Hong Kong's First Government Hospital (1849-1937), also known as 皇家醫館 (Royal Medical Center); 國家醫院 (National Hospital) in Chinese.
Despite the repeated appeals by Alex Anderson, the first Colonial Surgeon (1843- 1844), for a colonial hospital, the first government hospital would not appear until around 1849. The hospital was housed in a poorly constructed-and-maintained two-storied bungalow and was destroyed by a typhoon in the evening of September 22, 1874. The patients were immediately transferred to the Lock Hospital. Meanwhile the government hired a building which was formerly a hotel named Hotel d'Europe in Hollywood Road, adjoining the Central Police Barracks for use as a hospital. The hospital moved in and start running on November 13, 1874. In the first year of operation, 195 cases were treated and there were 18 deaths.
John Ivoy Murray, the Colonial Surgeon (1859-1869) wrote, in his 1860 report, " The hospital system has always appeared to me very inadequate to the population. In fact it may be broadly stated that there is no hospital for Chinese, who form such a vast majority of our population." At that time, most of the patients who were admitted to the Government Civil Hospital were Europeans, Chinese civil servants and members of the police force. Very few indigenous people were admitted. It may be said that traditional beliefs in Chinese medicine deterred the Chinese community from accepting Western medical treatment. (Not a very valid argument, ... The Medical Missionary Society Hospital in its first year of operation (1843) treated 3,348 outpatients and 556 inpatients – almost all of them were Chinese.) The true reason was probably that Chinese could not afford the hospital charges, or that, as one resource reveals during my research, Chinese from the populace were not admitted until 1864, fifteen years after the Hospital's establishment.
The hospital was among the more than 300 houses burnt down at the Great Fire of Hong Kong on Boxing Day 1878. Miraculously, nobody was seriously injured in the fire. The Hospital took over the premises of the old Lock Hospital for its operation and when the new Lock Hospital was completed in 1879, it became the new Government Civil Hospital. It was built on Hospital Road and contained four blocks. It was properly designed and equipped with wards that accommodated 225 beds. A handbook of Hong Kong in 1908 stated "The Civil Hospital is one of the most worthy institutions under the control of the Government.” From then on, the Government Civil Hospital was the main medical institution in Hong Kong functioned continually until 1937, when Queen Mary Hospital opened. The old buildings then became an infectious disease hospital known as Sai Ying Pun Hospital 西營槃醫院 and were eventually demolished and replaced on the same site by Prince Philip Dental Hospital in 1981.
The Dental Department
A Dental Department was opened on July 4, 1917, attended three days in a week by two private practitioners, namely: Frederick Howard Kew and Mehdy Edward Asger. The opening days were reduced to two days from 1918. When both Kew and Asger were away from Hong Kong from July till end of 1919, the department was closed but it was again opened from January 1920. The Medical Report from 1922 onward no longer carried any introductions of the status of the Dental Department. It is unclear whether it was decided to exclude that information in the reports or the department no longer existed after 1921.
1874 Hospital building destroyed by typhoon.
1878 Hospital building burnt down in the Great Fire of Hong Kong.
1910 Recognized by Central Midwives Board of England as training school for their certificate.
1917 Dental Department opened
1917 Dental Department opened
1936 The year preceding its final closure: it had 246 beds (including 100 under the control of HKU) which had accommodated 5,875 inpatients including 1,290 who underwent major operations. 103,266 outpatients were treated in the year including 167 dog-bite cases. [Only God knows why dog-bit cases are highlighted in the Medical and Sanitary Report.]
1937 Closed on April 13, 1937 [or June 30, 1937].
A Succession List of the Superintendents of the Government Civil Hospital
John Ivor Murray
Wong Fun, December 15, 1860 - May 1861 (acting)
[s.n.] Ainslie, - September 1861, resigned
Charles M. Scott, October 2, 1861 - September, 1862, resigned
John Roche Rice, October 1, 1862 - March 1864
John Dollman March 11, 1864 - June [h.a.]
John Alexander Yule, June 21, 1864 - November [h.a.]
John Dollman, November 22, 1864
Richard Young, February 24, 1871 - September 1872
F.E. Scanlan, September 6, 1872 (acting)
J.B. Drew November 15, 1872 (acting)
Charles John Wharry, February 22, 1873 - 1887, retired
Alexander von der Horck, June 1, - December 18, 1878 (acting)
Lourenço Pereira Marques, August 13, 1880 (Assistant)
J. Murray, July 26, 1881 (acting)
James Stockwell, March 11 - September 28, 1882 (acting)
Arthur J. Wharry, 1883 (acting)
[s.n.] Pike, 1885 (acting)
Henry Neville Thompson, 1885 (acting)
Michael Thomas Yarr, May 14, 1887 - November 1, 1887 (acting)
Henry Neville Thompson, November 1-17, 1887 (acting)
John Mifford Atkinson, November 17, 1887 - 1894
James Alfred Lowson, 1893 (acting); May 19, 1894, Acting Assistant Superintendent [A conflicting record shows that Lowson was Assistant Superintendent from 1889 to March 1894.]
John Bell, 1896 (acting); Assistant Superintendent, 1899
John Bell, 1903 - December 23, 1914, retired on pension
Wilfred Vincent Miller Koch, March 24 - April 5, 1906, December 7, [h.a.] (acting)
Thomson, September 7 - December 7, 1906 (acting)
Wilfred Vincent Miller Koch December 23, 1914 - September 1917, retired
Charles William McKenny, September 1917 - 1920
Douglas James Valentine, March 11, 1920 (acting)
William Brownlow Ashe Moore, May 4, 1920 
Charles William McKenny, February 9, 1922 (acting)
Charles William McKenny, 1923
Douglas James Valentine, February 25, 1925 (acting)
Douglas James Valentine, 1926 - May 6, 1928, left Hong Kong
Charles William McKenny, July 20 - October 10, 1926 (acting)
Thomas Walter Ware, 1929
Isaac Newton [no joke], 1930 - September 1932
John Edward Dovey, September 1932 - February 8, 1934
Douglas James Valentine, February 8, 1934 - January 29, 1935
Leonard Duncan Pringle, January 29 - April 3, 1935
Isaac Newton, April 3, 1935 - February 14, 1936
Kenneth Harrison Uttley, February 14 - October 14, 1936
Isaac Newton, October 14, 1936
 Name of office became Medical Officer In-Charge henceforth.
Selected bibliography: Evans, Dafydd Emrys (Ed.), Constancy of Purpose, Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1987. Hong Kong Government, Report of the Colonial Surgeon for the Year 1874; 1893; 1894. Hong Kong Government, Report of the Medical Department for the Year 1901; 1922; 1923; 1928. Hong Kong Government, Medical and Sanitary Reports for the Year 1917 through 1935. Hong Kong Government, Report of the Principal Medical Officer for the Year 1898. The Hong Kong Government Gazette June 4, 1859, Advertisement; December 22, 1860, Notice #143; October 5, 1861, Notice #106October 4, 1862, Notice #100; June 25, 1864, Notice #105; November 26, 1864, Notice #170; March 11, 1864, Notice #48; September 7, 1872, Notice #171; November 16, 1872, Notice #217; Februayr 22, 1873, Notice #29; November 21, 1874; June 1, 1878, Notice #120; December 21, 1878, Notice #248; August 14, 1880, Notice #193; July 30, 1881, Notice #263; March 11, 1882, Notice #99; October 7, 1882, Notice #389; November 19, 1887, Notice # 484; May 14, 1887, Notice #196; January 14, 1910, Notice #23; December 18, 1914, Notice #508.