Alexandra Terrace [????- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Alexandra Terrace [????- ]

Alexandra Terrace

1879 Hongkong Streets Directory:

"Alexandra Terrace - from Old Bailey to Shelly Street"

I can't find it on the 1901 map.

Rednaxela Terrace  (Alexander backwards) IS  on the 1901 map.

1894 Hongkong Streets Directory:

"Rednaxela Terrace - from Shelly Street to Peel Street above Caine Road.

Not sure if they existed at the same time.

Photos that show this place



Hi there,

Sorry for intentionally complicating the matter.   :-P

Literally speaking the slopes from Old Bailey Street westward stretching towards Kennedy Town are full of terraces.  It's just not all of them had proper English and/or European names. 

The Alexandra & Rednaxela Terraces were most likely in an odd shape as we have the Elgin Street there.

For those with Chinese names, there might be more than one building in a place called Terrace, like those five terraces up Sands Street. 

Oh well, I might have been pointing to some terraces of a later time frame.

Best Regards,


Rednaxela Terrace is famous for having its street sign stolen. The name was supposed to be Alexander but somewhere along the line the name was transcribed backwards and its been Rednaxela ever since. Its also famous from Jose Rizal, the Philippine revolutionary, who lived there.

Not sure about Alexandra Terrace but the 1879 directory does say it was A-li-shan-ta Kai in Cantonese.

I've heard those stories too.  That is why, when I found a description of the location of Alexandra Terrace in the 1879 Directory,  I thought that perhaps it was not bad sinage, but rather a way prevent confusion with another Terrace.

The 1884 Ladies Directory has two ladies listed:

Miss Grimble - 1 Alexandra Terrace   
Mrs.  L. Hauschild - Alexandra Terrace

Next time I'm at the PRO, I'll check the Rates Books to see if it shows up, and what lot number.

Rizal’s professional card when in Hongkong c.1892

and his wife's background - a very mixed bag indeed

"Among Rizal’s patients was a blind American named Taufer, fairly well to do, who had been engineer of the pumping plant of the Hongkong Fire Department. He was a man of bravery, for he held a diploma for helping to rescue five Spaniards from a shipwreck in Hongkong harbor. And he was not less kind-hearted, for he and his wife, a Portuguese, had adopted and brought up as their own the infant daughter of a poor Irish woman who had died in Hongkong, leaving a considerable family to her husband, a corporal in the British Army on service there." ... read more

Taufer was listed as a "house owner" on the 1894 Jury list.

This was George Taufer, who appears in The Great Fire of Hong Kong as an important witness at the trial of Edward Fisher, the man accused of starting it. He and his brother Edward received awards and cash from Governor Hennessy for rescuing the abovementioned sailors. That was during the typhoon of 1874. He and his brother were in charge of the Hong Kong Fire Insurance Company volunteer brigade's steam fire engine, and were not with the 'Hong Kong Fire Department' as it says here.

Josephine Bracken de Rizal - life in Hongkong

My mother [was] a native of Ireland and was married to my father in Belfast, Ireland. My father’s name is James Bracken and my mother’s maiden name was Elizabeth Jane MacBride. We were five brothers and sisters. I was born in Hong Kong at the Victoria Barracks on the 9th of August 1876. My father is a corporal and detachment schoolmaster of a detachment at Pembroke Camp. My mother died after giving birth to me.

The kind and benevolent couple Mr. and Mrs. Taufer took very good care of me until I was seven years old. Unfortunately at that age was when my adopted mother died.

This is when I was seven years of age, 1882

A year after Mr. Taufer took to another wife, then my troubles commenced little by little. On the 13th July 1889 we took a trip to Japan on account of Mrs. Taufer’s illness. But Mrs. Taufer got worse and died.

This is when I was fifteen years of age 1890

On the 12th November 1891 Mr. Taufer took to a third wife which (sic) was a torment to me. On the 12th December I left Mr. Taufer’s house and went to the Italian convent because I could not anymore attend to her troubles. I stayed in the convent two months when Mr. Taufer came begging me to go home because his wife was starving him. As I could not bear him complaining. I went back on the 3rd February 1892 to take care of his house.

On the 14th September I had trouble again with Mrs. Taufer and hunted (?) her out of the house. In 1893 Mr. Taufer got very ill and had sore eyes, as he hired several doctors but none could do him any good.

This was when I was eighteen years of age.

The above writing has been claimed by some to be a forgery written by someone other than Josephine. In fact there has been a great deal written about her that is incorrect for a variety of reasons. The best biography of her that I have found appears online only, but seems very well researched. It's here:

We do need two separate places - an 1889 map (Plate 3-2, Mapping Hong Kong) shows the area bounded by Shelley / Hollywood / Old Bailey / Staunton.

It is split in two by a road across the middle, roughly east-west. The south half, between the split & Staunton, shows a building marked 'Alexandra Terrace'.

David, I have the same building on an 1887 map too. As I recall, this space is now occupied by a Police Married Quarters.

Have I marked Alexandra Terrace correctly?  This should be really be a forum - not a place.  I'm trying to explain the Alexandra - Rednaxela conundrum

Why the conundrum? Rednaxela backwards spells Alexander, not Alexandra. Plus the two terraces are quite far apart. I was always under the impression that the sign was misprinted/miswritten by Chinese signwriter who didn't speak English, and no one got around to correcting it. That's the old urban legend anyway.

I've tweaked the marker - the Terrace was on the south half of the block, not the north half. Suggest we also update Place's title to just be "Alexandra Terrace", to match the marker.

Location is shown on this 1874 map:

The first mention of Rednaxela terrace I can find is a Mr Peter Emil Helgs Melbye who lived at No 4 in 1887. The last mention of Alexandra terrace is in 1888 when a Mr Alexandrino Jose Vieira lived at No 3 Alexandra Terrace (he had moved by 1889 to Elgin Street) As the two addresses coexisted for a couple of years I wonder if the post office refused to allow Alexander terrace as a name as it would cause confusion with Alexandra Terrace. In some years (1884) the Alexandra Terrace address was incorrectly recorded as Alexander Terrace in the Juror lists

The Source for Peter Melbye was the HK Juror Lists. Many of them can be found here on Gwulo. You can also search the HK Government Online records here, the first record of an Emil Melbye appears in 1874 when he was employed as an assistant at John Burd &Co. He also became the Danish Consul in HK in 1887. The last mention of a Melbye is Alfred in 1923. I do not think you will find any mention of a Mrs Melbye in the juror lists as I believe women were not permitted to serve on juries in the period. You can however search the ladies directories for Hong Kong here; there is a mention of a Mrs E H Melbye living at Magdalen Terrace, Magazine Gap in the 1891 version. Note that there are other Ladies directories apart from the ones listed no Gwulo, a Google search will bring many of them up.