Marina House [1935-1980]

Submitted by David on Fri, 10/02/2009 - 12:11
Current condition
Demolished / No longer exists
Date completed
Date closed / demolished

15-19, Queen's Road Central.

Some notes I've found about this building:

1935. The 3rd Dec edition of the HK Telegraph reports that Marina House is complete:

"With every modern convenience and imposing in design, the new building next to the Hongkong Hotel in Queen's Road Central, to be called "Marina House", is now completed and will be ready for tenants to move in on January 1, 1936.

Five storeys high, the building has accommodation for three banks on the ground floor with letting space of nearly 37,000 square feet on the four upper floors.

The ground floor covers the whole of the available are of the site, with the first to fourth floors "T"-shaped. This is undoubtedly a great improvement on the majority of offices in Hongkong where electric lighting is an absolute necessity during the day.


The office entrance is particularly well designed, being laid with marble, while the whole of the flooring is in parquet. [...] The exterior facing of the building has been accomplished with Cathay ceramics which gives a very pleasing effect.

The architects were Messrs. Palmer and Turner, and the contractors Messrs. Lai Kee Co.

An official of the owners, Hongkong Land Investment and Agency Co., Ltd., informed a representative of the Telegraph that they felt very satisfied with the building. "We would have liked," he said, "to install a cooling system, but luxury of this nature is somewhat beyond the powers of an investment company which has to consider the returns of its shareholders. No money, however, has been spared, and full advantage as been taken of the present low cost of construction.

The firms who have given notice of occupying the building include the Chinese Maritime Customs, for the entire fourth floor; Messrs. James H. Backhouse, Ltd., Messrs. Hastings and Co., Ilford, Ltd., Messrs. Ellis and Edgar, and Madame D'Obry.

The most easterly bank premisies in the ground floor will be occupied by the Chase Bank, which is having the interior fixed up as a most modern hall with ample room for the premises. The two westerly bank premises have not yet been booked, and in the meantime shop fronts have been erected pending an improvement in the business of the banking world.

The reason why the building is to be called "Marina House" was partly because the original structure on the site was known as such, and partly in honour of Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent. The Chinese name is "Kung Siu Hong" - Princess House."

Interesting to hear their explanation why air-conditioning isn't included. I don't think they'd get many tenants today!

Late 1940's. This history of Hongkong Land says: "The company's first large [post-war] development project was the adding of three stories to Marina House, first completed in 1935."

1950. Michael Rogge says that "In 1950, [the bank I worked for] moved to Marina House, Queen’s Road Central [...]". There's a picture of the interior of the bank on his website, and also a short video clip of the office area (see link below).

I'm not sure exactly when it was demolished - can anyone help? And if you have any other information or stories about the place, please leave a comment below.

Regards, David

Later place(s) at this location

Photos that show this Place


Submitted by
80sKid (not verified)
Mon, 10/05/2009 - 15:05

From what I can tell, looking at HK Land website and others, Marina House was one of four buildings constructed on the site of the old Hong Kong hotel after it burned down in the late 1920s. HK Land bought the whole site. They're marked 34, 35, 39 and 40 on the 1960s map. (Marina House is number 40) Two of the other buildings were Hong Kong Hotel and Gloucester Building.

In the late seventies the site was cleared again to construct the Landmark complex. HK Land gives Edinburgh Tower, which replaced Marina House, a completion date of 1983. 

Given HK hotel was first built in 1866, then rebuilt in 1893 (according to its wikipedia entry) - the site reflects a maximum 50 year history for buildings in Central

Submitted by
80sKid (not verified)
Mon, 10/05/2009 - 16:21

an interesting historical aside: the construction of the Landmark buildings coincided with (and was spurred by) a huge property boom in HK - that collapsed about the time Edinburgh Tower was opened. With office rents the most expensive in the world - British approaches on extending sovereignty in 1982 undermined confidence in the market and led to a severe plunge in prices and a run on several banks.

Hong Kong Land had to refinance and sell some assets to survive, HSBC announced the construction of the world's most expensive office block to shore up confidence and the govt was forced to peg the currency to the US dollar

Submitted by on
Tue, 10/06/2009 - 12:05

I checked some old Chinese newspapers through the Multimedia Information System of the Public Libraries. A piece of news (an explosion) in January 1980 referred to the Marina House and the "old" Edinburgh House. Another piece of news (fatal accident) in May 1980 referred to the Marina House construction site (being demolished?).

Thanks for all the comments. I'll set the demolition date as 1980 for now.

80skid, I'm also trying to work out the layout of this block over the year. I haven't seen a clear plan of the Hongkong hotel to see how much of the area it covered - have you found any?

Regards, David