Birthday Buildings in 2014

Looking through Gwulo's list of buildings, how many have a major birthday this year? Lets start with those that have made it to 50 ...


50 years old

Not very exciting, is it? The best-known building on the list is a carpark!

You can see it on the left edge of this 1979 photo of TST. It's about about half way down, next to the golden-coloured Sheraton Hotel:

Tsim Sha Tsui May 1979

If you have any sentimental attachment to this carpark (!), you'd better visit soon. The site goes up for auction at the end of this month.


75 years old

Just like last year [1], most of our 75-years-old buildings were built for military use. A map of the pillboxes shows what they were intended for - a defensive ring around the island to protect against enemy soldiers invading from the sea:

Pages

The list isn't quite right though. It is supposed to show buildings we can still see today, but all the pillboxes along the island's north shore are gone. They were either destroyed during the fighting, or when the land was redeveloped later.

To the south of the island though, many of the pillboxes can still be seen:

PB 21

Pillbox 21 at Chung Hom Kok

Stanley Pillbox

Pillbox 29, Tai Tam Bay

Pillbox 030, Turtle Cove

Pillbox 30, Turtle Cove 

Despite their important place in Hong Kong's history, none of the remaining pillboxes have "listed building" status.


100 years old

At the beginning of Bowen Road, this building celebrates its 100th birthday:

5, Bowen Road

The toys in the bottom-left corner hint at the current residents, the Mother's Choice charity. Previously it was known as the Commodore's House, and was home to the senior officer of the British Navy in Hong Kong. Presumably he had a lot less toys.

Back when it was built in 1914, it belonged to the Hongkong Land Investment and Agency Company Limited. Their Company Secretary lived there, and would have had wonderful views out over the harbour.


125 years old

Just two buildings, and possibly only one as I'm not sure the "Peak Side / Bishop's Lodge" entry belongs on the list. It's true the original buildings date back to the 19th century, but are the original buildings still standing today? I guess the site has been re-developed since then, but can't find any proof of it. If you know, please can you leave a comment below?

The Battery on Stonecutters Island is another military defence. This type of battery housed much larger guns than the later pillboxes, and was built to fend off attacking ships from a foreign navy.


150 years old

Good to see that, as with last year, we can still find a building or two that have reached their 150th birthday. Both the buildings on this year's list are part of the Central Police Station site on Hollywood Road:

1900s Central Police Station

1900s view of the Barracks Block

1940 HK Police and reservists

1940 Group photo, Married Inspectors' Quarters in background


What have we missed?

So far at Gwulo.com we've documented over 2,700 places and buildings around Hong Kong. Each one has its own page, often with extra information and photos that show the building. The building names in the lists above are links, so you can click on any of them to see that building's page.

But there are plenty more we haven't got round to yet. If there's a building you know of that should be on these lists, please go ahead and make a 'Place' page for it. Click here for instructions on how to create a Place page.

All the lists of buildings on this page update automatically. eg Let's say you add a Place page for a building with a 1964 completion date. Then the next time you visit this page your building will automatically appear in the 50 years old list.

Regards, David

References:

  1. Birthday buildings in 2013: http://gwulo.com/node/17626

Also on Gwulo.com this week:

More chapters from Betty Steel's memoir:

Comments

I believe that the 'model' for several Government run car parks- including Middle Rd, the one near Shun Tak Centre and the one in Central near the Bank of America Tower were designed by Mr.David McDonald. They are all basically the same. He was Principal Government Architect at the time. He later became Director of PWD and then Director of crown Lands. He was also my ex-father-in-law! Later these car-parks were privatised of course.

Kom Tong Hall located at Castle Road celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Built in 1914 by Sir Robert Ho Tung's brother Ho Kom-tong.

aetse

Bails, thanks for that. I also had an email reply from Mairi, Mr McDonald's daughter. I shouldn't have been so quick to write off the car park's sentimental qualities!

Aetse, we have Kom Tong Hall on the "100 years old" list above. Are there any others we've missed?

Regards, David

If bridges are included the first Tsing Yi Bridge was opened in February 1974 by the Governor. That should make it 40 years old this year.

Yes, bridges are welcome. I've made a Place for it at:

http://gwulo.com/node/20416

Check back in 2024 to see if it is still around to make the 50-years-old birthday list!

Regards, David