Former Marine Police HQ [1884- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Former Marine Police HQ [1884- ]

Current condition: 
In use
Date Place completed: 

Currently being turned into a boutique hotel called 1881 Heritage. This is a protected monument.

Photos that show this place


You can see the Old Firestation building in the bottom left of this photo as well.

The site looks pretty cool - they have what appears to be a cross section of one of the old tunnels on the other side of the site. It's pretty small - looks more like a cut open pizza oven - so must have been for storage

Pete, you beat me to it! I had just got the photo ready to post, when I saw your message.

It's on Canton Road, near to the junction with Salisbury Road:

Tunnel entrance at former Marine Police HQ

Ha! that's funny. Wonder what other things they'll have

this 1890 photo puts the site into context while this 1963 one shows the fire station in use. the granite facing on the left hand side has now put placed on the right - as seen in the modern photos above. There was also some structures next to the fire station which must have gone when they built Kowloon Park Drive.

There are more comments and photos about the Marine Police HQ and the Fire Station over on this thread.

After the Marine Police HQ at TST closed down, the Water Police Boundary Stone that stood outside the front entrance was removed to the Marine Police Base at Sai Wan Ho.

Former Marine Police HQ - Water Police Boundary Stone


Some old photos show a smaller, but more ornate building on the site. Then in the 1880s the larger, present building appears. I'm curious to learn more about the older building, and the transition from old to new.

Here are a few notes I've found on the subject. First in the Hong Kong Government Gazette:

  • 1881, item 362: 'Tenders, Erection of New Water Police Station at Tsimshatsui' 
  • 1882, item 205: 'Tenders. New Water Police Station at Tsimshatsui, Kaulung.'

Then in the 1884-09-20 edition of the China Mail, page 3, is an announcement of its opening:

The new Police Station at Tsim Tsa Tsoi [sic.], opened yesterday, will afford the residents of Kowloon a greater measure of protection than they have hitherto enjoyed. A strong body of Police could be despatched from the Station to any spot in the Peninsula in a very short space of time in a case of emergency.

Although the article doesn't say it is the Water Police, I think it's the same building they're describing.

 The original Water Police Station in TST was constructed in the mid-1860s and was superceded by the existing building, first occupied on 19 September 1884. It was originally a two-storey building and a third floor was added in 1920. Although housing the Water Police, it was also responsible for policing in the south of Kowloon, a situation which continued until the completion of a new TST Police Station in 1984.

Thanks Mike. I've added in your opening date for this Place, and made a new one for the original Water Police Station.

Regards, David

Thanks to Charles Ng, who writes:

West Wing (upper floors)

In the 1950s, the first and second floors of the West Wing of the main building were reserved as quarters for the Second in Command of the Marine Division.

At that time there were only 3 Major Police Districts in the Hong Kong Police Force: they were The Kowloon District; The Hong Kong Island District; and The New Territories and Marine District, each of which was under the command of an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP). The Marine Police was then only a Division headed by a Superintendent but under the jurisdiction and command of the ACP/NT & Marine. The Second in Command of the Marine Division was a specialist Chief Inspector (CI/Marine), who was not a career Police Officer. 

It was after the late 1960s when Marine expanded that the Division was upgraded to a Police District and separated its command from the NT Police District. The Post of the Commander of  Marine Police District was upgraded to ACP and his 2 I/c SSP. Consequently the reserved quarters for CI/marine on the West Wing were transferred to the general quarter pool for the Inspectorate. They were allocated to me in 1972 and my family lived there until 1977, when I was directed by Headquarters to move out to make way for the quarters to be converted to offices because of their shortage in the building.

West Wing (ground floor) and East Wing

As Marine Headquarters was sharing the building with Tsim Sha Tsui Police Station. The Report Room of TST Police Station occupied the ground floor of the West Wing, and the barrack rooms of its Rank & File (R & F) were at the other side of the East Wing on the hill.

Barracks for Marine Rank & File 

In the 1950s, Marine Police was only a small division having a strength of fewer than 300 personnel. Only 300 numbers were given to the Marine Rank and File from 3401 to 3700, apart from some civilian wireless operators, engineers and stokers who worked on the launches and Headquarters. These R & F were housed in the barrack rooms down at the bottom the hill on the East side of the main building at Ashley Road.

It was after Marine expansion, additional barrack rooms were constructed on the front lawn between the main building and the tower.

Marine Police fleet

The Marine Police fleet was also comparatively small in the 1950s. You can count them on the fingers of both your hands:

  • 2 large metal launches patrolling the East Sector of Hong Kong from outside Lyemun , the Ninepins to the Mirs Bay; 
  • 2 medium wooden launches patrolling the West Sector from Ma Wan, Mui Wo, Cheung Chau to Tai O; 
  • a few small wooden launches inside the Hong Kong harbor; and 
  • a small fast launch for crossing the harbor from Queen's Pier to Kowloon Railway Pier for the CP and other VIPs.

It was only in the mid-1950s that 6 more 70-foot launches were ordered to be constructed by Choy Lee Shipyard to add to the fleet; then later in the 1970s with the influx of the Vietnamese refugees into Hong Kong that Marine Police had expanded into its present strength.

Marine Police uniforms

Originally, Marine Police wore different uniform from the regular Land Police, a kind of sailor styled uniform very similar to that worn by British Royal Navy. The uniform was only changed following its upgrading to a Police District  to coincide with its Land counterpart.