The USRC opened in 1911 to cater for the growing military presence in Hong Kong following the leasing of the New Territories to the British for 99 years in 1898. The Club was established to provide a recreational haven for officer-class personnel and their families.
The Club was endowed with numerous sporting and recreational facilities (including its own golf course).
The occupation of Hong Kong by Japanese forces in December 1941 led to the Club's temporary closure. Reports of wartime Hong Kong are sparse but it is believed that the Club was utilized by the Japanese, whose headquarters were established at the Diocesan Girls School across the road.
After the war, the British military regained control of the Club (minus the golf course which made way for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and adjacent buildings). Thereafter, the Club continued to serve mainly armed services and related personnel until the expiry of the 99-year lease and handover of Hong Kong to China in July 1997.
As 1997 approached, however, British armed services numbers in Hong Kong gradually declined and their places in the Club were replaced by civilians including, increasingly, members from the Hong Kong Chinese community.
After 1 July 1997, ownership of the Club passed to the People's Liberation Army (PLA). As the PLA had no use for the facilities, they have allowed the Club to be run by and for its members. The Club is now administered as a limited company with a wholly civilian membership, and enjoys a freedom of operation similar to that of other recreation clubs in Hong Kong.
The Club's military legacy is evident in the understated elegance of the architecture and decor. Shields of battalions past and present adorn the walls and the Club retains a relaxed informal atmosphere in keeping with its colonial roots. The Club's surroundings have distinctly military connections; the PLA barracks are located next door; Gascoigne Road, immediately outside the Club, was named after General William Gascoigne who oversaw the expanded military presence in Hong Kong after 1898 (and who, incidentally, directed some less than noble offences against indigenous New Territories inhabitants who opposed British rule at the time).
The USRC has a proud sporting history which continues to be maintained - the USRC competes for honours in the Hong Kong sporting scene much as the military teams did in years gone by.
Unlike some other clubs, the USRC has sought to maintain membership numbers at moderate levels that will enable its members to enjoy the space, ample greenery and timeless ambiance of this unique facility.