Birthday Buildings in 2013
Do you recognise the building  in this email I received:
Shot through taxi window... Does anybody know if there has been/will be a centenary 'celebration' of this building this year? If so, I've missed it.
It turns out that the '1913' marks the date of a renovation, not the date it was first built, but it got me thinking... which other buildings deserve a birthday card this year, and how far back can we go?
50 years old
This photo of the Mandarin Hotel was taken soon after it opened:
40-60 years is the typical age when a Hong Kong building is demolished and re-developed, so will it be around much longer?
Over on Lantau, the biggest and smallest 'buildings' on the list share a connection. The Shek Pik Reservoir was finished that year, and so was the South Lantau Road. The road runs across the reservoir wall, and brought road access to Tai O for the first time. Its route is marked by milestones, several of which are listed above.
75 years old
Here's Central Market, a few years later in the 1950s:
The other buildings from 1938 have a more sinister tone: artillery batteries built to defend Hong Kong. War was in the air - Japanese airplanes were bombing Canton on a regular basis during 1937, and in 1938 their army invaded and occupied the city.
100 years old
Twenty-five years earlier, and another world war was about to begin. Thankfully, Hong Kong wouldn't face any fighting in that war, though there were plenty of other dangers to worry about:
The decision to build [a new police station in Cheung Chau] was taken after the murder of three Indian constables and the looting of the police station by a gang of pirates on 19 August 1912. 
125 years old
Have you seen this grand old building?
Don't feel bad if you haven't. As this 1900s photo shows, it used to be easy to see it. It was one of Hong Kong's landmarks, visible from the harbour.
But these days it is hidden away behind high-rise buildings. Now the only place you'll get a clear view of it is from Glenealy, on the slope between Robinson and Caine Roads. Worth a look.
150 years old
You can just make out the temple in the foreground of this engraving from 1873:
And here's the Watchman's Cottage, still keeping a careful eye on the reservoir at Pok Fu Lam:
Given Hong Kong's reputation for having destroyed its historic buildings, I was pleasantly surprised to find at least one building for each of these significant birthdays.
What have we missed?
So far at Gwulo.com we've documented over 2,300 places and buildings around Hong Kong. Each one has its own page, often with a few notes about the building, and copies of any photos we have that show the building. The building names in the lists above are links, so you can click on any of them to see that building's page.
But there are plenty more we haven't got round to yet. If there's a building you know of that should be on these lists, please go ahead and make a 'Place' page for it. Click here for instructions on how to create a Place page.
All the lists of buildings on this page are live, not fixed. eg Let's say you add a Place page for a building with a 1963 completion date. Then the next time you visit this page your building will automatically appear in the 50 years old list.
- It's the old Dairy Farm Building, at the top of Wyndham Street.
- Thanks to Peter Basmajian for sending the email that starts this thread.
- From the AMO report on the Cheung Chau Police Station.