No 2 Tank [c.1860-c.1913] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

No 2 Tank [c.1860-c.1913]

Current condition: 
Demolished / No longer exists
Date Place completed: 
c.1860-01-01 (Year, Month, Day are approximate)
Date Place demolished: 
c.1913-01-01 (Year, Month, Day are approximate)

Married Police Quarters were completed in 1915 so demolish date set as 1913

Photos that show this place



Plans to reconstruct Tank No 2 were formulated in 1904, however the large amount of other work happening and the fact that the second water engineer was on leave meant no work happened that year.

Owner of IL 509 was notified about a resumption of the lot for reconstruction of Tank 2 and was paid $6,500 for the land.

Source PWD Report 1904 (No 87)


In 1906 reconstruction of Tank 2 is abandoned and reference is made to the site of the former No 2 Tank in connection with a new flushing tank under Blake Gardens. 

Source PWD Report 1906 (No 66 & No 77vi)


In 1910 there are plans to realign Bonham Road (today's Caine Road) from its position running south of No 2 Tank to run across the top of the tank along its north side at the same time as a new 12" water main is laid along Caine and Bonham Roads. The old tank is being used as a tip for building rubbish to raise the ground level to the required height 

Source PWD report 1910 (No 85 item i)

The No. 2 Tank is shown on the 1866 Map. The map shows it was fed by streams at that time.

Extract from a speech given by Governor Clementi to Legco on 5 September 1929:

The next step was taken in 1860, when two tanks were constructed in Bonham Road for the city supply; and once again I note that tanks have during the recent emergency proved to be one of the most useful means of combatting the drought. The two tanks built in 1860 were, three years later, connected by an aqueduct with Pok-fu-lam, where in 1863 the Colony’s first storage reservoir was completed.

F A Cooper's 1896 report on the water supply describes the 1860s project in more detail. That 1860s project was proposed by Mr S B Rawling in his report dated 29 Feb 1860. He recommended building a reservoir at Pokfulam, delivering water to the city via a cast iron pipe. The pipe would end at Robinson Road, where it's water poured into a new No. 1 tank (200,000 gallons). That in turn was connected to a new No.2 tank (850,000 gallons). The tanks would supply water to 30 fountains and 125 'fire cocks' (fire hydrants). The project was completed in 1863.

By the time Cooper wrote his report, the No.2 tank was in a poor condition:

116.    Further, the condition of No. 2 Tank constructed in 1860 is very unsatisfactory, only a few feet of water can be put into it without involving a serious loss by leakage.

This tank is very conveniently situated immediately above the central portion of the Chinese quarter of the City and is at sufficiently low a level to admit of being supplied by the exhaust from the Garden and Arbuthnot Road motors.

117.    The cost of laying the above mains and making good No. 2 Tank is estimated at $39,000, and on the completion of these works the distribution works will be found ample to meet all reasonable requirements within the present built area of the City for some years to come.

Herostratus's comments above show the work of "making good No.2 Tank" didn't begin until the mid-1900s, then was soon abandoned and the tank filled in instead.

The No.2 Tank was built to hold 850,000 gallons, or 3,860,000 litres. By comparison, that's more than the 2,500,000 litres in a typical Hong Kong public swimming pool, measuring 50x25x2m.

Water holding tank, Caine Road, Hong Kong
Water holding tank, Caine Road, Hong Kong, by UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL

Looks as it is an underground tank with grass on top, possibly similar to other tanks like the one on the Peak. On the right, it looks like an inlet for rainwater or the creeks visible on the 1866 map.