Curator Charles Hind looks into the history of a house in China, designed by British architect Oliver Hill in the early 20th century…

Design for a house in Tsinan

Design for a house in Tsinan (now Jinan), China, 1921
Architect: Oliver Hill
© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections
Image from RIBApix

This house was designed for Peter and Helena Wright, English missionary doctors in China. Helena was Associate Professor of Gynaecology at Shantung Christian University becoming an internationally famous pioneer of birth control and family planning. Oliver Hill, a fashionable country house architect, had known Helena since childhood and they had a long-standing relationship that did not endanger her marriage. The house is in the style of the Edwardian architect Edwin Lutyens, with a Chinese twist.

Article by Charles Hind
Chief Curator, British Architectural Library, RIBA

About Wilson Yau
I work for the British Architectural Library at the RIBA as part of a team to share news, images and information online about the activities of the Library and the fascinating items we have in our architectural collections – it contains over four million items, so there's plenty to see! If you’re curious about what we do at the Library and with the collections, or want to discover the latest about our education programmes, public events and exhibitions at the RIBA, please visit

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