Site History

Original Map

Crown Wine Cellars would like to thank the following people for their significant contributions to this webpage: Tony Banham, Bruce Ralph, Tim Ko, Rob Weir and the Antiquities and Monuments Division of the LSD Department of Hong Kong. General Historical Background Due to the fact that most of the war records were destroyed prior to and during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, the history of the Deep Water Bay Bunkers is incomplete. However, using inputs from various historians, one can assemble what can be considered an accurate picture of their history.

The site was originally known as the Central Ordnance (Munitions) Depot, and the general area was known as Little Hong Kong. Construction of the Bunkers was completed in 1937, at which time the entire site was comprised of 12 pairs of bunkers, a depot HQ, a sentry box and a guardhouse. Certain commentators have speculated that the guardhouse may have been constructed by the Japanese Military.

 


The guardhouse

Aerial Photo of 1963
Government maps published by the War Office dated 1938 and 1945 failed to indicate the site, possibly due to the sensitivity of the facility. The first aerial photographs available date back to 1949 and clearly show a total number of 12 fill slopes. The minimal vegetation covering these slopes suggests that recent construction and/or improvement works had been undertaken at this time.

The Military ceased its use of the site by 1977, and transferred control to the Hong Kong Police Driving School until the early 1980s.


Aerial Photo of 1949

Photo of 1941
Most of the bunkers were substantially altered in the mid 1980s as a result of the development of two residential apartments. This resulted in the loss of most of the original fill slopes and bunkers. The remaining bunkers were subsequently refitted and utilised by the Hong Kong Geotechnical Engineering Office from the mid 1990s until recently to store rock core samples.

Many of the original structures are still visible, and the site boundary can still be clearly identified. However, only 4 pairs of bunkers remain in their original condition, along with the guardhouse and sentry box. The depot HQ was unwittingly demolished in 2000, as it would appear that none of the officials involved recognised it as an original structure.

Cellar

Outside the Cellars
The Hong Kong Government approached the private sector in 1999 with an initiative to guarantee the survival of this and other historically significant military sites. This initiative required the preservation and restoration of the existing structures while permitting the introduction of creative business models to offset the significant costs involved.

The Crown Worldwide Group actively pursued this initiative and successfully lobbied for the site to be converted into the advanced wine cellar operation and exclusive private member's club that is now the Crown Wine Cellars. Crown Wine Cellars took over the site in June 2003.