1898 Public Works Report | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong
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1898 Public Works Report

Copy of original available online at HKGRO. (You may need to click the link twice to see the document.)

Excerpts:

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WORK UNDER THE BUILDING ORDINANCE

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16. During the year the most notable buildings in course of erection from an industrial point of view were the Cotton Mills at Causeway Bay, and the Cement Works at Hko Un, both of which are nearing completion. On the eastern portion of the Reclamation, the Telegraph Companies' Offices were completed and two large blocks of buildings for occupation as offices were well advanced, and on the western portion several godowns and blocks of houses have been erected.

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Comments


Chamberlain Road
- from upper Tram Station at Victoria Gap to Mount Kellett Road completed in December (1897)

Barker Road - completed and opened to traffic

General Black's Link - footpath from Wanchai Gap via Middle Gap to Wongneichong Gap

Major-General Black's farewell speech to Legco as Acting Governor Nov. 22 1898:

 Health and pleasure and the wheels of progress, and I may add of bicycles, move on roads, and in my belief a great strengthening of the defence of this Island will take place when the tracing across the pathless barrier of Mount Cameron and Mount Nicholson is broadened into a road. Shortly after arriving in this colony I urged the Government to take this in hand on public grounds, and it is with great pleasure that by an agreement effected on my representation this boon to the pleasure of the colony and to its defence may be expected shortly to begin. The Executive Council has directed that this road be called "General Black's Link." I feel and value the compliment and only ask that the name may be shortened to "The Black Link."

also don't forget the most significant event of June that year:

Hongkong has long felt the anomaly of its position, with the northern side of its magnificent harbour actually belonging to another power, its forts at the eastern entrance commanded at short rifle range by the Devil's Peak, and the end of its mine fields almost touching the Chinese soil, the Bay of Kowloon within the precincts of its harbour but outside its jurisdiction. In June last a Convention was signed by which our boundary line is pushed some 13 miles to the north, thus sweeping away these anomalies giving Hongkong room to expand, and more than all preventing the passing into other hands of the roadstead of Lantau, and the safe harbours of Mirs Bay. (Applause.)

Taken from the 1898 report, see items 58-60 for details.

8. The short leases include one lot of 90,000 square feet in Kowloon on the foreshore used for storing timber leased for 2 years at $450.00 per annum and another lot 33,750 square Feet, in area at Shaukiwan let on a yearly lease at $1500.00 per annum in connection with a Soy Factory.

 

10. The sales of Crown Land were considerably short of the estimate for the year, owing to the few applications for land in the Taipingshan resumed area, in November, 1897, six lots sold in this locality at prices ranging from $5.38 to $4.14 per square foot, and there seemed reason to anticipate a rapid sale of the rest of the art-a. In 1898, only live lots sold, the price paid varying from $4.13 to $2.00 a foot. Elsewhere there was considerable demand for land and prices went up considerably. The price of building lots between Kennedy Road and Bowen Road went up from 6 to 12 cents a foot and in one case even 25 cents a foot was paid. In Kowloon there was also considerable demand, and as much as 80 cents a foot was realized for lots in Yaumati.

 

12. Under this heading it may be interesting to place on record that a considerable area of land at Causeway Bay has been reserved for the purpose of a Public Recreation Ground; whilst in Kowloon a hill known as the Hill of the King of the Sun; which bears some Chinese historical associations has also been reserved. Ordinances relating to both these reservations were passed by the Legislative Council.

 

13. Plans have been deposited to the number of 465-17 for European dwellings, 71 for Chinese houses, and 374 for miscellaneous structures

 

14. Certificates have been granted under Section 53 of Ordinance of 1889 for 337 houses, and permission has been given for the erection of 75 verandahs and 21 piers over Crown Land or foreshore.

 

17. Maintenance of Buildings:- The public buildings of the Colony, the total number on the list being 120, were maintained in fair order during the year. The chief expenditure on any one building or block of buildings in the year was on Government house which, form not having been occupied for a considerable time, required a complete overhaul, painting, colour and white-washing, &c.

 

18. The Government Civil Hospital and the Principal Civil Medical Officer’s residence were thoroughly repaired, repainted and colour-washed at an expenditure of over $3,000.

 

19. Other buildings on which considerable expenditure was necessarily incurred in the year were No. 5 Police Station, the Government Offices, the Water Police Station at Kowloon, the Supreme Court, the Central Police Station, the Government Villas at the Peak, and Yaumati Market.

 
 

28. The new Filter Beds on the Bowen Road having a filtering area of 1,661 square yards were brought into use during the year and have proved of great service in relieving the strain on the Albany Filter Beds.

37. The roads and streets of the City have been kept in generally good repair. The prolonged drought towards the end of the year caused some of them to break up rather badly, but on the other hand the year had been free from heavy and destructive rainfall. An experiment

was made in surfacing a portion of Queen’s Road with the hard blue crystalline gneiss of which there is abundance in the Colony instead of with friable white Granite. There is no doubt that the life of a road laid with the first named stone would be much longer, and the streets so surfaced much cleaner in wet weather. The road so treated is wearing well, but the trial was not a fair one, as it was found impossible to roll in and consolidate the metal with stone rollers drawn by coolies, and consequently an undue quantity of disintegrated granite and sand was laid over the stone. The contractor found that the cost of breaking the blue stone was double the cost of breaking the granite, a clear proof of the superiority of the former as a road material. Both these difficulties have been overcome by the purchase of it machine stone breaker and the ordering of a ten-ton stemn road roller from England. The former has been at work at Kennedy Town for a short time with very satisfactory results, many tons of the blue stone being broken at about the same cost as the softest granite. The steam road roller has arrived from England and there is every reason to expect that in a few years the condition of the roads, when covered with a thoroughly consolidated layer of hard clean stone, blended with grit of the same nature, will be greatly improved A common complaint against machine stone crushers is the large quantity of grit formed in the process. This will have no drawback here, as the grit from the bluestone is a perfect material for concrete on footpaths and in places where a fine but not slippery surface is required

 

38. Lime concrete is found to be a bad material for any road exposed to heavy traffic; it quickly wears into deep holes, and a lime concrete roadway patched is by no means  satisfactory. For roads such as the New Praya a heavy coating of macadam overlying a solid foundation of larger stone, thoroughly consolidated to a smooth surface by the steamroller, will last much longer and prove far easier to repair.

 

39. The roads outside Victoria were well maintained during the year, and considering the great number of cyclists who use them complaints were few and far between. A great improvement was effected in the road round the Happy Valley near Wongneichong Village. An awkward and dangerous curve for cyclists was taken out of the road, the old wooden bridge replaced by one of iron and concrete, and the road widened and otherwise improved. Two handsome stone bridges on the road up to Wongneichong Gap were completed. The new road to Aberdeen was improved by the substitution of some permanent stone culverts for wooden bridges and an improved connection with the coast road at Aberdeen formed.

 

40. The roads in Kowloon were kept in good order. Under the vote for their maintenance a contract was entered into for the construction of a new swing bridge over the entrance to the Harbour Police basin, of lighter and better design than the old bridge which had been for many months out of repair and unusable.

 

41. Eleven works sanctioned under this vote early in the year were referred to in the half-yearly report and call for no further comment.

(Italics from Half Year Report here)

 

Public works extraordinary:

Road from Victoria Gap to Mount Kellett Road:- The retaining walls have been finished and most of the filling done, and it is expected soon that the new road can be thrown open to the public. In the meantime traffic passes along it temporary staging below Treverbyn.”

 

Taipingshan Improvement:- The laying out of the whole of the resumed area is now nearing completion. Building operations on the lots sold are well advanced.

 

City of Victoria and HIll District Waterworks: - (i) Reservoir and Catchwater, Wongneichong Gap. This dam has been built to Within 18 Feet of the overflow level, and two of the draw-off valves have been fixed. The catchwater has been completed except its connection with the reservoir, which cannot be done yet. (ii) The filter beds and service reservoir at Bowen Road were completed on the 14th June, and have been in regular use since that date. A contract for a Caretakers Bungalow and for coolie quarters has been let, and work on the buildings commenced.

 

Forming and Kerbing Streets:- The new road from Hung Horn to HoK Un is nearing completion. It bounds the land recently acquired for the establishment of cement works, and opens up a number of excellent building sites for which, no doubt, there will be a demand in the early future. This road should be extended to Kowloon city next year.

 

The approach to the bridge on Macdonnell Road from Garden Road has been raised and much improved, and will be of benefit to the tenants of the numerous European houses now being built in this locality. The Nullah west of the Tram line is being arched over, to admit of the construction on it of a road to Bowen Road station from Macdonnell Road, half the cost of this work is being met by the Hongkong Land investment Company.

 

Road from Plantation Road to Magazine Gap:-This work is well advanced. The steep bank at the commencement of the road near the Tram station caused much anxiety for a time. The cutting here passed through what must have been an old landslip; the soil is of a treacherous nature, and numerous loose boulders of great size and weight overhung the roadway and the tramway beneath it. This proximity to the Tram line made it impossible to use powder or dynamite and so get rid of the whole mass, which consequently had to be wedged and carried away piece by piece. A strong retaining Wall is now being built which will effectually prevent any further slips.

 

Taikoktsui Market:- Plans and specification have been prepared and tenders invited for this work.

 

Gaol Extension:- A permanent workshop of two stories was commenced in March in the European Yard on the site of D wing which had been removed. The work has been done chiefly by prison labour and is approaching completion. Several association cells have been converted into single cells, and this work is still in progress in the Female Prison, the old hospital, and in A2 and A3 wards. The block of quarters on the left of the entrance is being adapted for a Gaol Hospital.

 

Quarters for Gaol Staff:- The buildings standing on inland Lot 144, acquired as a site for these quarters, have been demolished, and the materials, not required for work in the Gaol, removed. Plans for the new quarters are being prepared.

 

Sewerage of VIctoria and Water and Drainage Works, Miscellaneous:- Extensions of sewers have been made where necessary and work has been commenced on the sewerage of No. 3 Section of the Praya Reclamation. The drains in connection with the formation of the new road to Hok Un are practically completed. The diversion of a stream from the site of the Cotton .Mills at Causeway Bay is in progress. The Western Market has been re-drained, several underground and extremely objectionable drains removed, and surface drainage substituted. An old and chiefly disused system of storm-water drains, commencing at the top of Possession Street and discharging near the Harbour Master’s Office was taken up and where possible entirely abolished: Where still necessary, a new drain of smaller and better section and gradient was built.

 

Path between Wanchai and Wongneichong Gaps: - A trace was made between these gaps, touching Middle Gap on the way, and a two-foot wide path has been cut along it for the use of pedestrians. If funds are available this will he opened into a I2-foot road in 1899.

The Mount Kellett Road has been much improved by filling up a deep depression beyond the Gap between Wageningen and Des Voeux Villas. The cost of this work was borne by Mr Ede, who thereby got rid of a large quantity of earth from the front of “ Myrtle Bank."

 

Victoria Jubilee Road:- Thc survey for this road was finally completed in June. It was delayed for several weeks by the serious illness of MR HUGHES, who contracted fever while working in the swamp near Aberdeen. The length of road traced and surveyed between Shaukiwan and Kennedy Town is 18 miles. The plans, which comprise some forty sheets of survey and cross sections, are well in hand, and calculations for the preparation of the estimate are in progress. A very satisfactory trace, with good gradients, has been obtained, and it is hoped that a start with the work may shortly be made.

 

The unfortunate outbreak of Plague, and the uncertainty as to the expenditure which would be thereby involved, led to some desirable works being‘ postponed for a time. The expenditure of the Department on Plague Account for the period under review amounted to $6,865.

 

42. Government moiety of $2,500, towards the improvement of an area of about 7 acres of land in the West end of the City and as far as practicable forming it into a public park. This scheme arose out of an application to purchase land by two gentlemen who had large interests in the locality, failing to obtain it at what they considered its value, they generously agreed to give or guarantee a sum of $2,500 towards the improvement of the area. In draining, laying out roads, planting trees and shrubs, &c., provided Government would vote an equal sum. About half the money was spent in 1898, and considerable improvement effected in what was a perfect wilderness of scrub jungle. A road through the land has been constructed from the end of Robinson Road to Lower Richmond Road; rocks have been blasted and removed, a huge bank of earth cut down and distributed over the area in forming spaces suitable for tree planting, which work, with turfing of the slopes, will be proceeded with shortly before the rains set in.

 

43. Considerable improvements were effected during the year inside the Gaol largely by convict labour, the Public Works Department merely supplying materials, supervision, and skilled labour occasionally.

 

44. A Mortuary was constructed in the Public Cemetery by extending the existing building.

 

45. A commencement was made with the construction of a large public latrine off Ship Street.

 

46. Additional quarters, which were very much needed, were provided at the Civil Hospital for the gate watchmen.

 

47. Sir William Robinson, G.C.M.G., in a speech made shortly before he left the Colony, described Victoria as the best drained City east of Suez, but the worst drained city in the world might suffer from bad smells and worse evils if the drains and sewers were misused, and without admitting that Hongkong, considering its densely packed population, suffers much in this respect. it is the fact that the Chinese do misuse the drains, and this is usually the cause of such complaints as from time to time are made. This refers to well grounded complaints, not to those made by thoughtless and ignorant speakers or irresponsible writers, who seem to think it clever, or a sign of superior knowledge, to decry the Hongkong system of sewerage and drainage.

 

48. ln Hongkong a perfect system of pipe sewers has been laid, of sufficient capacity to carry sullage water from the houses, and practically all houses are now connected with these sewers by properly trapped house connections of glazed earthenware pipes. The intention was, and the hope is, that all sewage from the houses would rapidly find its way to the sewers, and by them to the outfalls in the harbour, and by the beneficient actions of the tides to the open sea. No stopping beneath the houses or streets to breed foul and poisonous gases is possible, the bulk of the 3,000,000 gallons of water used daily in the City, still in the form of liquid, should pass through these pipe sewers. And in addition 32 flushing tanks are in existence at convenient points to give a further impetus to the flow in the pipes, and drive their contents completely and rapidly into the harbour.

 

49. There are still in existence, below many of the streets and below some of the houses, the old storm drains, varying in dimensions from over six feet in height to one foot square, but with little or no fall near the harbour front, into which in former times all sewage flowed, and which in many cases were little better than elongated cesspools. The entrance of the tides into these drains banked up the sewerage of the City to poison the soil and the air in and about the Queen’s Road level.

 

50. These great masonry drains were, and are still, necessary to carry off rainwater; without them during heavy rainfalls the streets would be flooded and cut up into watercourses but it was intended that on the completion of the separate system, no foul or noxious matters should enter these drains, so ill suited to carry them to the sea.

 

51. Now as to their misuse.Mr DRURY, who has been in charge of the drainage and sewerage of the City during the past year, writes:

 

“I cannot report favourably on the condition of the storm drains in which it appears to me between ⅛ th and ¼ th of the city sewage still flows. These drains, already condemned for this purpose, are entirely unlit for the conveyance of any foul waters.”

 

52. He then goes on to speak of the escape of gases through “storm gullies," causing the bad smells occasionally complnined of, and describes how he has found it necessary to carry up ventilating shafts from these storm drains, which, it not misused, would require nothing of the sort. Describing their misuse he says:

 

“Having reported on the state of the storm drains generally, I will trace the manner in which sewage enters them and suggest a remedy for the same. The Chinese throw much of their sullage water into the street channels, this flows to an intercepting gully, whence it should go to the sewers, but in the case of a blockage of this gully (a most common occurrence) it overflows into the storm gully and thence into the storm drain which it fouls.”

 

53. One suggested remedy is that the maintenance of all sewers, storm drains and gullies should be under one control, instead of as at present divided between the Public Works Department and the Sanitary Board. lt is now to the Scavenging Contractor’s interest to allow sewage and rubbish to get into the storm drains and sewers when the work and expense of removing it falls on the Public Works Department. Mr. DURY thinks that if this department was responsible for the effective working of the whole of the separate system with a suitable staff of overseers for supervision better results would ensue. At present he can only hope that by prosecuting the scavenging contractor for permitting his coolies to allow garbage to block the intercepting gullies and pass into the sewers and storm drains, or still worse to dump rubbish direct into the storm drains, that in the end the contractor will find it cheaper to have his work done properly. In one case, lately tried in the Police Court, a fine of $50 was imposed on the Contractor.

 

54. It is clear, however, that the sewage system is not at fault, and that what occasionally leads to complaint is the improper use of the old storm drains.

 

58. Chamberlain Road-The Chamberlain Road, leading from the upper Tram Station at Victoria Gap to Mount Kellet Road, was completed in December, the total cost being $25,149.45. The first section of this road, as far as the entrance to “ Treverbyn," is 23 feet wide, the second section, on to “The Homestead,” 15 feet wide. Starting for some distance level, it then rises at a uniform gradient of 1 in 20 to the junction with Mount. Kellet Road. Considering the extremely heavy retaining walls required in the first section, and the first class nature of the masonry, surfacing, handrails, &c.. It  cannot be considered an extravagant work. The total length is 2,340 feet.

 

59. Barker Road:- The Barker Road leading from Plantation Road to Magazine Gap was also completed in the year and opened for traflic, the total cost being $26,880.00. The length of this road is 5,660 feet and the ruling gradient 2 in 40, while the steepest gradients being 1 in 20 make it available for rickshaw traflic. For some months in the summer a threatened slip near the commencement of the road caused much anxiety. The cutting passed through some very treacherous soil, probably an old landslip, and being immediately below the Plantation Road and immediately above the Tram line, a slip, such as for some time seemed imminent, would probably have carried away both. The position, moreover rendered the use of blasting powder or dynamite impossible, and the overhanging and slipping mass had to be carried away in pieces by coolie labour, the boulders being cut up by wedging. To make the road perfectly safe a heavy retaining wall, built in cement, was considered necessary, which added fully $3,000.00 to the cost of the road. Long before completion, the road became a favourite evening walk and already three large building sites have been sold, and the erection of one European residence is well advanced.

60. General Black’s Link:- An expenditure of less than $1,000 was incurred in opening the footpath from Wanchai Gap, via Middle Gap to Wongneieliong Gap since named “General Black’s Link." This path is a little over 3 miles in length and traverses the southern slopes of Mounts Cameron and Nicholson, commanding charming views of Deep Water Bay and the south coast of the Island. It opens up numerous attractive building sites. which will undoubtedly be sought after if a tramway to Magazine Gap is ever made.

61. Hok Un Road:- In British Kowloon the road from Hung Hom to Hok Un was completed and some cross roads on which the squatters evicted from the site now occupied by the Green island Cement Works, were established in permanent well built houses. This road was designed, constructed, and drained with a view to probable considerable extension of building for the large population connected with the Docks and the Cement. Works. As stated in the half yearly report the road should, as soon as practicable, be extended on to Kowloon City, and from there, in connection with the opening up and development of the new territory, to Sai Kung on Shelter Bay, and eventually over to Mirs Bay.

 

62. Station Street, Kowloon:- On the other side of the peninsula the extension of Station Street North through Mongkoktsui and on towards the boundary tense was taken in hand and well advanced.

63. Taipingshan Resumption:-The laying out, roading and draining of the Taipingshan resumed area was completed during the year at an expenditure of $36,110.69 The total expenditure on this work has been $107,751.18 or $12,248.82 below the estimate of $120,000

 

64. Blocks of buildings were erected and are occupied on the lots sold at the end of 1897 and early in 1898, and the remainder of the area is ready for sale when required.

 

65. Improvement of Gas Lighting:- The expenditure under the votes for the improvement of gas lighting in the City of Victoria was $2,598.92; 107 lamps were fitted with incandescent, burners, a number of lamps were added, whilst others were altered in position.

 

66. Extension of Gas Lighting:- Under the vote for the extension of gas lighting an expenditure of $994.00 was incurred in erecting lamps on:

 

(1.) MacDonnell Road.

(2.) Bowen Road as far as the Tramway, part of the expense of the latter being borne by the Tramway Company.

(3.) Such portions of the New Reclamation as were competed during the year.

 

67. Forming and Kerbing Streets: - Expenditure under the vote for forming and kerbing streets in the year was $9,970.80. The principal items of work done were as follows:

 

(1.) Road from Hung Hom to Hok Un, 50 feet wide and nearly half a mile long. The land bordering on it will shortly become very valuable for building sites, as the Dock Works and Cement Works develop. lt has been laid out. with this in view, as likely to become in time the main street of a largo town.

(2.) The new approach to MacDonnell Road where the old Gardener's’ Cottages stood. From the amount of land sold for building on this road. it will in a short time become an important one, and the expenditure incurred in raising the bridge, raising and levelling the road was fully justified.

(3.) The roadway at Morrison Hill Road approaching the Happy Valley was widened and

improved.

(4.) The nullah adjoining the Tramway line, between McDonell Road and Bowen Road was arched over, with a view to the construction of a. pathway and steps between these two roads. This will prove a great boon, not only to the inhabitants of the 16 new houses in this locality now nearing completion, but to the general public who find Bowen Road Station convenient for access to the Queen’s Gardens levels, the Ladies Recreation Club, &c ; half of the expense of this work is being borne by the owners of the adjoining land.

(5.) In addition to the above, footpaths have been formed, streets kerbed and channelled, and back lanes surfaced. round new buildings, especially in Hung Hom and Yaumati where great expansion has occurred.

(6.) The road to the east of the Hongkong Club was formed, kerbed and channelled, the cost  being defrayed by the Club in accordance with the terms under which the site for that institution was sold.

 

68. Water Supply Kowloon: - A contract was let at the close of the your for constructing a puddle dam across the outlet of No. 1 Valley. The dam hitherto existing was constructed originally for experimental purposes to discover what yield might he expected from the valley and had not been carried to a sufficient depth to prevent the escape of water underneath it. Under the contract the top of the dam will be raised so as to impound more water than formerly.

69. City of Victoria and Hill District Waterworks

(i) - Reservoir and Catchwater, Wongneichong Gap:- The dam has been completed to its full height. The catchwater and path alongside the same have been completed and all is in readiness to impound the next season's rains.

(ii.) Filter Beds and Service Reservoir.—These works were completed early in the year and have been utilized in connection with filtering the water supply to the City. Quarters for an overseer and workmen in charge of the works were begun and nearly completed by the end of the year.

(iii) Extensions of Pumping Plant for High Levels and Peak District:- Additional motors have

been ordered from England, those hitherto in use having become inadequate to maintain the supply for the increasing population of the High Levels and Peak district. To provide for the new and rapidly developing district above Kennedy Road some re-arrangements of the high-level mains have been made.

 

70. Taikoktsui Market:— A substantial though small market, containing 32 stalls in all, has been erected on a central site in the rising village of Taikoktsui. The pillars and gables are of brick with granite dressing and the floor of cement concrete with granite steps or kerbs. Special fittings have been constructed for the vegetable stalls. The building was completed before the close of the year.

71. Extensions and Improvements of Central Fire Brigade Station:- This most desireable work has at length been carried out. it consisted of adding another story and making certain alterations and modifications in the old building. The men are now comfortably housed in light and airy rooms on the two upper floors.

 

72. Gaol Extension:- A new workshop containing two floors has been erected in the west yard and the extension and remodelling of the wash house yard have been begun. The subdivision of associated into solitary cells has practically been completed and a number of minor alterations and improvements have been carried out. A very considerable portion of the work hais been performed with prison labour.

73. The following are the more important works which have been carried out under this heading:-

 

(i). Diversion of stream from Cotton Mill site, (lnland Lot 1018): - A Masonry nullah has now been consti'ucted to convey the waters of the Sookunpoo stream into Causeway Bay. The stream formerly pursued a very irregular course which interfered with the proper laying out of sites in this neighbourhood and, when an extension of land was granted for the Cotton Mills, arrangements were made for the construction of a properly trained channel, the Company subscribing a substantial sum towards the work. This has been completed as far as practicable for the present, and a road has been formed alongside the nullah for communication with the village of Tai Hang and the large area of level ground in its vicinity.

 

(ii). Redrainage of Western Market:- In connection with the removal of the old main drains consequent upon the Praya Reclamation Works it was found necessary to take up the drains of the Western Market. A system of surface Channels was substituted, the levels of the ground admitting of this being done.

 

(iii). Hok Un Road:- A system of drains has been constructed in connection with the new road to Hok Un, provision being made for carrying off the storm Water from the hilly ground adjoining.

 

(iv). Removal of old Drains:- The removal of the old drains in the neighbourhood of the Harbour Master’s Office has now been completed and new drains of proper construction have been substituted where required.

 

(V). Drainage of Villages:- Considerable improvements have been effected in a number of the villages including Shaukiwan, Wongneichong, Hung Hom and Yaumati. Provision has been made for the extensions which occurred in the last two named villages during the year.

 

(vi). Peak Water Supply: -A new Wrought iron main, 5 inches in diameter, has been laid

from the Peak Service Reservoir to Victoria Gap to replace the one hitherto existing which was only 3 inches in diameter. The pipes froin the latter will be utilized for the main to be laid along Barker Road

 

(vii). Diversion of Outfall Sewer at Hung Hom:-Owing to the purchase by the Dock Co of the land under which the main outfall sewer from Hung Hom passed, it became necessary to divert the sewer outside the limits of their property. This work is being carried out at the expense of the Dock Co.

 

(vm). Fire Hydrants at Hospitals: - An additional hydrant has been fixed at the Civil Hospital, and a main and hydrant for fire extinction purposes have been put in at Kennedy Town Hospital.

 

74. Plans, Specifications and estimates were prepared and tenders were received during the

course of the year for the following Works, but it was decided by Government to postpone for the time being any further action with regard to them:-

(i) Diversion of Nullah Wongneichong Recreation Ground.

(ii) Extension of the Post Office

(iii) Construction of Black’s Link.

 

75. Complete Plans and Estimates were likewise prepared for the Victoria Jubilee Road, a work to which allusion is made in a later paragraph of this Report.

 

Praya Reclamation Works

 

77. The progress during the year 1898 on these works was very satisfactory. It is generally admitted that the interests of all concerned are better served by such progress as has been made during the last few years, than by calling up all the money from the Marine Lot Holders, and by employing a largely increased staff hastening on the work to completion in a short time. The reclaimed areas keep well ahead of building operations.

 

The following is a brief description of what was done, section by section, during the year.

 

78. Section No 1 East:- Contract No 48 of 1897 with A CHEONG was completed on the 30th June. It comprised the filling in and forming of roadways, laying lime concrete over the sea wall and road margins, surfacing of the roads and footpaths, and forming a temporary street, &c.

 

79. Section No 1 West. The commencement of work at this, the extreme Western end of the present work has been delayed for some years, owing to the refusal of certain Marine Lot owners to join in the scheme. After full and careful consideration it was decided to take up the work at Government expense, leaving matters in dispute in consequence of the above refusal to he settled under the provisions of Ordinance 16 of 1889. A contract for depositing the rubble stone foundation was let to CHAN A TONG on the 13th April. The work proceeded satisfactorily and towards the end of the year the mound was brought up to the required level, but owing to the uncertain nature of the bottom, which consists of a hard crust of detritus from the Sui Ying-poon nullah overlying mud, settlement is anticipated when the weighting with concrete blocks takes place. At present only 60 per cent of the quantity of rubble estimated from the drawings as necessary has been deposited, there is therefore an ample margin for making good settlements.

 

80. Section No. 2:- Completed.

 

81. Section No. 3:- This important section, extending from Wilmer Street to Wing Lok Street was finally completed under Contract No. 23 by Mr. TSANG KENG in October. The work done in the year consisted in the completion of the seawall, surfacing the roadways and footpaths, laying drainpipes and fixing gullies. The whole area is now available for building.

 

82. Section No. 4.—This section extends from the Nam Pak Hong pier to the Harbour Master's Office, and on it the serious subsidence referred to in the Annual Report for 1897 occurred. On the 30th March a contract was entered into with Mr. TSANG KENG to make good the subsidence, which extended over a length of 257 feet, the whole of the necessary material, 6,000 cubic yards, was deposited within the contract time. The completion of this section, except the surfacing of the roads, was then arranged for along with Section 5, and after some delay owing to the extremely high tenders sent in, and some appearance of a combination to run up prices generally, against which a strong stand had to be taken, a very satisfactory contract was entered into with Mr. TSANG KENG, who pushed on well with the work and had completed about 27 per cent of it by the 31st December. On that date 1,240 feet of the Sea wall were in various stages of completion, 1,200 lineal feet of the storm-water drains were laid, 7,500 cubic yards of foundations and 43,600 cubic yards of filling were finished, 640 lineal feet of the seawall was brought up to such a level as to be available for the working of cargo at all states of the tide.

 

83. The Harbour Master’s old wharf was sold and removed and a temporary jetty on the line of the new seawall provided in lieu thereof.

 

84. Other contracts were also in progress on these sections during the year. one with Mr. FOO SIK for intercepting and diverting the Morrison Street storm-water drain which is now carried into the drain that discharges opposite Cleverly Street, and another for filling earth into hopper barges, &c. 8,075 cubic yards of dredgings and 19,320 cubic yards of surplus material from Taipingshan were deposited in these sections during the year.

 

85. Sections 6 and 7:- Work on these sections was considerably delayed, and is still delayed, owing to the decision of Government to construct no more solid stone piers, but to adopt open piers on iron or steel piles. The construction of two important stone piers was included in Contract No. 43 of 1897, and the rubble mound and portions of the concrete block foundations had been completed, while the greater part of the cut granite was ready in the quarries. Eventually, to save large expense and loss, it was decided to complete Pottinger Street pier according to the original design, and this was accordingly done. The work already done on the other pier, that opposite Pedder’s Street, had to be undone, the concrete blocks lifted and the rubble mound removed, and this work occupied much of the time of the Departmental Staff of Divers, &c.

 

86. The change in plan involved the removal by divers of 34,000 cubic feet of concrete blocks weighing about 2,000 tons, and 17,000 cubic feet of rubble hearting, replacing in a different portion 16,000 cubic feet of blocks and 20,000 cubic feet of hearting, a work both tedious and difficult. The preparation of a suitable design for the iron pier, which will be 200 feet long and 40 feet wide, with two double sets of steps at each side, and drawing up specifications. calling for tenders and letting a contract for the work, was entrusted to Messrs. COODE, SON & MATTHEWS, whose great experience in all work of the sort will ensure to the Colony the best design and work that can be got. Mr. MATTHEWS, who has visited Hongkong and understood fully the requirements, took a personal interest in the matter. A contract for the pier, amounting to about £7,500, was entered into in December and the first shipment of material may be expected in a few months.

 

Public Works which should be undertaken in the Colony when Funds are Available

 

93.Buildings:- Under this heading in the report for 1897, the New Law Courts, the Post Office and Treasury, the Gov'crn0r's Peak Residence, Police Stations at the West and East end of the City and a New Harbour Odice were mentioned. It was only found possible to include votes in the estimates for 1899 on account of two of those works, viz:- the Governors Peak residence, and the West end Police Station, while it remains doubtful whether the finances will permit of even these being proceeded with in 1899. Under such circumstances, it seems useless to add to the list though many other new buildings are more or less urgently required. The proposed New market at Taipingshan, however, may be mentioned, plans and estimates for which are ready. The building of markets has hitherto proved distinctly remunerative, an instance of which is the small market at Taikoktsui which was finished in December and is now returning 33 per cent on the capital outlay by the rent of stalls. For the construction of such works a loan is evidently justifiable.

 

94. The urgent need for a new Post Ofiice well arranged, well lighted, and ventilated and equal to the present and prospective needs of this rapidly growing Colony has been so often and so strongly urged that it seems unnecessary to reiterate the facts which prove it. The special Commission which reported on the subject in 1896 wrote :—

“The accommodation in the Post Ofiice, &c., &c., is so cramped that there is not sufficient room to sort two heavy mails at the same time, while the space devoted to the business of the Parcels Post is insufficient to secure the safe custody of parcels. In fact, the requirements of the Colony have entirely outgrown the accommodation at present available."

 

Nevertheless in 1899, with the business enormously increased, Imperial penny postage introduced, cheaper parcel postage, additional mails arriving and departing, the accommodation remains the same. It is not too much to say that the new Post Office should be undertaken without further delay, even though additional taxation had to be resorted to in order to provide the necessary funds.

 

95. Roads: - Want of funds is also the excuse for but poor progress in new roads. Of those mentioned in the report for 1897 only the completion of the MacDonnell Road at an estimated cost of $7,500.00 is provided for in 1899, and possibly one mile of “General Black's Link." Roads stand on quite a different footing from most public undertakings inasmuch as they are as a rule most distinctly remunerative. The lands bordering on new roads, from being inaccessible and valueless, become saleable at good prices. lt seems scarcely necessary to instance cases, one will sufiice. The Barker Road was completed in December, 1898, at a cost of $26,880.00 anti already three building sites have been sold on it for a total premium of $8,595.00 with a certainty of a steady return in Crown rent, rates and taxes secured to the Colony for ever. That similar or better results would follow from the opening of the road which has been traced to High West, and thence down to Upper Richmond Road, is beyond doubt. The same is true in Kowloon; as Station Street North on the West side, and Hok Un Road on the East, have been pushed forward, applications for land have come in. The first named road has now been carried about halfway across the tidal flat at Taikoktsui, it will probably in time be a great trunk road into China, crossing through one of the low gaps near Lai Chi Kok, and thence down the Sha-tin Valley to Mirs Bay, to Taipohu and to Sham Chun. Yet only the balance of a vote of 1898, amounting to $3,902.00, is available for expenditure on this important highway in 1899. it was hoped that the close of 1898 would have shewn good progress made with the Victoria Jubilee Road. Plans and estimates were ready in June, and by December fully six miles should

have been well in hand, but delays, such as are apparently inseparable from all works projected in Hongkong, have blocked the way in this case, and the “ first sod " is as yet unturned. The Public Works Department, having no end in view but the public good, feel much disappointed and disheartened at this apparently unnecessary delay.

 

96. Water Works:- In 1899 no works to add to the storage of water are projected, but in 1900 an additional reservoir in the Tytam Valley will probably become necessary to meet the demands of an increased population. Mr. COOPER's valuable report on the water supply of the City of Victoria and the Hill District of Hongkong, published in 1896, gives particulars regarding works which will probably become necessary to meet future requirements. The Kowloon supply is a more immediately pressing matter. In 1895 Mr. COOPER stated as follows:

“The available sources of water supply in British Kowloon are extremely limited, and should a large increase in the population occur, exceptional measures appear necessary for providing a public water supply.”

The census of 1891 gave the population of the Districts supplied as 12,205 persons; we are now supplying fully 26,500 persons, and if our means admitted of it should supply fully 10,000 more. in the decade 1881 to 1891 the population of British Kowloon increased at the rate of 96 per cent. lt seems not improbable that the increase from 1891 to 1901 will be fully at the rame ratio. it is therefore evident that the existing sources of supply are insufficient. The leasing of the new territory to the North of the present boundary removes all difficulties on this score: within a few miles of the boundary, streams, with an ample supply in the driest seasons, exist whose waters now run to waste near Laichikok. The flow of these streams has not yet been gauged, but appears so ample, even in the driest weather, that probably but a small impounding reservoir will be required, which should be at such an elevation as to command all the populated areas on the peninsula by gravitation. The chief expense will be the main, and the dimensions of the iron piping to be used must be carefully calculated to be of sufiicient dimensions to carry such a supply as will sufiice for the maximum population ever, likely to inhabit the Kowloon peninsula.

 

97. Miscellaneous Works:- The removal of the existing unsightly and almost useless Clock Tower and the erection of a new one in a prominent situation, is as yet unprovided for.