Birthday Buildings in 2015 | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Birthday Buildings in 2015

It's nearly the end of the year, and I've just realised I haven't done a birthday list yet. We'll fix that pronto, starting with buildings that celebrated their 50th birthday this year...


50-year-old buildings:

Prince's Building is an easy one that everyone can recognise. It's still under construction in the centre of this c.1964 photo:

CityHall & Mandarin Hotel

But by 1966 it's all finished and gleaming white:

A very modern Central

I guess some readers will also recognise the Mansfield Road Government Quarters, and may even have lived there:

Mansfield Road


75-year-old buildings:

#72 Des Voeux Road Central, Tak Wing Pawn Shop - Since 1940 [1940- ]
5 & 7 Broom Road [c.1940- ]
Bluff Head Battery DEL 1, Stanley [1940- ]
Bluff Head Battery DEL 2, Stanley [1940- ]
China Light and Power - CLP [1940- ]
Chung Hom Kok Battery buildings [c.1940- ]
Chung Hom Shan Lewis AA gun position, Chung Hom Kok [1940- ]
Chung Hum Kok Battery DEL 1, Chung Hom Kok [1940- ]
Chung Hum Kok Battery DEL 2, Chung Hom Kok [1940- ]
Chung Hum Kok Battery DEL Engine House, Chung Hom Kok [1940- ]
Gauge Basin Battery, Tai Tam [1940- ]
Japanese "Cuttings" (field gun positions) [c.1940- ]
Kennedy Town PB 1, Kennedy Town [1940- ]
Kennedy Town PB 3, Kennedy Town [1940- ]
Mount Davis HAA Battery, Mount Davis [1940- ]
MS 41, Taipo Road [c.1940- ]
MS 42, Taipo Road [c.1940- ]
MS 43, Taipo Road [c.1940- ]
MS 44, Taipo Road [c.1940- ]
MS 5, Castle Peak Road(and 51.5 reverse) [c.1940- ]
MS 51, Tai Po Road [c.1940- ]
MS 51, Tai Po Road [c.1940- ]
Parapet firing pits // Ruins on Shouson Hill [c.1940- ]
Pillbox besides main dam of Upper Aberdeen Reservoir [1940- ]
Pillbox in the Aberdeen Reservoir area [1940- ]
Pillbox near Wanchai Gap [1940- ]
Pok Fu Lam PB, Pok Fu Lam Reservoir [1940- ]
Stanley Gap Battery, Tai Tam [1940- ]
Stone Hill PB 1, Stone Hill [1940- ]
Stone Hill PB 2, Stone Hill [1940- ]
Tai Tam Fork Battery, Tai Tam [1940- ]
Tai Tam Gap PB 1, Tai Tam Gap [1940- ]
Tai Tam Gap PB 2, Tai Tam Gap [1940- ]
Tak Sang Pawn Shop (since 1940) at Saigon and Shanghai [1940- ]
Wong Nai Chong AA Battery, WNC Gap [1940- ]
Wong Nai Chong Gap PB 3, Wong Nai Chong Gap [1940- ]
Wong Nei Chong Gap PB 1, Wong Nei Chong Gap [1940- ]
Wong Nei Chong Gap PB 2, Wong Nei Chong Gap [1940- ]

For the third year in a row, most of our 75-year-old buildings were built as part of the preparations for war. The couple of civilian buildings are the Tak Wing pawn shop at 72, Des Voeux Road (the building with what looks like a flagpole in this photo):

1960s #72 Des Voeux Road Central, Tak Wing Pawn Shop

And China Light & Power's building over on Argyle Street, seen here soon after completion:

China Light & Power Co building


100-year-old buildings

Central Magistracy and E Hall are both part of the Central Police Station site, currently being renovated.

May Hall is at Hong Kong University, and is shown in the photo below, the youngest and highest of these three University Hall buildings.

bonham road

In front of May Hall is is Eliot Hall, finished in 1914, then at the bottom is Lugard Hall, finished in 1913 but since demolished.


125-year-old buildings

A couple more military buildings, one in "Lye Yue Mun" at the eastern entrance to the harbour, and one at Stonecutters Island to the west:

1930s West Battery, Stonecutters Island

The third place isn't a building, it's an engraved stone slab commemorating the start of the major reclamation from Des Voeux Road out to Connaught Road:

Foundation Stone of the Praya Reclamation Works

You can find it tucked away in a corner of Chater Garden.


150-year-old buildings

[UPDATE 2017: C has noted that Tai Fu Tai Mansion fits the bill, and I've added a page for it] Sorry to say, the "150" list is empty this year. If you know of any 150-year-old buildings in Hong Kong that are still standing, please could you let us know in the comments below?


Find out more

If you'd like to see what information and photos we have for any of the buildings shown above, just click on the blue building name in the list. You can also click on any photo to see a larger version you can zoom in to.

And of course if you can add any memories, facts or photos, they'll be very welcome. Please click to leave a comment, or upload a photo.

Finally, you can also see the birthday buildings from 2013, and 2014.

Regards, David

PS Apologies for the glut of messages this week. There are two more I hope to post before the weekend, then I'll be away on vacation for a couple of weeks.

Also on this week:


Bob Wilson writes:

The Bistro restaurant area of the Yacht Club at Kellett Island might be around 150 years old. Wikipedia says,

    The island was ceded to Britain together with Hong Kong Island. A small fort was built on it in 1841 for the protection of the eastern section of Victoria Harbour,[1] and a battery with three cannons was added in 1854.[2] The island was renamed in the 1860s (some sources mention 1842)[3] after the naval officer Sir Henry Kellett. Kellett Bay and Mount Kellett were also named after him.[4][5] After Kowloon Peninsula was ceded to Britain in 1860, the defense position of Kellett Island declined in importance, and it was used by British armed forces for ammunition and gunpowder storage.[3][2]

    The island remained for the use of the Navy until 1938, when the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, formerly located in North Point, moved to Kellett Island. The Clubhouse was built in 1939[2] on the foundations of the old Naval Powder Magazine.[6] The new premises were formally opened on October 26, 1940 by the then Acting Governor, Lieutenant General Sir E. F. Norton.[7]

We have always understood that the three brick barrel vaults, perhaps unique in HK, were originally built to store explosives and it looks as though they might have been built in the 1860s. Perhaps there are government or military records of the construction date. 

The Tai Fu Tai Mansion, a declared monument in San Tin, New Territories, was built in 1865, making it 150 years old in 2015.

Good find, thanks. I've added a page for it: