#18 Ship Street, Wanchai [1937- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

#18 Ship Street, Wanchai [1937- ]

Current condition: 
In use
Date Place completed: 

Photos that show this place


This property is described in the AMO document, "brief_information_grade2.pdf":

Historic Building Appraisal
No. 18 Ship Street, 
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Historical Interest

Ship Street is believed to have got its name from the many shipyards that used to be in the area. No. 18 was built in 1937. It is a three-storey commercial-cum-residential building in Wan Chai which has been owned by the family of Tse since its erection in the late 1930s. The ground floor of No. 18 is occupied by a construction company known as Hop Yuen Building Materials Ltd. (合源建築公司); while the upper floors are used for residential purposes, just like others traditional shophouses.

The Island Lot upon which No. 18 Ship Street stands was first leased to Mr. Tse Iu-wa (謝耀華) in 1863. Immediately before redevelopment by the Urban Renewal Authority (URA), the last occupant is Mr. Tse Sik-hung, David (謝錫洪) who runs the family business selling building construction materials from the shop. Ship Street was heavily bombed by the Japanese in the Second World War but No. 18 survived.

Architectural Merit

No.18 Ship Street is a three-storey shophouse building, but unlike conventional shophouses the upper floors do not jut over the pavement. Instead the upper floors have narrow projecting balconies with profiled edges. The balconies have ornate wrought iron balustrading in 1930s Art Deco designs. The columns on either side of the shop front have recessed panels and decorative corbels in place of capitals. On the left-hand side of the shop at pavement level there is an ornamental Earth God Shrine. A decorative wrought iron grille can be seen above the shop’s roller shutter. The side staircase is finished in green polished terrazzo with black and white chequered bands on the treads.

Rarity, Built Heritage Value & Authenticity

This type of shophouse, known as Balcony Type I, is quite rare and has considerable built heritage value and interesting architectural features of the 1930s period. Inevitably alterations and additions have been made such as the installation of modern aluminium windows, a steel roller shutter and a rooftop structure, but the shophouse still manages to retain its authentic appearance. 

Social Value & Local Interest

The historic social value of the shophouse lies in its role in the commercial development of Wan Chai. Its unique façade with its beautiful wrought iron balustrading make it an interesting local feature. 

Group Value

No. 18 Ship Street, together with several others graded by the Antiquities Advisory Board in the area, formed a group of very significant traditional shophouses in Wan Chai. They include those on 72, 72A, 74 and 74A Stone Nullah Lane (石水渠街), those on Nos. 6, 8, 10 and 12 Burrows Street (巴路士街), Nos. 2, 4, 6 and 8 Hing Wan Street (慶雲街), Nos. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 & 11 Mallony Street (茂羅街) and Nos. 186, 188 & 190 Queens Road East (皇后大道東). Across Ship Street up a steep flight of stairs sits the Nam Koo Terrace (南固臺) which is constructed in 1921. Other physically close graded items include Hung Shing Temple (洪聖古廟) on Nos. 129-131 Queen’s Road East and Wan Chai Market (灣仔街市) on No.264 Queen’s Road East.

Adaptive Re-use

No. 18 Ship Street is included in one of the Urban Renewal Authority’s redevelopment projects and it is decided that at least the front façade will be preserved for the future.