other children with rocks from the roof. I haven't yet found out the exact date when The Towers was demolished to make way for flats.


Sorry, no memory of this.

You may be interested in this brief extract from my father's diary, entry for 23rd December, 1941 - "For several days we had with binoculars been watching a sentry near Warren's Castle on Broadwood Ridge across the Valley. He was usually an Indian, and always reassuringly he was looking intently towards the hills. This morning he was looking the other way and he wore a conical steel helmet; he was a Japanese."

Thank you for this vivid and sinister snippet from your father's diary. I don't know what happened to the Dransfield family who had been renting The Towers, but I believe the house was used as a mess for Japanese officers during the war.