1905 Public Works Report

Submitted by David on Fri, 09/10/2010 - 16:42

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16. General Remarks -


The remaining large blocks of buildings on the Praya reclamation east of Pedder Street, including "Hotel Mansions", "King's Building", "York Building" and "Royal Building", were completed during the year. A great many of the leading firms of the Colony - business, commercial, and professional - are now housed in these and other buildings occupying the area indicated. The buildings have an imposing appearance and compare favourably in many respects with similar buildings in our large home cities.


The metallic circuiting of the following sections of the Government Telephone System was completed during the year :—

  • North Point to Shaukiwan.
  • Shaukiwan to Stanley.
  • Central Police Station to Victoria Gap.
  • Do.    do. to Des Voeux Road.
  • Do.    do. to Government Offices.
  • Do.    do. to No. 7 Police Station.

With regard to the last-mentioned section, as the old route by Des Voeux Road was incapable of accommodating the additional wires rendered necessary by the adoption of metallic circuiting, a new and additional route by way of Caine and Hospital Roads and Second Street had to be constructed.

The cable to Gap Rock Lighthouse became defective about the end of June and broke close to Gap Rock in the beginning of August. Temporary repairs were executed depart-mentally as the services of a cable ship were not available at the time. Towards the end of August, the cable ship “Store Nordiske", which was repairing one of the Great Northern Co.’s cables in the vicinity of Hongkong, was chartered to lay a new shore end to replace the part which had given way, and this was successfully accomplished on the 24th August. Unfortunately, the cable was again broken during the typhoon of the 30th August and communication was once more interrupted. Repeated attempts were made to effect further repairs departmentally but, on account of the rough seas prevailing, it was not until the 14th December that they were successful, communication being restored on that date. All possible protection to the cable, where it comes in Contact with the rock, is being arranged for to obviate a repetition of the occurrence.

30.    Maintenance of Telegraphs, New Territory.—The re-construction of the telephone line between Tai Po and Sheung Shui with iron poles in place of wooden ones was undertaken, but had not reached completion at the close of the year. In carrying out the work, arrangements were made for leading the lines to Au Tau and Ping Shan by this route, thus abolishing the line through the Lam Tsun Valley. Though somewhat longer, maintenance will be facilitated by this arrangement and the additional poles required by the present independent route will be saved. Many of the timber poles throughout the New Territory were found to be decayed and were replaced by iron poles, 84 of which were fixed.

31.    Maintenance of Praya Wall and Piers.—One of the principal works undertaken under this heading was the extension and repair of the masonry pier opposite the end of Observation Place, Praya East, which is a somewhat important one as it is most conveniently situated for parties landing from ships to go to Happy Valley. Owing to the shallowness of the water alongside and the damages caused by storms, the pier had become of very little service. An extension of 75 feet, bringing its total length up to 155 feet, was carried out, the old concrete blocks left over from the Praya Reclamation Works being utilized for the purpose, and the old portion of the pier was thoroughly repaired. Some dredging was also done in the neighbourhood of the pier to improve the depth of water.

The Police Pier at Tsim Sha Tsui Point was extensively repaired and put in good order, all decayed timbers being removed and replaced by new ones. Some necessary repairs were executed at some of the other public piers but these were not extensive. Kowloon City Pier is in a very dilapidated condition but, as it is intended to reconstruct it in ferro-concrete at an early date, repairs were confined to rendering the deck safe for passengers.

The following were the principal items of expenditure :—

  • Tsim Sha Tsui Pier—Repairs,              $4,853
  • Observation Place Pier—Extension and Repairs,        4,695
  • Temporary Pier adjoining Telegraph Office—General maintenance,     742
  • Blake Pier—Repairs,        675



The Naval Yard Extension and Messers Butterfield & Swire Shipyard Works were in progress throughout the year. In the case of the former, the reclamation, outer quay wall and tidal basin were practically completed and substantial progress was made with the construction of the graving dock. Several of the buildings connected with the scheme were in progress. some delay being caused in the case of the pump house by the failure of the timbering just as the excavation for the pump-wells, about 70 feet in depth, was nearly completed. In the case of the shipyard works, the reclamation and levelling of the site made good progress and the inner portion of the graving dock was completed ; work on the entrance, for which a very heavy coffer dam was required, being in active progress by the close of the year.


Other works worthy of mention are Sharp’s Memorial Hospital, Mount Kellett, and the new Military hospital above Bowen Road, both of which were nearing completion at the close of the year. Work was begun on the erection of the buildings to form the premises of the Hongkong Milling Co. in Junk Bay. The Star Ferry Co.’s new pier opposite the end of Salisbury Road, Kowloon was constructed during the year and was nearly ready for traffic It will afford a much more convenient point of arrival and departure than the old pier, both for the ferry steamers and for passengers and vehicles, being clear of the Kowloon Wharves with all their obstructions afloat in the way of cargo~boats, lighters, etc and ashore in the way of rails, trucks and masses of cargo constantly being moved to and fro. The new pier also affords much better accommodation and protection from the weather than the old one.


The reclamations at Kowloon and Blackhead’s Point and of Kowloon Marne Lot 83 at Hunghom in last year’s report were practically completed, whilst those of Marine Lot 285, at North Point, and of Kowloon Marine Lot 8.3, at To Kwa Wan, made good progress. The following further reclamations were in progress :—


New Kowloon Marine Lot No. 2, Lai Chi Kok,  345,928sf

Kowloon Marine Lot No, 87, Yaumati  145,350sf

Sai Kung Marine Lot No. 2, Junk Bay,  603,400sf


The areas stated are those of the lots, which, in two cases, extend for some distance above old high-water mark and, though largely so, are not therefore exclusively reclaimed from the sea. In the remaining case, the purchaser has been required to fill in and reclaim a considerable area of Crown foreshore in addition to the entire area of his Lot.

The buildings comprised under this heading were designed by Messrs. Leigh & Orange who also supervised their construction. They occupy a site, 20,776 square feet in extent, in the upper part of the Taipingshan resumed area and consist of a main block and two subsidiary blocks-—one for servants’ quarters and the other for animal houses. &c. The main block contains a basement, ground floor and upper floor, and affords the following" accommodation :-'laboratories, each 28’ 0" x 18' 0", a library, a combined waiting-room and oflice, a photographic room and a spare room, each 20’ 0 x 12’ 0", a store-room, incubating room, heating chamber and refrigerating room, besides a hall and staircase, small dark-room, lavatories, &c. Balconies extend along the whole of the north front on the ground and upper floors and there are verandahs on the east, south and west fronts. One of the subsidiary blocks (a one-storied building) affords accommodation for 11 Chinese attendants, with kitchen, &c., whilst the other (a two-storied building) contains a stable (4 stalls and 2 loose boxes); houses for 5 cattle and 8 calves; 2 sheep-pens and suitable accommodation for monkeys, fowls, rats, mice, guinea pigs and rabbits. There is also a room for 4 Chinese attendants, a doctor’s room, a corn store and a fodder store.


All the buildings are of red brick, built in lime mortar and pointed externally in cement mortar. The main building. except where lined with tiles, is plastered internally; the subsidiary buildings are pointed. The roofs are covered with double pan and roll tiling, on timber purlins and principals. The walls of the laboratories are lined for a height of 3 feet and those of the dark-room and lavatories for a height of 3 feet with white glazed tiles. The two laboratories and all other apartments on the ground floor, including verandahs, &c., and the 2 laboratories and verandahs on upper floor have floors of cement concrete supported on rolled joists and covered with encaustic tiles ; the remaining apartments on the upper floor have teak floors supported on China fir joists. The windows of the laboratories, which are placed in the north front, are fixed and glazed with plate glass, the balconies affording access for cleaning their outside surfaces. Double doors are provided to all openings into the laboratories. one door being glazed and the other filled in with mosquito-proof wire gauze. The walls of the incubating chamber are lined with asbestos and double doors are provided to this apartment. A hot-water service is laid on to all the laboratories from a vertical boiler in the heating chamber.


The fittings for the carried out by the Public Works Department. They consist of long wall benches with teal tops and fitted with sinks; large centre tables, also fitted with sinks; drawers, cupboard &c. A fume cupboard is also provided.


The floors of all the animal on the ground floor are laid with chequered tiles of local manufacture on a layer of lime concrete The upper floor is entirely of cement concrete. Some of the walls have dadoes and the others skirtings of cement mortar. An incinerator is provided for of animals.


The whole of the compounds are laid with lime concrete surfaced with cement concrete and the site is enclosed by a brick boundary wall with iron entrance gates.


Though practically completed, there were a few minor matters requiring attention and the building was consequently still unoccupied at the close of the year.


This work was completed and handed over to the Sanitary Board in April. The buildings occupy a convenient and central site, 19,300 square feet in area, at Yaumati, and are built of red brick, pointed in cement, with mouldings, window sills, arches, &c., finished in cement plaster. A statement of the accommodation afforded appeared in last year's report. The total expenditure on the work was $40,219.13, which includes the cost of a new boiler and vacuum pan, amounting to $3,136.62.


A contract for this work was let at the end of January and the building was well advanced at the close of the year, the roof being completed and plastering, &c., in progress. The provision of the extra accommodation afforded will do away with the necessity of leasing a house which has had to be done for some years past.

This work was practically completed at the close of the year. It included the formation of a site on the north-east side of Green Island, 1.13 acres in area, partly by excavating the hill and partly by reclaiming from the sea. To obviate the risk of damage to shipping, &c., from an explosion of the contents of any" of the magazines, the site has been protected on the seaward side by a rubble mound, 15 feet in height. faced with pitched slopes and extending into the hill at each end, the magazines being thus completely enclosed. Within the enclosure thus formed, four separate magazines have been built and, in order to limit the effects of an explosion, should one unfortunately occur they have been separated from each other by mounds of earth 13 feet in height. Each magazine has a floor area of from 2,860 to 2,210 square feet and consists of an ordinary brick building. one storey in height, with tiled roof. The floors, which are of cement concrete, arc covered with a layer of asphalte and the windows are protected with iron bars. Access to the depot is gained through an examination room, formed in the enclosing rubble mound, from which covered ways extend to the various magazines. The floors of the examination room and covered ways are also finished with a layer of asphalte. A temporary pier has been erected for landing or shipping explosives and will be replaced by a permanent pier at an early date.


From the depot, a path leads to the quarters for the officer-in-charge and guard, which are about 100 yards distant and protected by an intervening spur of the hill. The quarters contain 3 rooms for the officer-in-charge, one room for an assistant and another for an office, whilst accommodation is provided in separate buildings for 8 boatmen, an Indian Sergeant and 4 Indian Constables.


As the oil for use in the lighthouses had hitherto been stored near the Gunpowder Depot on Stonecutters’ Island and it was desired to hand over the whole of the land and buildings there to the Military Authorities, it was decided to erect an oil store in conjunction with the new depot on Green Island. A suitable site was formed a little way below the lighthouse in convenient proximity to the lighthouse pier. The building had not been completed at the close of the year.


The establishment of the gunpowder depot and signalling station on Green Island, in addition to the lighthouse, necessitated the stationing of a number of men there and the question of water supply had therefore to addressed. After examination of the possible sources, it was decided to construct a tank to collect some small springs which issue from the cutting made in levelling the site of the depot. A manual pump and line of piping will enable the water to be raised to a tank on the hill at such a level as to supply all the quarters by gravitation, except the signalman’s, which are on the summit, 290 feet above  level. The cost of this work is being defrayed out of the vote “ Miscellaneous Water Works “


A contract for the erection of a small market at Mongkoktsui was let at the end of June and the building was completed in december. Being situated on land recently reclaimed, it was considered advisable to pile the foundations. The walls are of brick, the floor is laid with lime and cement concrete, rendered with cement mortar, and the roof is covered with single pan and roll tiling. In addition to the market building, which contains 20 meat and fish stalls and 20 fruit and vegetable stalls, there is a small store.


In connection with the work, the formation of the roads in the neighbourhood was undertaken  and sewers and storm-water drains were laid, a considerable improvement in the locality being thus effected


The cost of the market buildings, including filling in the area reserved for market purposes, was $8,099.


This work was practically completed at the close of the year, being handed over to the education Department a few days later. The site is immediately north of the Public Square in Yaumati and will border on the main thoroughfare known as Robinson Road when it has been extended a little further northwards. it has an area of 18,000 square feet. The buildings are one-storied, extending round the two sides of the site and partly round the third, leaving an area of 10,870 square feet for the purposes of a playground. They contain 4 classrooms (two of which are capable of accommodating 60 pupils each and the remaining two 40 pupils each, or 200 in all), a room for the headmaster, with lavatory attached. a cloakroom and lavatory for the pupils. store, latrines and caretaker’s quarters, and a play-shed,measuring 56 feet by 20 feet. The two principal classrooms are separated by a folding and sliding partition, which enables them to be made into one large room when desired. A verandah extends along the south front, facing the playground. The buildings are of red brick in lime mortar, plastered internally and rough-cast plastered externally, except where the brickwork is left exposed for effect. The roofs are covered with double pan and roll tiling, laid on timber purlins and principals and the floors are of hardwood, laid on hardwood fillets bedded in cement concrete, 6" thick. The floors of verandah, cloak-room, latrines and caretaker's quarters are of cement concrete, 4” thick, finished with a layer of granolithic, 1” thick. The playground and play-shed are laid with, lime and cement concrete, 6*’ thick. Ventilation is furnished by fresh air inlets, on the Tobin, tube system and flues are provided for the escape-of foul air; The buildings are lit by gas throughout.


A full account of the resumptions undertaken on sanitary grounds since 1894 was published in the form of a special report during the year.


The Kan U Fong Scheme, which was described in last years Report, was fully completed. The cost of resumptions for the scheme, including certain legal changes, surveyors’ fees, and interest, amounted to $237,156.50 and of clearing and laying the area out afresh to $17,591.28. A sum of $744.42 was however retained under the Contract pending the expiry of the period of maintenance. The area of land resumed was 27,156 square feet, of which 13,909 square feet has been devoted to the formation of n road and lanes, &c., leaving 13,247 square feet available for building purposes. This area was put up to public auction in December, but,with the exception of one small lot, failed to find a purchaser. This is doubtless due to the present depression of trade in the Colony, land sales generally having been fewer than during recent years.


As the Kau U Fang Scheme approached completion, attention was turned to another resumption, which has been designated the Mee Lun Scheme. It included the whole of the properties occupying the central area of the block bounded, by Gough Street on the north, Aberdeen Street on the east, Hollywood Road on the south, and the Belilios School for Girls on the west, together with several houses fronting on Gough Street and Hollywood road required for opening roads through to these thoroughfares.The total number of houses affected was 52, 31 of which had been acquired by the end of the year, whilst negotiations for most of the others were in a forward. state. Only a small portion of the back premises was required in the case of one house, the entire premises being required in the case of the other 51, The amount expended on the resumptions affected was $125,125.


Survey & Preliminary Works - Messrs. Bruce and Valpy arrived from England in the middle of June to carry out the necessary surveys for the selection of a route and for the setting out of the line when the route had been decided upon. Mr Bruce submitted his report on the result of his preliminary surveys in October, strongly recommending what is known as the Eastern Route. His recommendation having been approved, the setting out of the line was begun and steps were taken for the resumption of the land required for the construction of the railway. For the setting out, the services of Mr. Carpenter, Assistant Engineer and Mt Darby, Land Surveyor, were leant to M Bruce and under his supervision, these officers undertook the section between Tai Po and Lo Fu Ferry. So far did matters progress that, on the 9th December, by the instructions of His Excellency the Governor, the work of constructing this section was begun  and some progress had been made by the close of the year.


A scheme for the provision of a terminus, alongside which there will ultimately be afforded deep water berthage for steamers, was prepared by Mr Boulton and submitted to Government.


64. Forming and Kerbing Streets.—A large amount of work was undertaken under this heading, some of the chief items being it connection with the formation of the roads on the newly-reclaimed area at Kowloon Point, the alteration in width and level of existing roads adjoining and the carrying out of the scheme for the construction of main thoroughfares in Kowloon.

The following is a statement of the items of expenditure, the amount stated being in some cases only a part of the cost owing to the work extending into more than one year:—


  1. Resumption of part of Hung Hom I.L. 220 for construction of proposed main thoroughfare to Hok Un,                     $25,000
  2. Formation of Salisbury Road from the West Bund to Robinson Road, ........................................................................  8,013
  3. Extension of Robinson Road between Middle and Salis­bury Roads and raising level of old road
    to a point south of Mody Road,..................................................................................................................................... 6,243
  4. Extension of Kimberley Road, from Observatory Road to Austin Road, ................................................................       6,861
  5. Retaining Wall, north side of Middle Rood, .................................................................................................................  3,800
  6. Forming Pitt Street, Yaumati, ......................................................................................................................................  3,169
  7. Forming Streets in vicinity of Mongkoktsui Market, .....................................................................................................  3,051
  8. Straightening Austin Road past Bowling Club ground,    ..............................................................................................1,376
  9. Forming Sixth Street, Yaumati 100 feet in width, .......................................................................................................  1,147
  10. 'Raising Des Voeux Road at its junction with Gascoigne Road,      ..............................................................................1,054
  11. Forming road to Observatory between Kowloon Inland Lots 441 & 611, ....................................................................... 335


65. Kowloon Roads.—Two contracts were undertaken out of this vote ; one for lowering the summit of Robinson and Austin Roads, extending the former to the Yaumati Theatre and completing that portion of Gascoigne Road between Robinson Road and Station Street; and the other for forming roads in the vicinity of the Disinfecting Station. Both works were nearly completed at the close of the year. That first-mentioned included- the lowering of the summit of the roads named by 4.25 feet, the consequent regrading of portions of them, the extension of Robinson Road, 100 feet in width for a distance of 2,050 feet and the completion of the southern branch of Gascoigne Road, 100 feet in width, to its junction with Sixth Street. The other included the formation of about 500 yards of roads. 50 feet in width, between Robinson Road Extension and the Disinfecting Station. Part of the length mentioned constitutes the half-width of a future main thoroughfare, 100 feet in width, leading to Kowloon City.

The expenditure on the respective works was:—

Extension of Robinson Road, including lowering summit, &c.      $10,493.57                                                                                                                  Forming Roads in vicinity of Disinfecting Station, .......................  $1,700.00



11. New Territory.—Matters in the New Territory have absorbed a large part of the time of the Survey staff during the year. It was considered desirable to define the Anglo­-Chinese Boundary between Sha Tau Kok and Lin Ma Hang and this was done, permanent boundary stones of a substantial character being established and surveyed. Certain areas of padi land which had been omitted in the original Survey were picked up and mapped and all the quarries between Kowloon City and Lyemun Pass were surveyed and marked with boundary stones.

The prints of Mr. NEWLAND'S 2" map were received from England and have proved most useful.

The contract for the foundations was nearly, but not quite completed, completion being delayed by the undertaking of additional work. One of the principal items was the covering of the entire area of the basement with asphalte, which was also carried up the outside of the main walls, so as to prevent the percolation of tidal or subsoil water into the basement rooms, which are to be used for the storage of mails, etc. The asphalte was laid on a layer of lime concrete 12 inches thick and was covered with a layer of cement concrete, 6 inches thick, the thickness of the asphalte being ¾inch. It was also decided to make provision for a clock tower in the building and this necessitated some alterations and additional work in connection with the foundations. The addition of these items has considerably delayed the completion of the contract. The total number of piles driven has been 1,808 of an average length of 44' 6".

A contract for the superstructure was entered into with Messrs. SANG LEE & Co. on the 1st August. A quarry from which suitable stone could be obtained for the work was selected at Ngau Tau Kok, in New Kowloon, and a considerable amount of preparatory work was carried out to enable a good supply to be obtained, a quantity of roughly-squared blocks being in readiness to transport to the site when it became available. Some brick and plaster models of the principal parts of the stonework were also prepared.