Flagstaff House

Flagstaff House is the oldest example of British-style architecture remaining in Hong Kong. It is located in 10 Cotton Tree Drive, Central - within the Hong Kong Park.

It has been a longtime residence of the Commander of the British forces in Hong Kong during colonial times. Today Flagstaff House houses the Museum of Tea Ware. The building is a popular setting for wedding photography.

History

Flagstaff House had been named as Headquarter House until 1932. There is some disagreement as to who designed it, but it was completed in 1846 and initially served as the military headquarters office and residence of the Commander of the British forces in Hong Kong. The site chosen was a small bluff above the barracks and above Queen's Road, then at the waterfront.

The building was designed in Greek revival style. Historians suspect it was designed either by Murdoch Bruce, a Scottish who was inspector of buildings, or by Lieutenant Bernard, collinson of the Sappers. The first occupant was Major-General George Charles D'Aguilar, General Officer Commanding from 1844 to 1846 who also held the post of Lieutenant Governor.

The west and east wings were shelled during the Japanese invasion, and it suffered bomb damage. The Japanese repaired it and the Commandant took the building as his residence during the occupation.

After the war, Flagstaff House was again the Commander's residence until 1978, when the Commander moved to a purpose built house on Barker Road. It was handed over by the military to the civilian Hong Kong Government as part of the surrender of Victoria Barracks. The Government put it under the responsibility of the Urban Council in 1981.

The building was declared a monument in 1989. It was restored as far as possible to its original mid-19th-century appearance, structurally reinforced, and the interior was to be modified so that it could be used as a museum.

Museum of Tea Ware

In 1984, the Flagstaff House was converted into the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware, a branch museum of the Hong Kong Museum of Art. The museum specializes in the collection, study and display of teaware, including many samples of the Yixing teapot, from Jiangsu Province of China, as well as the world's oldest known extant teapot.

A new wing, the K.S. Lo Gallery, was added in 1995. It is named after a local collector, which made a donation to the city in the 1970s. This donation now constitutes the core of the museum's collection. The new gallery contains a collection of ceramics and Chinese seals.

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