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Hong Kong Roots:

St. Paul’s College was established for missionary work and talent cultivation. Its earliest students included Tong Mow Chee, Wu Ting Fang, and other members of the Chinese elite.

The Dominance of Traditional Education:

During this period, education in Hong Kong was still predominated by traditional Chinese schools and Western religious bodies.

History of St. Paul’s College

1843 Anglican clergymen arrived in Hong Kong

The Church of England appointed the Revd Vincent Stanton to Hong Kong. He used funds raised in Britain to establish an Anglo-Chinese school for the Chinese population, hoping that graduates would join the clergy or contribute in other ways to society. In 1845, he was granted a plot of land by the government now known as Glenealy, or Tit Kong) to build St. Paul’s College. The first College building was erected in 1847, and classes began in 1849.

St. Paul’s College was officially founded, and assisted the Government in training interpreters

The school was officially established in 1851 as St. Paul’s College. In the same year, the Foreign Office permitted the Superintendent of British Trade in China to give the College an annual grant of $1,200 for training interpreters, with the condition that six students per year would be nominated as interpreters by the governor. As a result, traditional Chinese schools aided by the government began to refer prospective students to St. Paul’s College. Candidates were selected every six months through a series of examinations on subjects such as English, Bible Study, the Chinese Classics Four Books, Geography, etc. After each round of examinations, 7 to 13 students were selected, and a scholarship was awarded to the student with the highest score. This marked the beginning of public examinations in Hong Kong.


Wu Ting Fang graduated from St. Paul’s College

On the recommendation of the chaplain from a mission school in Guangzhou, Wu Ting Fang came to Hong Kong in 1856 to attend St. Paul’s College. He graduated in 1861. Wu later became the first Chinese barrister in Hong Kong; he also served as the first Chinese non-official member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong as well as Acting Police Magistrate.

Development of Education in HK

The British occupied Hong Kong Island, cited in the Treaty of Nanking signed by Britain and China in 1842

Western religious bodies came to Hong Kong to establish schools

Religious bodies that came to Hong Kong to set up schools included Morrison Education Society, Baptist Convention, London Missionary Society, American Congregational Church, Anglican Church, Roman Catholic Church, etc. The churches preached and trained local clergymen by running mission schools. With the support of the Hong Kong Government, mission schools developed rapidly.

The Education Committee was set up to oversee all traditional Chinese schools aided by the Government

The Education Committee advocated for English to be taught universally to facilitate British governance. In 1852, George Smith, the Anglican bishop of the Diocese of Victoria and Warden of St. Paul’s College, was appointed Chairman of the Committee.

The Education Committee was reformed, emphasising English language education

The Education Committee was restructured by the Government to become the Board of Education in 1860. It proposed the closure of all government schools in Victoria City. Students from these schools were subsequently transferred to the newly established Government Central School, where English was the primary language of instruction.

Britain and China signed the Convention of Peking. The British forcibly occupied the Kowloon Peninsula.

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The Revd Vincent Stanton (1817–1891). (Credit: St. Paul’s College) Colourised by OldHKinColour

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Letter to Lord Stanley, who was in charge of Hong Kong affairs, in 1843, proposing the establishment of an Anglo-Chinese school in Hong Kong. (Credit: St. Paul’s College)

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Bishop’s House, photographed in 1849, which was the campus of St. Paul’s College from 1851 to 1950. (Credit: HKSKH Archives, Colourised: OldHKinColour)

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The St. Paul’s College campus and dormitory at Glenealy. (Credit: St. Paul’s College, Colourised: OldHKinColour)

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The plaque at Lower Albert Road, bearing the name of the College and its early motto, “Love the Lord with all your heart, and love your neighbour as yourself.” (Credit: St. Paul’s College)

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In celebration of its 170th anniversary, St. Paul’s College invited Dr Karen Fong Wai Yin, a parent and expert in heritage conservation and stone rubbing, to make rubbings of the plaque. (Credit: St. Paul’s College)

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On 24 November 2021, St. Paul’s College sent the framed rubbing with the College name and the early motto of the College, “Love the Lord with all your heart, and love your neighbour as yourself.” as gifts to Bishop’s House (the founding premises of St. Paul’s College). The rubbing was presented by Dr Arnold Cheng Cheuk Sang, Chairman of the College Council, and his team on behalf of St. Paul’s College. They were accepted by the Most Revd Andrew Chan and Provincial Archivist, the Revd Dr Philip L

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Wu Ting Fang (1842–1922). (Credit: St. Paul’s College) Colourised by OldHKinColour

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Biography of Dr Wu Ting Fang. (Credit: St. Paul’s College)

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Oil painting depicting the signing of the Treaty of Nanking by British and Chinese officials in 1842. (Credit: The University of Hong Kong Libraries)

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Portrait of Bishop Smith (1815–1871). (Credit: St. Paul’s College)

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James Legge (1815–1897), Vice Chairman of the Board of Education, with three Chinese students from London Missionary Society. (Credit: Mary Evans Picture Library)

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1843: 史丹頓牧師(1817-1891)


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