LongJin (aka 'Lung Tsun') Pier / Kowloon City Public Pier [1875-1942]
This pier was built in the 1870s by the Chinese government. It changed shape several times, as reclamation ate it up from the landward end, and different extensions were added to it at the seaward end.
The pier disappered completely in 1942, during further reclamation for the expansion of Kai-Tak airport by the Japanese .
The closure of the airport in 1998 meant there it was possible to excavate the area. This was done in 2008, showing that several sections of the piers were still in place. If you zoom in to the satellite photo above, you can see the archeologists' excavation trenches.
Here's a timeline, from section 4.4 of Annex B (see below):
4.4 Construction and Modification Phases of Longjin Bridge and Former Kowloon City Pier
4.4.1 The Longjin Bridge and Former Kowloon City Pier were built in 1873 and the 1920s respectively. Longjin Bridge underwent four phases of modification. Details are described in the paragraphs below.
4.4.2 Construction: in 1873, the original Bridge was built of granite, measuring about 210m long and 2.6m wide, and was laid in the direction of N131-degrees. The works were completed in 1875.
4.4.3 At the landward end of the Bridge, there was a two-storey pavilion. It was used to greet Chinese imperial officials. Locals named it as the “Pavilion for Greeting Officials”. Two stone tablets were erected inside the pavilion with inscriptions on them recording the 1873 and 1892 works of the Bridge. The pavilion was demolished during the reclamation of Kai Tak residential development between 1916 and 1920. The entrance stone tablet of the pavilion which reads as “Longjin” still remained at the Lok Sin Tong Primary School in Nam Kok Road, Kowloon City.
4.4.4 Phase 1 modification: in 1892, a timber extension was added to the seaward end of this Bridge, measuring 80m long. The seaward end was extended, measuring 4m wide. The extension works were funded by Lok Sin Tong, a local charitable organization of Kowloon City Market, established in the 1880s. The timber extension was laid in the direction of N118-degrees.
4.4.5 Phase 2 modification: Longjin Bridge was repaired by timber works and the works were completed in 1900.
4.4.6 Phase 3 modification: in 1910, the timber extension of the Bridge was replaced by a concrete structure. A wooden shelter was built at the seaward end of the timber extension.
4.4.7 Phase 4 modification: between 1916 and the early 1920s, the northern section of the Bridge was demolished during the site works associated with reclamation for the residential development in Kowloon City.
4.4.8 Kowloon City Pier: the Longjin Bridge was given a new name, the Kowloon City Pier, upon completion of the final extension works in the early 1920s. The 1892 original timber extension of the Bridge was demolished and a new concrete extension of about 60m length was added to the seaward end of the original Longjin Bridge. The distance of the seaward end of the Former Kowloon City Pier to the 1924 seawall is measured about 112m based on the early 1930s historic map in scale of 1:2,400. A causeway in form of seawall was constructed for the Former Kowloon City Pier in 1933 and the Pier was rebuilt between 1936 and 1937. The duration of service of the Former Kowloon City Pier is from the early 1920s to August 1942.
4.4.9 Buried Period: the burial of the Bridge and the Pier reflects the progress of urban development of Kowloon Bay since 1916. The northern section of the Bridge was buried under the reclamation for the development of Kai Tak Bund. The southern section of the Bridge remains exposed during that period of time and a new concrete extension of the Bridge, namely Former Kowloon City Pier, was constructed and linked with the southern section of the Bridge. Subsequently both the southern section of the Bridge and the Pier were demolished and buried under the new reclamation for Kai Tak Airport in 1942. Due to increase in demand for civil aviation in the late 1950s, a new Kai Tak Terminal Building was opened in 1960s.
During construction of the Terminal Building basement, the decking of the buried northern section of the Bridge might be further disturbed.
The results of the excavations were documented at the 140th meeting of the Antiquities Advisory Board:
- Remnants of Lung Tsun Stone Bridge in Kai Tak Area (Board Paper AAB/30/2009-10) [A brief overview]
- Annex A [Some more detail, with a few photos & maps]
- Annex B (17.4 MB) [LOTS of information. Covers the archeological exploration in great detail]
- Annex C [A map]
- Annex D (6.0 MB) [The conservation management plan, but also a good balance between Annex A & B in terms of detail]