Charles Edward WARREN [1872-1923] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Charles Edward WARREN [1872-1923]

Charles Edward
Birthplace (country): 

Charles Edward Warren was John Olson's son-in-law.

To start, a search for 'warren' in HKGRO returns several entries. I only skimmed a couple of the results, but found the duration of his employment with the Public Works Department:

Next he appears in the Juror lists:

  • 1902: Contractor, Wyndham Street
  • 1904: Contractor, C.E. Warren & Co., 30 Des Voeux Rd Central
  • 1905: ditto
  • 1906: ditto
  • 1907: Architect. &c., C.E. Warren & Co., 30 Des Voeux Rd Central
  • 1908: ditto
  • 1909: Contractor, &c., C.E. Warren & Co., 30 Des Voeux Rd Central
  • 1910: ditto

That's as far as I've got - please add any further information about him in the comments below.


Photos that show this person



Some of Warren's early career and much of his later career are covered at

Unable to access the documents you mention for some reason.

My grandfather was a partner in the business C.E.Warren and Co. Full story on website.

Those links are a bit strange - if I click the first time, I see the HKGRO search page. If I then click 'Back' in my browser and click the link a second time, then I can see the target document ok (it should be a PDF file).

There's a mention of his company doing work on the newly opened Industrial & Commercial Bank Building:

The handsome marble work in the interior is the work of Messrs. C. E. Warren & Co. Ltd.

Thanks David.

This project is new to me and was some time after Warren's death. The company was being run by his son Leslie Warren. He left HK just before the Japanese invasion and the company ceased trading. 

However, according to records I got from the Company's Office the company was not officially dissolved until 1956 though there is no record or family knowledge of it ever trading from 1941 onwards which is perhaps somewhat strange.


C E Warren & Co worked on the new Bank of East Asia Building:

Messrs. C.E. Warren & Co. have decorated the stairs in dove-grey and green terrazzo [...]

A few more odds and ends.


Sean's family history notes that CE Warren was born on 29 Mar, 1872, and died on 9th Jun, 1923.

CE Warren, authorised architect.

The HK Institute of Architects published an article "The 100 years architects in Hong Kong 1841-1941" (click to download). On page 48 there's a mention:

Charles E. Warren (C.E., Authorized Architect 1903-23) came to Hong Kong before 1899. He worked in PWD and then in his own practice until 1928.

Obviously the "until 1928" is wrong, but it's interesting to see he was qualified as an Authorized Architect. The top of page 47 shows that there was only a small group of architect firms:

Authorized Architects in Private Practice 1903-1941

There are 12 firms found in the 1914 directory. They were A. Abdoolrahim; Denison, Ram & Gibbs; E. M. Hazeland; Leigh & Orange; John Lemm; Colbourne Little; Palmer & Turner; L. A. Rose; G. B. Sayer; C. E. Warren and Weaser & Raven.

But the total number of architects was higher. From the bottom of page 46:

Starting from 1903, Hong Kong had a list of Authorized Architect under the Public Health and Building Ordinance. The qualifications of an Authorized Architect were:

1) over 27 years of age
2) has worked exclusively as a Civil Engineer or Architect for at least 8 years, dating from the commencement of his pupilage or professional training
3) has had sufficient training and experience as a Civil Engineer or Architect
With regard to (2), any diploma especially to those issued by the Institute of Civil Engineers or the Royal Institute of British Architects.

There were 33 Authorized Architects in 1903. 11 of them were with architectural background, 14 were engineers and the background of the rest was unknown.

At first glance the numbers given aren't quite right. We can see the 1903 list of authorized architects, it's notification #122 in the 1903 Government Gazette. Charles Warren appears, but he's one of only 20 names listed. However, several notifications later in the year (#160, #354, #592, #871) add names to the list, bringing the total up to the 33 mentioned above.

I wonder if the Institute of Civil Engineers would have any record of his qualification?

Regards, David

Diana Warren, (now Taschereau), reports that her father, Leslie Warren, (1900-1943), eldest son of C.E. Warren, who took over the management of C.E. Warren & Co. after the death of her grandfather, Charles Warren, in 1923, designed the bathroom and the gates to Eucliffe Castle in Repulse Bay, home of the millionnaire, Eu Tong Sween. Looking over his shoulder, as a small child, she drew her own design for the gates at the same time.

Jill, thanks for the extra information. You can see some photos of Eucliffe here.

I wonder if the company did any work on Eu Tong Sen's other two "castles", Sirmio and Euston?

Regards, David

Here are a couple from the local papers of the time (click thumbnails to zoom in):

C E Warren's obituary (HK Daily Press)
C E Warren's obituary (HK Telegraph)

Thanks David,

Have a photocopy of something similar from SCMP. Wife, Hannah was un UK at the time staying with my gradfather in Chiswick, London. Have postcards she sent on the way back to HK.


There is a sketch from the book "the vanishing city" showing the entrace gate of Eucliffe Castle. I was the architectural student from HKU by that time to do the measure drawings. I've kept some photos of the Castle

Thank you for this information, tonylam. I don't have this book but will get it. Would these be the original gates? C. E. Warren & Co. was wound up in 1941. My previous information from Leslie Warren's daughter is that he designed the gates.  Does that information tally with yours? Do you know the date when the gates were actually built?


I have no idea when the gate was built.

In our measured drawing, the main gate was shown. you can check the book "measured drawings volume 2 " published by Pace Publishing Ltd.and Department of Architecture HKU 1999

The 1922 Dollar Directory (viewable in HKU's Special Collections) lists two people surnamed Warren:

  • Warren, A.H., staff, Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
  • Warren, C.E., director, C.E. Warren & Co.

It also lists the company:

Warren & Co., C.E.
Telephones 370 (Office) and 269 (Godown).
Merchants, architects and Sanitary Engineers,
Director - C. E. Warren.
Staff - J. Goulart D'Aquino and P.M. Xavier. 


A.H. Warren wasn't related to Charles E. Warren, as far as we know. Charles's son Arthur Cecil Warren was still at school in England in 1922. When Charles died in June 1923, Arthur completed the school year and joined his elder brother, Leslie, in C.E. Warren & Co., aged nearly 17. Thank you though for picking out A.H. Warren. He must be from another Warren family. Worth a query.

Best regards


Thanks Jill, I thought I'd better include it in case it was a miss-spelling of A C Warren, but it's clear that wasn't the case.

Did any of C E Warren's relatives (eg brothers, nephews, etc) come out to Hong Kong? I can imagine tales of a successful brother / uncle being told back in the UK, and the listener being sent out to Hong Kong to try their luck.

Regards, David

My grandfather was the seventh of eight children. His youngest brother was called Albert (no middle name recorded). Two of my cousins have meticulously researched the Northamptonshire branch of the Warren family from which my grandfather, known to them as 'Charlie,' came. As neither has yet found a record of Albert's life or death, I won't totally discount his appearance in Hong Kong, but I think it unlikely that some hint of his being there wouldn't have reached our ears. The only current record of a member of the Warren family coming to Hong Kong is a long letter from Albert Wilson, the fiancé of Charles Warren's niece, Maude, to his potential in-laws, after his ship, the HMS Astrea had called in at Hong Kong between 2nd December 1910 and 20th January, 1911. Albert Wilson refers to Charles as "Uncle Warren." He went to see the two C.E. Warren workshops and found out the family's private address in Kowloon, but admits to having been "too shy" actually to go and knock on the door. If he had had the courage to visit, we would have had a vital picture of the household at that time, when all the children were still at home and my father a toddler. My cousin who has written a detailed record of the Northamptonshire Warrens and who is descended from Charles Warren’s eldest brother, Benjamin, father of Maude, has kindly given permission for me to quote from Albert Wilson’s letter to his future in-laws, the Garnhams. He is happy to provide scans of the full letter: 

Uncle Warren has two shops, very large ones, especially one containing all such as general decorator, in the other granite work and tomb stones etc. I have not paid him a visit yet as I am too shy. I suppose but by the look of things he must be very prosperous, living himself and his family across the water at Kowloon, distance like Harwich and Felixstowe.


As you say, what a pity to have travelled half way around the world, but not to have knocked on the door!

Regards, David

I just noticed this letter to the editor of the SCMP:

Sir, On the removal of the Clock Tower, I suggest that an underground convenience for Europeans be built there. This would not take up much space on the surface of the road, and with a small railing around, it would serve the purpose of regulating the traffic. By charging a small fee, as is done at Home, it would soon pay for itself. - Yours, etc.,

It originally appeared in the May 22, 1913 edition of the newspaper, and was reprinted in the SCMP book "Points of View. A century of Letters to the Editor of the SCMP", which is where I saw it.

For you Jill, I am going to pull a few rabbits out of a hat. This is the first:


"THE FATAL COLLAPSE IN HIGH STREET...Inquiry at Magistracy....

....Yestderday afternoon at the Magistracy, Mr Hazeland.....A plan under the Building Ordinance was submitted on the 4th January by Mr. C.E. Warren as agent for the owner. Mr. Warren described the work as follows...

Read more at: The China Mail, page 5, 29th June 1901 and The Hong Kong Daily Press, page 3, 29th June 1901


“IN the enquiry into the cause of the collapse of certain houses, heard at the Magistracy yesterday afternoon, Mr. C.R. Warren (sic) said he was a contractor, not an architect and contractor as reported.”

Source: The Hong Kong Telegraph, page 2, 29th June 1901

As a bonus there is a C.E. Warren and Co. advertisement with the No. 25 Aberdeen address on page 1 (a copy of which you already have)


Further developments:

“The Collapse in High Street

The inquiry into the cause of the fatal collapse of houses in High Street was resumed this afternoon at the Magistracy. Mr. C.E. Warren was again put in the witness box…”

Source: The China Mail, page 2, 2nd July 1901 and more here Hong Kong Daily Press, page 3, 3rd July 1901

Another one. Considering the date, I don't think you saw this coming: 

"The German Mail, I.G.M. Steamer Prinzess Alice left Singapore on Friday, at 1 p.m., and may be expected here to-day, at 3 p.m"

Source: Hong Kong Daily Press, page 10, 12th October 1904

The ship departed Bremen on 30th August 1904, visited Southampton 6th September 1904...was at Singapore 7th October 1904 and arrived in Hong Kong about 3 pm 12th October 1904

"Arrivals: Prinzess Alice, Ger. s.s., 6,720 , P, Wittin 12th Oct., - Bremen 31st Aug., and Singapore 7th Oct., Mails and (?) – M. & Co."

“Passengers arrived…Per Prinzess Alice, from Bremen…Mr. and Mrs. C.E. Warren…”

Source: The Hong Kong Telegraph, page 7, 12th October 1904 and also China Mail, page 8, 12th October 1904


It raises interesting questions. Like for a start, were their very young children Leslie and Evelyn with them?  

You're right, David. I didn't know about this trip to England by my grandparents. I've always wondered if young children weren't necessarily included on passenger lists. As you say, Leslie and Evelyn were 4 and 2. I hardly think they would have been left behind.

The Victoria Recreation Club Athletic Meeting was held on the 7th April 1906 at the Hong Kong Club’s ground at Happy Valley. In the Boys’ Race 440 yards (Handicap), the First Prize was presented by…Mr. C.E. Warren

Source: The China Mail, page 3, 7th April 1906


Being ever more socially and civilly minded, your grandfather was mentioned again. On the afternoon of 3rd January  1908, the distribution of prizes in connection with St. Joseph’s College took place at the institution. A Mr. C.E. Warren was amongst those thanked for contributing to the Prize Fund.

Source: The China Mail, page 5, 3rd January 1908

Once again, many thanks for these finds about my grandfather, David. All new to me!

I had just sent you an email to say that the newspaper pages aren't opening for me at the moment. Very frustrating. I hope they will relent if our signal improves.  I do look forward to reading the articles.





Oh there is more...


The funeral of the late 65 year-old Mr William Danby, M.I.C.E., took place at the Happy Valley Cemetery on a beautiful golden sunny morning of 13th February 1908. Amongst those who sent wreaths was a Mr. C.E. Warren....I suspect you will recognise a couple of names mentiioned in those who attended or sent wreaths to the funeral. William Danby was a civil engineer, surveyor, architect and a Freemason.

Source: The China Mail, page 4, 13th February 1908 and also Hong Kong Daily Press, page 2, 14th February 1908

The eleventh annual athletic meeting of the Victoria Recreation Club was held at Happy Valley on the Hong Kong Football Club ground on the afternoon of 25th April 1908. In the Boys Race 100 yards, First Prize was presented by Mr C.E. Warren

Source: The Hong Kong Telegraph, page 4, 25th April 1908 and The China Mail, page 5, 25th April 1908 and The Hong Kong Weekly Press, page 13, 2nd May 1908


The twelfth annual athletic meeting of the Victoria Recreation Club was held at Happy Valley on the Hong Kong Football Club ground on the afternoon of 10th April 1909.  Mr C.E. Warren was amongst a list of names thanked for presenting prizes.

Source: The China Mail, page 6, 10th April 1909



Here, your grandfather's Catholic and charitable credentials are evident in a public manner. So his conversion seems genuine and sustained.

After a recent Kermesse and an Al Fresco fête, the Committee of the Society of St Vincent de Paul publicly thanked him for his cash donation.


Source: The China Mail, page 4, 16th November 1909 and Hong Kong Daily Press, page 3, 16th November 1909


A letter was read from Mr. C.E. Warren expressing regret for having erected a monument in the Colonial Cemetery which has been the subject of complaint at the previous meeting of the Board, and explaining that it was due to a misunderstanding.

The letter was laid on the table."


Source: The China Mail, page 5, 8th December 1909 and Hong Kong Daily Press, page 3, 8th December 1909

The German steamer Derfflinger departed Hong Kong 19th May 1911 for Shanghai and then went on to Japan...Nagasaki, Kobe and Yokohama. 

"Per Derfflinger, …..for Kobe, Mr. C.E. Warren…"


Any business interests in Japan?

Source: Hong Kong Daily Press, page 6, 22nd May 1911 and The China Mail, page 10, 22nd May 1911 and The Hong Kong Telegraph, page 8, 22nd May 1911

And as an extra bonus for me on the same ship is my greatgranduncle Ahmet Rumjahn (16th May 1863 Hong Kong-30th November 1925 Shanghai) who I knew till now had left Hong Kong in 1912 to Shanghai to commence his business there. Now I have a more accurate evidence of travel date to Shanghai. And as a bonus for Sandy Madar, on the same ship is his granduncle Abdul Kader Arculli (1880 Hong Kong-21st December 1962 Hong Kong)

A lot to digest in the above articles, for which I'm very grateful. I'm still having difficulty with mmis. So far the above China Mail 22/5/11 p. 10 is the only page I've succeeded in opening. So yes, C.E. Warren & Co. did have business interests in Japan. I didn't know about the years as early as 1911, but I knew that my uncle, Leslie Warren visited Japan on business. I  have photos taken in Nagasaki when he also took his family along.

The Cemetery Committee seemed to meet under the auspices of the Sanitary Board. Perhaps a report on the previous meeting of the Board would tell us to whom or what the monument was dedicated. I don't know how often the Board met. Presumably the monument was not pulled down. Perhaps it is still in the cemetery. It would be interesting to know.

That's a sensible line of enquiry. Each of these tidbits would generate a host of questions that will add a more subtle understanding of your grandfather's life.

Ahmet Rumjahn was a member of the Sanitary Board in 1903 (he only served one term) and was listed with the title Esq and JP along with British Board members and several Chinese for the Hong Kong Government Report for the year 1904, and its possible that he and C.E. Warren may have crossed paths professionally. 

Your grandfather, I guess like most HK buisnessmen and ordinary speculators, had a keen interest in investment in various HK companies and took an active interest in their buisness activities. The 27th ordinary annual geneal meeting of Messrs A.S. Watson and Company, Ltd. was held in the Hongkong hotel on the morning of 1st June 1912. Among those present was Mr C.E. Warren...

Source: The Hong Kong Telegraph, page 5, 1st June 1912 and Hong Kong Daily Press, page 3, 3rd June 1912


The 16th ordinary annual meeting of the "Star" Ferry Company Ltd. was held on Thursday 28th May 1914 at the office of Messrs. Jardine Matherson and Co., Those present included Mr C.E. Warren...

Source: The China Mail, page 6, 28th May 1914 and The Hong Kong Telegraph, page 4, 28th May 1914 and Hong Kong Daily Press, page 3, 29th May 1914



Several Chinese Temporarily Buried

A serious landslip occurred early this morning in the Tai Han village at the end of a block of buildings owned and occupied by Mr. C.E. Warren, architect. Four of Mr Warren’s servants were buried for a considerable time, but, fortunately, the stones and earth had fallen in such a manner as to give them good breathing space. The Fire Brigade and Police were summoned, and after some hard work the unfortunate men were extricated from their perilous position. They were nearly suffocated, and were at once removed to the Hospital. One has his arm broken.

The collapse was probably due to the recent heavy rains which rendered the hillside somewhat precarious.

At West Point the retaining wall at Baseley Path collapsed under the pressure of the land, above which had become sodden by the rain. Happily, no one was injured."


Source: The China Mail, page 4, 15th June 1915

This must have been at Warren Street, Tai Hang. The street led to the C.E. Warren & Co. factory. The factory workers' cottages, owned by the company were all down one side of the street. Strange use of the word "servants" here to designate the factory workers. What a blessing there were no fatalities. 

Your grandfather also sent a wreath to the funeral of Mr George John Budds Sayer on 20th September 1915 at the Protestant Cemetery, Happy Valley, Hong Kong. He was a fellow architect.

Source:  The Hong Kong Telegraph, page 4, 21st September 1915