TST Firestation

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 20:32

This photo from Flickr shows the old Fire station in the background, before renovation.

I remember the building in the foreground as the welfare shop. What was it built for originally?

Source: This image came from Flickr, see https://flickr.com/photo.gne?id=3920085224

Date picture taken


According to the historic buidling appraisal of the old TST Firestation, the Welfare Handicrafts Shop adjacent to the site does not feature in the survey  and therefore was not part of the station complex:


As far as I can recall, the buidling was there in the 1970s selling arts and crafts made by the needy. It was round about the same time the firestation buidling was leased to the TST and Yau Ma Tei Kaifong Associations.

The comment in:http://gwulo.com/node/1987

that the Welfare Handicrafts Shop was part of the Old TST Fire Station Complex would need to be corrected. Cheers.


I remember the 'grasshopper man'. He would use some type of long green grass and fold it in an origami like way to fashion his grasshoppers. Two red pin beads were used for the eyes.  A unique art indeed and very popular with the tourists.

How to make grass grasshoppers:



I've just been hunting about on the web, and came up with a few more facts:

  • Built in 1952: "The low but elegant 1952 building located adjacent to [the fire station building], squatting defiantly and incongruously amid the skyscrapers, was formerly a welfare handicraft store."
  • Licensed for use by the welfare organisation. The June 2001 report on the re-development of the Marine Police HQ site notes: "The Site falls within government ownership except for the two licenses
    granted to the Yau Ma Tei and Tsim Sha Tsui Culture and Arts
    Association and the Welfare Handicrafts Shop for the two buildings
    fronting Salisbury Road. Under this approach the Government
    maintains ownership and undertakes renovation and maintenance
  • The organisation closed in 2003: "Established in 1956 as a non-profit organisation to support and give dignity to refugees in Hong Kong by providing handicraft materials and an outlet for their products, it lost its landmark shop in Salisbury Road to government redevelopment."

Can anyone remember when it was demolished?

When I first arrived in Hong Kong, I stayed at Chungking Mansions for the first few days, and wandered around TST. That grasshoper man is one of my earliest memories of the area. I think he used to set himself up by the retaining wall. Didn't he also have an offer up to teach people how to make those grasshoppers?

to put this man (these men?) into a time-frame, there since the late 60s remember because  i persuaded my dad to buy one for me after the 'n'th pleading (since lost after many house moves).  business was set up squatting on the pavement where he spent his time weaving these little gems and displaying the finished objects for sale on a big black umbrella.  he did different sizes and styles including grasshopper with baby on its back.  also sometimes sat at star ferry terminal near the rickshaws.  a great hit with tourists and locals alike!

Submitted by
Anonymous (not verified)
Sun, 06/20/2010 - 06:36

The shop was built and opened circa 1955 and is reported, with photo, in the HK Annual Report of 1956.

It was staffed by the members of various charities, which were responsible for different days of the week. My mother frequently worked there over a period of about five years 1955 - 60. I often used to go there after school and wait for her to finish.

The shop clung onto the site after the firestation/cultural centre closed, and so far as I recall (unreliably) closed in 2003. There was newspaper report at the time, so if the date is important to you, you might be able to find the report.


Indeed, as a young boy, I remember this man who used to make the grasshoppers out of dried reed grasses. He had a basket of the raw materials and would display the finished craft at the end of a long stick. He also made dragonfly, if im not mistaken. I remember that they were quite expensive for what they were. He would travel about TST, usually from the YMCA and up Salisbury Road. What memory flashback for me!

I also remember him very clearly. He could also fashion a sort of 'Bo-Peep' type Horn, which actually worked. It made a screeching noise! He used to sit by the wall to the left of the Welfare Shop frontage, drawing good business from tourists passing by.