Tuesday, 2 December 2014

#4 Dorset Crescent, Kowloon Tong

You may recall from a previous post (if you made it to the end) that I was particularly miffed (to put it lightly) about the very recent demolition of one of the original Kowloon Tong Estate mansions.

Here’s the problem – yes, there are many original houses still standing, but many have been modified beyond their original design and it seemed as though # 4 Dorset Crescent was a fantastic example of the houses in their original form (along with the green-painted kindergarten on Cumberland Road). I was so happy to have stumbled across the place via Streetview that I wasted no time getting down there to grab a shot only to discover I was already too late. Sadly, the land had been sold the previous summer and the building has since been demolished and the ground cleared (including removing the elegant trees that shaded the front wall).

Something's missing...!?

In case you couldn't remember, or can't be bothered to find it in the other post, here's a reminder of what used to be there.


Well, it seems as though I wasn’t the only person to have recognised the beauty and elegance (and perhaps historical significance) of the house and, lucky for us all, Henry-On-The-Hill, a fellow architecture fan and general good person has provided me with two additional pictures of the house just prior to its demolition.

Courtesy of Henry-on-the-hill

According the Henry's picture above, it’s obvious that the front trees went long before the house did. Sadly, wanton destruction of aged and beautiful trees is almost as widespread as the destruction of aged and beautiful buildings. 

Courtesy of Henry-on-the-hill

The last photo shows the rear of the property, photographed from the vantage point of the Cornwall Street Children's playground. These are probably the last ever photos taken of the house before it ended up in the landfill – I wonder how many of the original internal features still existed and have been dumped along with all the bricks? 

So a big thanks to Henry for preserving the house in photographic form – it’s certainly more than the new owners have bothered to do.

In the meantime (thanks to Ian for posting the original links), Queens Garden Development Limited - the company that bought the land and demolished the house - has applied for permission to build a temporary kindergarten on this and the plot next door. Here are the links to the planning application and subsequent revisions.

http://www.info.gov.hk/tpb/en/plan_application/A_K18_290.html

http://www.info.gov.hk/tpb/tc/plan_application/Attachment/20120710/s16fi_A_K18_290_2_gist.pdf

Great! Just what Kowloon Tong needs - another school that allows its MPV driving parents to park illegally, clogging up the already woefully inadequate roads around here *SIGH*...

3 comments:

  1. Hi Phil, interesting pics. A lovely old house, beautiful trees on a spacious block, now completely gone...a classic example of why the built heritage preservation policy in HK needs to change. I wonder if the house was in the same family until it was sold? As you say, just what Kowloon Tong needs - another kindergarten!!

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    1. Hi Liz - I do wonder if many of these older houses have been with certain families for more than one generation. Most new buyers would probably demolish and rebuild as has happened all over the estate. There are still some nice examples around but this one looked - by far - to be the least modified.
      I really think this place is just not suitable for the amount of school traffic it sees. All these roads are clogged morning and afternoon when school starts/ends.

      :-(

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  2. Mm, hardly the sort of environment such little children should be exposed to, both in terms of air pollution and traffic safety issues. Obviously some pretty poor planning decisions have been made for KT over the past decade. As we have no say in these things, I guess we just have to appreciate what little heritage there is left. Thanks for helping to catalogue those places (still standing or not). It makes my local forays much more interesting.

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