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Maryknoll Convent School declared a monument
(with photos)

Maryknoll Convent School in Kowloon Tong was formally declared a monument today (May 16) under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance.

A gazette notice was published today announcing the declaration.

A spokesman for the Development Bureau said the school has been providing quality education to Hong Kong since 1925. The main school complex, constructed in 1937, reflects several different styles of architecture including Art Deco, Romanesque, Neo-Georgian and Gothic Revival.

"This is a rare school architecture of its kind and one of the finest examples in Hong Kong demonstrating how different styles of architecture can blend, old and new buildings can be added, without disturbing its original harmony. Its outer appearance in red brick has formed a deep impression on many people in Hong Kong.

"Maryknoll Convent School has set a fine example of a socially responsible owner and management. With the support of the school and the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic, the 1937-built main building and the convent are declared a monument for protection under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance,"the spokesman said.

Maryknoll Convent School was first established at Austin Road in 1925 as a kindergarten by the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic (originally named "The Foreign Mission Sisters of St. Dominic") who came to Hong Kong in 1921 with a mission to preach and to serve. With the opening of St. Teresa's Parish in 1931, the school management felt that Kowloon Tong, as a developing district, was an ideal place for Maryknoll Convent School. Construction of the new campus on Waterloo Road started in 1933.

In May 1936, Sir Andrew Caldecott (1884-1951), the then Governor of Hong Kong, laid the cornerstone of the main building of the school. One year later, the school moved to the new campus, providing quality education for students from kindergarten to matriculation. It has been a landmark in the area ever since.

The school's operation was interrupted by the Second World War and the school was used as a Japanese military hospital from 1942 to 1945. Construction of the convent next to the main building, which began before the Second World War, was finally completed in 1953. In 1960, the secondary-school section was moved to the new school building at 5 Ho Tung Road. Since then, the primary-school section has remained in the Waterloo Road main building and also occupied the convent when it began operating whole-day sessions in 1997.

The layout of the 1937-built main building adopts the medieval monastery or collegiate layout of an open peristyle courtyard surrounded by cloisters. The free neo-Tudor style of the school complex incorporates different architectural features including Art Deco, Romanesque, Neo-Georgian and Gothic Revival. The vaulted ceiling of Romanesque style in the auditorium, the granite staircase facing Boundary Street, pointed arches, hipped or gambrel-shaped roofs and the single tower at the fa?ade are notable features of the main building.

The setting and the 1937-built main building of Maryknoll Convent School are preserved in a very good condition. No notable change or alteration has been made to the building over the years. Old style furnishings and flooring can still be found in the main building. The well-kept landscape gardens also enhance the setting of the school complex.


Ends/Friday, May 16, 2008

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