HK Cricket Club pitch (1st location) [1851-1975]

Current condition: 
Demolished
Date Place completed: 
c.1851-06-01 (Month, Day are approximate)
Date Place demolished: 
c.1975-12-31 (Month, Day are approximate)

The Cricket Club's website says that a cricket pitch stood on this site from 1851 to 1975:

At a public meeting held in Hong Kong in June 1851, a proposal that a club be formed on the military parade ground south of the waterfront - the area to be turfed - launched one of the first cricket clubs outside England. The club was to be known as The Hong Kong Cricket Club and one of its objects was "to promote the game of cricket, tennis, croquet and other athletic sports and pastimes."

The Chater Road ground (now known as Chater Gardens) served the HKCC for 124 years. The first pavilion was a matshed in the north-east corner of the ground (opposite the Furama Hotel). This was soon replaced on the same site by a more solid building. Then, diagonally opposite, an extensive structure appeared (near the old Bank of China). Finally, in 1923, the last Clubhouse was erected, opposite the Hong Kong Club in Chater Road.

[...]

In 1975, the Club gave up its world-famous site in the middle of bustling Central District and moved to the greener Wongnaichung Gap. 

Photos that show this place

Comments

The Cricket Club's lease ran out - they did not voluntarily give up the site:  (See Another Disaster by Denys Roberstand). Instead, the Government offered them the lease of the site they now occupy out at Wong Nei Chong Gap road.

The history of the H.K. Cricket Club goes back to 1851, and it is thus very nearly the oldest established sports club in the Colony. It was in June that year, that local cricketing enthusiasts formed the club which from the outset has played on its present ground originally a waste piece of land by the seafront used as a drill ground for troops. The land it is worthy of note, is still liable to military exigencies,  a right not exercised for many years.

 

A  newspaper report dated June 12, 1851 gives the following: A public meeting called by advertisement was held within the Theatre on Saturday last for the purpose of adopting measures for converting the present Parade Ground and vacant space on the seaside into a place for public recreation.

 

Mr. Bridges concluded by moving that the adaptation of the Parade Ground (when not used as such) for Cricket and similar amusements will be highly beneficial to the civil and military population of this island."

 

The first Interport match took place here, against Shanghai, in February 1866, and in 1867 a local team journeyed to the northern port to do battle with their rivals. It was not until 1889 that the next encounter took place and this also in Shanghai.

 

In January 1890, the Straits Settlements sent their first team up here. The northerners sent a team down to Hongkong in Febraury 1892, and in October that same year Hongkong's ill fated team went north, the majority being drowned on the return journey as we have seen (on the Bokhara). In November 1897, the Straights, and Shanghai met for the first time on the local ground, and since then the early Hongkong winter season has been favoured, rather than the closing period for Interports.

 

The Cricket Club's gradual exclusive of its. ground has not been without adverse comment. We find the  following for instance, in the course of a leading article in the Hongkong Telegraph of  May 1st 1883. Some eight or nine years ago, that small field to the eastward of the City Hall, now  known as the Cricket Ground, was the public recreation ground for the European community. By some means or other Sir Arthur Kennedy was  “got at" to lease this ground to the Hongkong Cricket Club at a nominal rent and, since that time it has been generally regarded as private property. Now, Sir Arthur Kennedy had no right to take away from the public what was undoubtedly their exclusive privilege. However, although the field in question has been vastly improved by the Cricket Club, it is. still excepting as, regards situation, a poor specimen of a cricket ground and it also too small to. answer the purpose for which it was originally intended, namely a place of resort for the amusement and recreation of the public, We do not for a moment suggest that the Cricket Club should be deprived of their ground so long as the members of that institution are content to burlesque the noble game within its circumscribed limits.

 

Before closing this review we might observe that the ground was at one time used for sports other than cricket and tennis. There is a newspaper reference to the "Hongkong amateur athletic sports " held there on March 12, 1883 The first of these annual sports meeting was held in 1880

 

Who says baseball is completely new to the Colony? We find a reference dated March 8, 1883 to the fact that a Base Ball Match took place between the officers of the United States Navy, from on Board the Richmond and Monocacy, and the Hongkong Cricket Club and the game was played on the Cricket Club’s ground.

 

Source: Old Hong Kong by Colonial Vol 1