Central Fire Station [1926-1982] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Central Fire Station [1926-1982]

Current condition: 
Demolished / No longer exists
Date Place completed: 
1926-01-01
Date Place demolished: 
1982-01-01

This place is on the AMO's Central & Western Heritage Trail - The Sheung Wan Route. They describe it as follows:

The Old Central Fire Station, commonly known as "Shui Che Kwun" was originally located at the corner of Queen's Road Central and Wellington Street. It was relocated to this site in 1926 and to somewhere else again in 1982. The building was then demolished and the Hang Seng Bank Headquarters Building was erected.

Photos that show this place

Comments

The Central Fire Station was relocated to Cotton Tree Drive after the closure of the old station.

Some of the Jubilee St Vehicular Ferry Pier shots also show the old Central Fire Station from the harbour.

Here is an overhead view of Central Fire Station. The side street is Jubilee St. In the 1960s, the traffic flow was northbound from Queen's Road Central and all CMB buses bound for the Vehicular Ferry Pier would turn into Jubilee St.

1960s Central Fire Station

If I remember correctly, a building (former kitchen?) in the former Murray Barracks was converted into a fire station before the current building was built. Does someone remember this?

A nice nostalgic shot of Central Fire Station in 1952 here:

http://travel.webshots.com/album/547190622lMtLIs

This site aso shows the lifes and times of living in fire stations in Hong Kong during the 1950s.

Just to add a bit of extra info here: The Fire Station that opened on Des Voeux Road in 1926 took, according to Police and Fire reports of the time, five years to build, due to various delays including strikes. The previous Fire Station, at the junction of Queen's Road and Wellington Street, was incorporated into the Number 5 Police Station in 1868, when the Hong Kong Fire Brigade was first established by Governor Richard MacDonnell. That junction, which was frequently photographed from one of the balconies of the Police/Fire Station (a view that often pops up in coffee table and other photo books), was once popularly known as the Cross Roads.

Jean Gittens wrote in "Eastern Windows, Western Skies" that her father, Robert Ho Tung has bought the Homestead on the Peak and was planning on building a family house.  However, Government cut a deal with him instead:

"In exchange of the Homestead property, the Government had given him an entire city block, the site of the old Central Fire Stateion. on which he built the Ho Tung Building."

He then bought "The Falls", which was left empty for several years.  The book is in the reference, until his wife Clara was allowed to remodel it.

So where exactly was the old Central Fire Station ?

As previously mentioned, the Fire Station and No. 5 Police Station were co-located at the junction of Wellington St and Queen's Road Central, sometimes referred to as the "Crossroads".

1903 Fire on Queen's Road Central. I think the building in the centre is the No. 5 Police Station.

1902 No. 5 Police Station

 

Moddsey, that definitely seems to be the No.5 Police/Fire Station. Thanks for posting it, it's the first time I've seen it complete like that. Many photos seem to have been taken from those upper windows down into the Crossroads over the years, but complete views of the building itself are very rare. I think I've seen this fire from another angle, with a steam traction engine doing some preventative demolition.

 

Hello Bisquitzoe -

I was doing a research about Hong Kong - where I too grew up - and found your photo album 'Growing up in Hong Kong'.  On page 3 of your photo album there is a photo of a group of children sitting on a sofa - it is labelled 'Leslie's 3rd Birthday Party' - and presumably Leslie is yourself. I have the same photo. I am the little girl in the dark dress (older than you) - the two boys, sitting on the arm-rests on either side, are my younger brothers. Our family was one of the oldest resident (European) families in HK - at least at that time - 1918-1956. We lived at the CFS - 5th floor.  We went to Quarry Bay School.  I do, vaguely, recall your mother - but I'm afraid I cannot remember you.  The young lady standing behind, with the fair hair, is Joan Dale.

 My father, uncle, aunt and grandmother were all interned at the Stanley Prison Camp during WWII.

In 1956 we wll went to live in New Zealand.

Suzie

 

In 1922 Henry Tom Brooks was sent from London to establish an efficient Fire Brigade in the colony. He saw to the building of the Hong Kong Central Fire Station, a substantial six storey square building on the waterfront between Des Voeux Road (at the rear) and Connaught Road (in front), overlooking the Vehicular Ferry Terminal – (for ferries to Kowloon).  The family moved to live there, on the 5th floor, when it was completed in 1926. The Central Fire Station also served as an ambulance station and its officers also undertook the duties of customs officers, dangerous goods inspectors and ‘riot squad’. So it was a very pivotal part of the civil services in Hong Kong.

Connaught Road ran the length of the shoreline and had a promenade from where the ferry wharves extended.  However the waterfront underwent a huge reclamation in the 1970s-80(?) and Connaught Road is now land-locked. The Central Fire Station was demolished in 1982 for the building of the Hang Seng Bank.

Suziepie

Prior to the completion of the 'new' Central Fire Station in 1926, the Central  Fire Brigade had moved from Queen's Road Central (probably from the co-located No. 5 Police Station and old Central Fire Station) to a temporary fire station on Des Voeux Road Central on 14 December 1922 accommodating 4 appliances, 2 motor cars, 2 Officers and 64 men.  1922 Police & Fire Brigade Annual Report refers.

HK Telegraph 15 December 1922

The temporary fire station was located in a building recently erected on the site of the old Victoria Theatre at the corner of Des Voeux Road Central and Pottinger Street and very close to the 'new' Central Fire Station Building

1926 PWD Annual Report

The Central Fire Station was occupied from September 1926.

Hi Moddsey 

Regarding your post 

   "The temporary fire station was located in a building recently erected on the site of the old Victoria Theatre at the corner of Des Voeux Road Central and Pottinger Street and very close to the 'new' Central Fire Station Building"...

I revert again to our discussion last year - as to where this Fire Brigade staff photo was taken - see here http://gwulo.com/atom/17472 - we had ascertained that it was definitely not in the 'new' Central Fire Brigade - so the photo was taken between 1922 when Henry Brooks arrived (he is seated on left in the photo) and 1926 when the staff moved into the 'new' Fire Station..

Could this building you mention be the site?

Suziepie

I recall that it was because of the staff photo posted that I went in search of the temporary fire station in Central used prior to the completion of the Central Fire Station. As the Hong Kong Telegraph states that it was a "recently erected building", I am not sure if the photo posted was taken at the temporary premises, The building in your photo appears to be older. Just my thoughts.