1950s Queensway

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 23:59

The buildings served as the Union Jack Club.

Date picture taken


The photo shows a very sharp corner which, until smoothed out to its present state, was a highly dangerous corner on which numerous vehicles came to grief, usually caused by speeding, drunkenness or both. The building on the left is probably the old Union Jack Club (UJC) (one of several clubs for servicemen in Hong Kong in the early fifties)

On the right of the photo, by the chap on the bicycle, can be seen the railings fronting the then HMS Tamar, the front gate to which is a little further down the road out of the picture. Opposite the gate was Rodney Block in the centre of which was the clock tower with the famous "golden clock" face. In fact only the numbers and hands were picked out in gold. But this gave the place its Chinese name of "Kam Chung" usually translated as the "Place of the Golden Clock." This is now the Chinese name for Admiralty MTR Station.

Very best regards,

Gavin C. H. Cooper

I have quite by chance stumbled on a newspaper story (not sure which newspaper - it's a clipping and unlabelled) dated 4th May 1962. It is a story about the impending handover of Wellington Barracks to the government following the RN moving out to the new HMS Tamar, built over the filled in dry dock. 

It notes that the name 'Gam Chung Ping Fong" (金鐘兵房  Golden Clock Barracks) was given by the local HK personnel of the Royal Engineers (the original members of what became the HK Military Service Corps) to Wellington Barracks soon after the clock was installed in 1890. It was manufactured by Messrs Gillett & Co, Croydon (in 1962 Gillett & Johnston (Clocks) Ltd., Wembley) and provided by the War Department. The story goes on to mention that when the government took over the barracks, the clock was taken by the Royal Engineers and installed in their new barracks "at Castle Peak" - presumably Tai Lam Military Barracks, later Perowne Barracks. 

Has anyone any idea what happened next? Was the clock still there in 1994 when the barracks were vacated and the buildings used by Lingnan U as dormitories? Or did the Gurkha Engineers take it with them? It they did, does it still exist?Best,

Stephen D

Stephen writes that he found the answer to his question in object number 9706.2 of the archive at the Royal Engineers Museum:

A clock with a metal face. It was dismantled from a tower at Perowne Barracks (originally installed at Wellington Barracks in 1890). A Brass plaque reads: 'THE CLOCK ABOVE THIS PLAQUE WAS UNVEILED BY LIEUTENANT GENERAL SIR REGINALD H HEWETSON KCB CBE DSO COMMANDER OF BRITISH FORCES HONG KONG ON 26TH FEBRUARY 1963 ON THE OCCASION OF THE OPENING OF PEROWNE BARRACKS (TAI LAM)...' The Face has Roman numerals and is painted black and gold; the other parts include hands, pendulum, hardwood frame, weights and mechanism. The mechanism is a cast iron system of cogs built into two A-frames. There is a barrel with a steel wire and a small face with 0-60 on one side. The face has 'GILLETT & CO CROYDON LONDON' printed onto it.

And as a bonus it shows when the Perowne Barracks was opened.

On the question:

Was the clock still there in 1994 when the barracks were vacated and the buildings used by Lingnan U as dormitories?

From 1967 to 1991, Lingnan was a college located at 15 Stubbs road. It became a public university in 1999 and moved to the Tuen Mun campus in 1994. It seems it is unlikely it had a dormitory that far away.