Dairy Farm, Pokfulam, remains of buildings and structures

Thanks to SCT for proofreading the text below.

The Dairy Farm Co. Ltd was founded by a Scottish surgeon Sir Patrick Manson, and five local and foreign businessmen. During his practice in Hong Kong, Manson found that local people did not have access to hygienic fresh milk. Having a belief that fresh milk is essential for public health, he saw the commercial potential of dairy farming. Dairy Farm was established in 1886 that strived ”to improve the health of Hong Kong people by supplying clean and uncontaminated cows’ milk”. Eighty heads of cattle were imported from Britain to Pokfulam for dairy farming. Pasteurisation began in 1902.

The farms scattered along Pokfulam Road, Sassoon Road and Victoria Road. Pokfulam was selected for its reliable water sources and geographical location – a hillside facing ocean with sufficient sunlight and winds during summer. Since Dairy Farm was acquired by Hongkong Land in the 1970s, Pokfulam’s landscape had experienced tremendous changes as the farmlands were transformed into residential districts.

At Pokfulam there are still some remains of the dairy farm facilities. Graded historic buildings include Old Dairy Farm Senior Staff Quarters [Grade 1], the Main Office Building [Grade 2] and the Cowsheds [Grade 2].

Old Dairy Farm Main Office Building

The Mains, Dairy Farm, Pokfulam

The Mains, Dairy Farm, Pokfulam. Courtesy: University of Bristol, Historical Photographs of China. Date: Unknown

”The Mains” refers to the first and central farm at Pokfulam Road. At the Mains there were built structures including cowsheds, poultry batteries, dormitories for senior staff members, and blacksmith’s shops. The Main Office Building at the Mains was completed in around the 1920s with art deco architectural style.  Together with the cowsheds the Main Office Building is revitalised by the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA) at its campus.

Old Dairy Farm Senior Staff Quarters (SSQ)

Dairy Farm had six SSQ at Pokfulam, namely the Alandale, the Braemar, the Clanmore, the Domum, the Lamma View and the Sassoon Villa. Completed in 1887, the SSQ at Braemar is the farm’s oldest remaining building. It is comprised of the Main building, the Servant’s Quarters and the Garage Block with 20 rooms. It was given to the government after Dairy Farm ceased dairy farming nd was listed as a Grade 1 historic building. In 2015, the Development Bureau announced the revitalisation plan of SSQ. It will be transformed into ”Pokfulam Farm” by Caritas-Hong Kong in order to demonstrate the history of dairy farming in Hong Kong. The revitalised building is expected to reopen in 2019.

Workers Dormitories

Dairy Farm used to provide free accommodation to its workers near the work place. The two blocks of dormitories were built after WW2 and housed around 700 employees and their family members. All residents moved out in the early 2000s. There was a plan to redevelop the dormitories into residential buildings, but their future use remains undetermined.

Dairy Farm Union Corp

Dairy Farm Union Corp is located at Pokfulam village. It is kept even though the villagers no longer work for Dairy Farm.

Grass Silo

Grass Silos were built to store green fodder to feed cows during winter time. Green fodders were converted silage in a traditional method: workers put a layer of grass fodder  and scattered salt evenly before adding another layer. The silo next to Pokfulam village lacks maintenance and repair. The access to the silo is in poor condition too, but villagers and volunteers make an effort to clean it up. Under good weather conditions you may walk up to the hill to view the silo’s roof and Pokfulam village. Local villagers refer to the grass as ”Western grass” as it was imported from Britain. On the hill side next to Pokfulam village (grassy hill) you can still find the grass of the same genus growing in the wild.(1)

Source: Heritage & Urban Development in Pokfulam, Publisher or date: Unknown

This article was first posted on 14th April 2023.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. Sir Patrick Manson (1844-1922) The Dairy Farm Company
  2. Pokfulam village – close links to Dairy Farm, 1886, SCMP article
  3. Dairy Farm Company, traditional products plus expansion both in Hong Kong and elsewhere
  4. Dairy Farm Company employees – a compilation
  5. The Dairy Farm Company – Post WW1, the Japanese occupation and immediately post WW2
  6. Dairy Farm Company – A timeline
  7. Dairy Farm Company

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