King Yin Lei
From The Westside Stories
The original appearance of King Yin Lei
|Location||45 Stubbs Road|
|Current owner||The Hong Kong Government|
|Year of completion||1937|
|Facilities||main building, annex block, garage, subsidiary building, fore courtyard, pavilion, garden, swimming pool and cage area|
King Yin Lei ,also known as King Yin Lane(Chinese:景賢里) is a mansion situated at Mid-Levels, 45 Stubbs Road, it became a heritage in Hong Kong in 2007, when a controversy happened. The mansion was first destroyed and it is still on the process of reconstruction.
King Yin Lei is a Chinese palatial architecture with the typical Chinese structure of three-storey "red bricks and green tiles" designed by a British architect A.R. Fenton-Rayen. It began construction in 1936 and completed in 1937 at a site over Happy Valley Racecourse, when Hong Kong was a colony of United Kingdom and had three Chinese owners, which was a significance remark when England was in control over Hong Kong. 
All the past owners of King Yin Lei are significant figures in Hong Kong in different eras. The first owner was Mrs. Shum Li Po-lun (岑李寶麟), the daughter of Mr. Li Po-chun (李寶椿) who was a famous merchant in Hong Kong who contributed a lot to much social welfare, including medical services and education. The second owner was Mr. Yow Qhei-man (邱子文) and his son Mr. Yow Mok-shing (邱木成) is the third owner of the mansion. Mr. Yow Qhei-man was a renowned businessman of manufacturing traditional Chinese dried fruit sweets and was known to local people as the “King of Dried Plums” (話梅大王). Whereas his son, the third owner of the mansion, is a famous businessman who contributes a lot to public charities and the field of education, like Tung Wah Group of Hospitals (東華三院), a Justice of the Peace (太平紳士)and some local communities, such as the Hong Kong Chiu Chow Chamber of Commerce (香港潮州商會).pedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom England] was in control over Hong Kong.  Yet, the last owner of the mansion is still an unknown to us.
Apart from the owners of Kei Yin Lei, the mansion actually is a remarkable place in history. Hong Kong was a colony of Britain, thus, it is not surprising that the British colonial style architecture played a dominant role. Yet, King Yin Lei which is lavishly built in the style of Chinese palatial architecture were a rarity. In addition, it was built in a prominent location at the Mid-Levels where British style buildings were dominated.
Last but not least, the style of King Yin Lei makes it distinctive to other architecture. It is a rare style of “predominantly Chinese with Chinese and Western elements nicely combined” (中西結合，以中為主).pedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom England] was in control over Hong Kong.  Not many other buildings of similar kind style can compare with King Yin Lei in terms of its excellence in architectural design, craftsmanship and diversity in building materials.
King Yin Lei sits on a 50,650 square feet (4,706m2) site which includes a main building, an annex block, a garage, a subsidiary building, a pavilion, a swimming pool, etc. Regarding the Chinese Fung Shui idea “the purple qi coming from the east” (紫氣東來), the complex was built slightly to the east, in addition to situated in hillside and facing the sea, it sets a perfect Fung Shui layout as a whole.
The whole setting of the site is divided into two parts, separated by a boundary wall. The front part, which also named as the “inner residence” (內宅) consists of the main building, the annex block, the garage, the subsidiary building and the fore courtyard. On the other hand, the rear part includes the pavilion, the garden and the swimming pool, which traditionally named as the “outer yard” (外院). Owing to Hong Kong as an agricultural society when the building was built, there is a “cage area” (家禽區) on the left of the front portion to keep the birds as well as the dog of the mansion’s first owner.
Main building - inner residence
The main building of the inner residence follows the traditional Southern China layout “three-storey two-veranda”(三合院式). This classic layout contains one main building with two wings on the sides facing south, in order to let more sunshine going into the building, a screen wall was built at the south of the open area to form an internal courtyard (天井). Yet, the layout is not completely following the traditional courtyard houses, the wings are slightly titled away from the main building so that the main entrance chamber is enlarged. This layout makes a fusion between the “three-storey two veranda” layout and also an upper-class residence which set a pavilion in front of the main hall.
As for the annex block, there are two storeys with a number of rooms parallel to each other and connected by a veranda. This design in annex block shows the simplicity of modern residential designs in early years compared to those traditional ones. In order to separate the living areas of the owners and the servants of the mansion, the second floor of the main building and the annex block are connected by a kitchen and a passageway, which is a good practice to let the masters enjoy their privacy, and at the same time they can also enjoy the services of the servants in a short period of time. There are some more intelligent ideas, for example, a food hatch is set between the kitchen on the first floor and the dining hall in the main building as to deliver the dishes faster.
The two-storey garage’s roof is a classical Chinese luding roof, a four-sloped roof with a flat central portion). The first floor is for car parking and the second floor is for residential use.
The single-storey subsidiary building is about 20 metres long and connected by corridors to the square shape pavilions at both sides. Its roof is classical Chinese pyramidal roof in quadrangular shape.
The one-storey pavilion has two entrances and a traditional Chinese double-eaved pyramidal roof in hexagonal shape.
Since the Mid-Levels used to be the residential area of wealthy people in Hong Kong, the mansion has a strict security design. There was a secret compartment on the second floor of the east wing of the main building. Surrounded by four walls, the safe room has an en entrance on the eastern wall and a secure safe door. There are also some tiny holes for ventilation. It can see that the property of the owner can be highly protected 
The artistic value of King Yin Lei is twofold, both architectural style and craftsmanship of the house. King Yin Lei, as mentioned before, is a rarity because it is in style of “predominantly Chinese with Chinese and Western elements nicely combined” (中西結合，以中為主). It can be seen in the roof and the bricks of King Yin Lei. It uses green-glazed tiles which represent the traditional Chinese style, but on the other hand, the external walls made by red bricks represented the western architectural design.
Besides, the simplified version of ridge-end ornaments, immortals and running animals represents a style of Qing dynasty imperial buildings. The design concept of “style rather than layout” which emphases on style more than the delicate appearance follows the rules of traditional Chinese aesthetic value.
Decorations, Design and Damages
|Location||Design||Damage Status||Current Condition|
|1st floor||Main Hall||white marble, with a black-and-white Swastika pattern on the periphery||Serious||the flooring has been fully damaged. A large proportion of marble in the passageway has been destroyed.|
|Western round chamber and eastern room||paved with large pieces of white mosaics in an arc-shaped radiation pattern.||Serious||the flooring with large pieces of white mosaics laid in an arc-shaped radiation pattern has been entirely destroyed.|
|Chambers and rooms of two wings||paving wood parquet tiles||Light||small proportion of the flooring made of wood parquet tiles has been destroyed.|
|Bathroom||modern marble and pink tiles||Moderate||the flooring with tiles has remained intact|
|Outer veranda||coloured by small square mosaics||Serious||the flooring with small coloured square mosaics has enormously been destroyed.|
|Entrance hall and Kitchen||formed with small white hexagonal mosaics||Light||still formed with small white hexagonal mosaics|
|2nd floor||All chambers and rooms||paved by small pieces of wood||Light||a small proportion of the wooden parquet flooring has been damaged|
|Veranda and Balcony||coloured by small square mosaics||Serious||the flooring with coloured small square mosaics, has been removed completely,except a 2-square-metre area at the balcony|
|East Bathroom||the flooring was originally replaced by some modern marble||/||/|
|West Bathroom||formed by pink tiles||Light||the flooring with pink tiles has remained intact|
|Entrance hall||formed with red and white octagonal cement bricks||Serious||completely removed|
|Kitchen||formed with small white hexagonal mosaics||Serious||completely removed|
|3rd floor||Central chamber and rear veranda||paved with small white hexagonal mosaics||Serious||fully destroyed|
|Rooms on the two sides and Front balcony||paved with Canton tiles||Light||kept intact|
|Location||Design||Damage Status||Current Condition|
|Annex Block||First and Second level of the Passageway||formed by red and white octagonal cement bricks||Serious||fully broken into pieces|
|Rooms and Veranda||formed by red and white octagonal cement bricks||Serious||fully broken|
|Subsidiary building and Pavilion||/||paved with small coloured mosaics in grid pattern||Serious||Entirely removed|
|1st floor of Garage||/||placed by plain cement||Serious||fully removed|
|Types||Damage Status||Current Condition|
|Triple windows||Serious||Entirely damaged|
|Double windows||Serious||Entirely damaged|
|Single windows||Serious||Entirely damaged|
|Types||Description||Damage Status||Current Condition|
|Entrance Door||Triple-door design – a outward-opening lattice door made of iron with rivets arranged in the Chinese character ““壽” (longevity), an iron sliding door fitted inside the wall in the middle and a set of wooden doors that opens inwards.||Serious||All the three layers of the door have been removed|
|Doors of the main building||Double doors – opens outwards to the veranda. The inner door is a stained glass door in iron frame. Outer door – split sliding gate fitted inside the wall.||Moderate||The inner doors have all been damaged. But the only one iron frame has been damaged.|
|Location||Description||Damage Status||Current Condition|
|External Walls||Made of red fair-faced polished brickwork||Light||No damages|
|Outer veranda||furnished with plaster mouldings at the wall eaves and granite dados||Moderate||The plaster mouldings have been removed, yet the granite dados remains intact|
|Inner wall||plastered white, with wooden picture rails at the top and
wooden skirting at the bottom
|Moderate||basically undamaged but the pictures have been removed, the skirting remains intact|
|Main hall – wall eaves||plastered with mouldings||Serious||fully removed|
Roof and Ridge
|Roof and Ridge|
|Location||Description||Damage Status||Current Condition|
|Whole Roof Surface||Covered with green glazed pan tiles and roll tiles, ridge-end ornaments, pearl, porcelain figurines of immortals and mythical animals in simple form||Serious||All destroyed|
|Location||Description||Damage Status||Current Condition|
|Columns||Made of pale yellowish-brown terrazzo||Light||keep intact|
|Corner beams||Serious||All smashed|
The damaged roof of the mansion.(Photo from: http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/home.php Leisure and Culture Service Department)
The roof assossories broken in pieces.(Photo from: http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/home.php Leisure and Culture Service Department)
The damaged architraves with steer bars exposed.(Photo from: http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/home.php Leisure and Culture Service Department)
The damaged flooring with small coloured square mosaics in the outer veranda of the first floor in the main building.(Photo from: http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/home.php Leisure and Culture Service Department)
An intact piece of small white hexagonal mosaics in the kitchen of the first floor of the main building.(Photo from: http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/home.php Leisure and Culture Service Department)
The smashed handrail and drum-shaped dropping belt stone.(Photo from: http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/home.php Leisure and Culture Service Department)
thumb|The removed inner doors.(Photo from: http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/home.php Leisure and Culture Service Department)
The residual parts of the outer doors.(Photo from: http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/home.php Leisure and Culture Service Department)
An unknown person paid $4.3 billion to buy King Yin Lei. 
The construction work of King Yin Lei started, and some people transported more than two hundred decorations from it. 
14 September, 2007
The Antiquities Advisory Board raised a special conference, listing King Yin Lei as a temporary heritage urgently, requesting the construction workers to stop their work.
15 September, 2007
The Hong Kong Government officially admitted King Yin Lei as a proposed monuments, the officers of the Antiquities and Monument office of the Leisure and Cultural Service Department went to King Yin Lei and asked the workers to stop their work. 
20 September, 2007
The Secretary for Development, Mrs. Carrie Lam, of the Development Bureau admitted that they had received a letter from the owner of King Yin Lei on April, requesting conservation of King Yin Lei. Yet, the officers of Development Bureau ignored the incident because of the lack of sensibility.  
25 January, 2008
The Antiquities Advisory Board has approved the whole site of King Yin Lei as a Declared Monument. Mrs. Carrie Lam admitted that they had make an agreement with the owner of King Yin Lei for exchanging lands. Yet, the owner has to bear all the reconstruction fee and other expenses. It was claimed that the mansion would be restored by 2009, yet it is still not opened to the public until now. Nevertheless, as some experts from Mainland suggested that the mansion can be restored to 80%, thus the delicate construction may cause its delay in restoration.
25 April, 2008
The Town Planning Board amend the approved The Peak Area Outline Zoning Plan (OZP) to facilitate preservation of King Yin Lei at 45 Stubbs Road. The nearby area of King Yin Lei has been restricted to have only 3 storey building, with 0.5 times plot. 
11 July, 2008
The phrase one of reconstruction work has been started.
12 December 2008
The Draft Peak Area Outline Zoning Plan has been approved by the government. It covers a 900 hectares area and bounded by Stubbs Road and Wong Nai Chung Gap Road and Deep Water Bay Road as these area consists of some popular tourist spots like the Peak Tram, the Peak Tower, at the same time, it is also a high-class low-density residential area. 
No. 15B (Only available on Sunday and public holiday)
Get off at Evergreen Villa, Stubbs Road
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Leisure and Cultural Development Department, Summary of the Report on Site Investigation and Restoration Options
- ↑ Leisure and Cultural Development Department, http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum/Monument/form/King_Yin_Lei.pdf
- ↑ South China Morning Post 2007-09-19 Sale documents indicate tycoon bought mansion
- ↑ [Hong Kong Economic Times2007-09-21 破壞嚴重 雕花琉璃瓦頂不見了
- ↑ Development Department Speeches by Secretary for Development and Chairman of Antiquities Advisory Board
- ↑ Hong Kong Commercial Newspaper 2007-09-16 港府刊憲景賢里全面停工
- ↑ South China Morning Post 2007-09-20 April plan to save mansion was ignored
- ↑ Apple Daily 2007-09-22 景賢里失救踩同事「唔夠敏銳」 林鄭月娥被轟意圖卸責
- ↑ South China Morning Post2008-02-23 Mansion owner to face land premium in swap 2008-01-26 Land swap seals mansion's future
- ↑ The Leisure and Culture Service Department Statement by SDEV after the meeting of the Antiquities Advisory Board
- ↑ The Standard 2008-01-25 King Yin Lei can be restored by 2009
- ↑ Sing Tao Daily 2008-01-10 Mainland expert: King Yin Lei can be restored to 80 percent of its original appearance
- ↑ The Town Planning BoardApproved The Peak Area Outline Zoning Plan amended
- ↑ Hong Kong Economic Times 2008-09-25 景賢里鄰地限建3層 保景觀
- ↑ Information Service Department King Yin Lei to be declared a monument
- ↑ Hong Kong Daily News 2007-12-15 長春社申請景賢里改用途
- ↑ Hong Kong Information Service DepartmentDraft The Peak Area Outline Zoning Plan approved
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 Google Maps Hong Kong
- Antiquities and Momument Office
- Development Bureau
- Conservancy Association
- Wikipedia: Declared momuments of Hong Kong
- Hong Kong Tourism Board
- Wikipedia:King Yin Lei
- Conservancy Association: Heritage Conservation on King Yin Lei
- Antiquities and Momument Office - Declared momuments of Hong Kong: King Yin Lei
Finished by Sheliang & Nicholasleung