1911 Public Works Department Annual Report | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong
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1911 Public Works Department Annual Report

(The full document is available at HKGRO: http://sunzi.lib.hku.hk/hkgro/view/a1912/174.pdf)

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- P 13 - 

A considerable fire occurred on January 10th at Ap Liu, near Sham Shui Po, numerous sheds and huts belonging to and occupied by the villagers being destroyed.

Three houses on Inland Lot 17, Aplichau, were partly destroyed on October 30th and are being re-instated.

Several other fires occurred in the Colony, but none were of large dimensions.

39. Reclamations.—The following is a statement of the private reclamation works in progress during the year: —

Completed.

                            Area in sq. ft.
N.K.I.L. 27, Sham Shui Po,     11,310
    ,,   4l,      ,,           20,240

In progress.

N.K.I.L. 39, Sham Shui Po,     11,880

The areas stated are those of the lots which extend further inland than old high water mark and are therefore not exclusively reclaimed from the sea. Additional areas beyond those stated have to be reclaimed for roads.

40. Principal Works of a Private nature:

Hongkong University: considerable progress was made with the main building, whilst the Principal’s and Professors’ houses and other adjunct buildings were begun. The whole of the buildings were well advanced at the close of the year.

A Hostel, projected for the use of students attending the University, situated on Inland Lot 754, Bonham Road, and under the control of the Church Missionary Society, was commenced.

The preparation of a site for a similar hostel, on Inland Lot 1874, Hatton Road, to be under the control of the London Missionary Society was in progress.

Some additions consisting of Oil tanks and godowns have been made to the Standard Oil Co.’s premises at Lai Chi Kok.

The No. 1 Dock extension at Hunghom was completed.

Further alterations were in progress at the Hongkong Hotel.

The construction of the Star Ferry Co.’s Wharf opposite the end of Ice House Street was commenced, practically the whole of the wharf being completed by the end of the year whilst a considerable portion of the superstructure was erected


- P14 -

A building, comprising a school and chapel, in the compound of St. Paul’s College and adjoining Glenealy, was completed.

The erection of a Church for the Christian Science community was commenced. It is situated in Macdonnell Road, on. Inland Lot 1855, and was nearing completion at the close of the year.

Amongst other works which have been commenced or completed during the year, the following may be mentioned:—

Works commenced.

5 Chinese houses on I. L. 767, Junction of High Street and
                     Western Street.
6    ''    ,,    „  I. L. 1892, Square Street
9    ,,    ,,    ,, M.L. 239, Kennedy Town.
7    ''    „     „  P.R.M.L. 59, Connaught & Des Voeux
                     Roads West.
6    ''    ,,    ,, M.L. 299, Des Voeux and Connaught
                     Roads Central.
6    ''    ,,    ,, I.L. 1895, Shin Hing Street.
5    ''    „     „  I.L. 1896
3    ''    „     „  S. I. L. 423, Shaukiwan.
2    ,,    ,,    ,,   „     429, „
1    ,,    „     „    „     43a, 101, Main St., Shaukiwan E.
1    ,,    „     „  I.L. 1861, Tunglowan.
9    ,,    ,,    ,, K.M.L. 31, Reclamation Street.
3    ,,    „     „  K.I.L.’s 1192, 1193 & 1199, Portland St.
11   ,,    „     „  N.K.I.L. 39, Sham Shui Po.
5    ,,    ,,    ,,   ,,     40, ,,
1    ,,    „     ,, Lot 1886, S.D. II, Ngau Chi Wan.
6    ,,    „     „  K.M.L. 90, To Kwa Wan.
1    ,,    „     „  Lot No. 5459, S.D. I, Sheung Sha Po.
1    ,,    „     „  K.I L.’s 1168 and 1169, Shanghai Street.
2    Houses on I.L. 1878, Bonham Road.
28    ,,    ,,  ,,   757,   ,,
6     ,,    ,,  „    591,   ,,
4     ,,    ,,    „  423, Caine Road.
2     ,,    ,,    „ 1881, Kennedy Town. ((sic. Though these lots are actually on Kennedy Road))
1     ,,    ,,    „ 1890,   ,,
1     ,,    ,,    „ 1876,   ,,
1     ,,    ,,   ,, 1677,   ,,
1     ,,   ,, R.B.L. 135, Victoria Road.
1     ,,   ,,  ,,      1, Sec. D, Peak.
1     ,,   ,,  ,,      6,          ,,
4     ,,  ,,K.I.L.’s 517 and 519, Cameron Road.
1 Block of buildings containing 18 flats on K.I.L. 571, Carnarvon and Mody Roads.


-P 15-

Rebuilding of Smith’s Villas, Magazine Gap.
Additions to the Peak Hotel.    
Alterations to Nos. 6, 12 and 20A, Des Voeux Road Central.
New shops and offices at No. 20,    ,,    „    „
Godown on M.L. 126, Des Voeux Road West.
Central block, Ellis Kadoorie Schools, I.L. 1244.
Alteration to Ice Factory, East Point.
    „           ,, Jockey Club’s premises, Happy Valley.
Aerated Water Factory, M.L. 293.
Pavilion, Chinese Recreation Club, Causeway Bay.
Formation of site, retaining walls, &c., R.B.L. 136, Pokfulam.
Sea Wall, Q.B.M.L.’s 2 and 3, Quarry Bay.

Works completed.

2 Chinese houses, T.H.L.'s 86 and 87, Tai Hang.
32   ,,     ,,    various lots, Tai Hang.
1    ,,     ,,    S.I.L. 154, 33 Main Street, Shaukiwan.
3    ,,     ,,     „     411 and 415, „ „
36   ,,     ,,    I.L. 427, Sampan Street, Queen’s Road East
                   and Cross Street.
1    ,,     ,,    K.F.L. 4, Argyle Street.
4    ,,     ,,    K.I.L. 1211, Shek Shan,
1    ,,     ,,    Lots 472, 473 & 478, S.D. I, Ngau Chi Wan.
4    ,,     ,,    K.I.L. 964, Shanghai Street.
8    ,,     ,,    N.K.I.L. 17, Sham Shui Po.
1    ,,     ,,    K.I.L. 1187, Mong Kok Tsui.
1    ,,     ,,    S.D. II, Lot 1892, Ngau Chi Wan.
1    ,,     ,,    K.I.L.’s 780 and 1119, Fuk Tsun Heung.
5    ,,     ,,    I.L. 767, High Street.
1    ,,     ,,    R.B.L. 134, Chai Wan.
Addition to Tung Wah Hospital, I.L. 835. Po Yan Street.
East Wing, Ellis Kadoorie Schools.
Wing, Italian Convent, I.L. 58 R.P., Caine Road.
Hospital, Wanchai, I.L.’s 790 and 1838, Stone Nullah Lane. Bake-house and Quarters, I.L. 1337, Cross Street.
Hospital, Kwong Wah, K.I.L. 1213, Dundas Street.
„         Small-pox,  ,,    1264, Tai Shek Ku.
Fat-boiling factory and Quarters, K.I.L. 1266, Ma Tau Kok.
     „         „           ,,     I.L. 1883, Kennedy Town.
Theatre (“Victoria”) on P.R.M.L. 14, Des Voeux Road Central.
Chinese Theatre, I.L. 1853, Kau U Fong.


[...]

Forum: 

During the year, Mount Davis Battery was surveyed and agreements were prepared and completed in connection with the transfer of this area and the Kowloon City Rifle range.

There was only one case in which the right of erecting a pier under long lease was granted, namely, the pier in front of Marine Lot 95, West Point, which was originally constructed under Johnson‘s Piers and Wharves Ordinance, 1884.

37. The new “Victoria Cinematograph Theatre” in Des Voeux Road Central on the Praya Reclamation to M. L. 14 was completed in August and the new Chinese Theatre in Kan U Fong on Inland Lot 1858 in September, both being open for public performances.

 

These theatres are included in the number given above. Steps have been taken towards making existing buildings, which are used as places of public entertainment, comply as far as possible with the requirements of the Ordinance. Those dealt with were the Ko Shing Theatre, the City Hall and the theatre at Mt. Austin Barracks, in all of which the alterations required were practically completed at the and of the year.

 

A notable feature of the year's work was the very considerable number of old Chinese houses of which the reconstruction was undertaken,  principally as the result of the service of dangerous structure notices, under Sections 205-207 of the Buildings Ordinance, but in some cases as the result of fire or collapse. In the older portions of the City, it frequently occurs that the demolition of one house results in the revelation of such defects in the adjoining houses that they also have to be pulled down and rebuilt. The following is a statement of the houses which have been dealt with in this manner

 

Jervois Street    91, 93, 95*, 97*, 99, 101, 103*, 105*, 107*, 109*, 96*, 98*, 100* and 102*.

Bonham Strand         35*, 107 and 133*.

Burd Street            3*.

Tung Street             33.

Hollywood Road        103*, 249* and 251*.

Ko Shing Street         34* and 36.

Queen Street             2 and 4.

Queen's Road Central    335*.

Queen's Road West        67 and 69

Wing Lek Street.        36, 38, 145* and 225*.

Aberdeen Street.        13*, 15* and 17.*

Queens Road East        232*.

St. Francis Street        8-12 (portions of).

Wing Fling Lane West        7*

Kennedy Street        2*, 4* and 6*.

 

In most cases, arrangements have been made for the provision of scavenging lanes which are to be opened up by the owners when required. Particulars with regard to such lanes are contained in para. 114 of this Report.

 

A special report on this subject was forwarded to Government on the 31st Anguet, after the Typhoons and Rainstorms of the 27th July and 4th-5th August. During the latter, 17 inches of rain fell. The damage caused was generally comparatively slight but very extensive. The following were some of the most serious items:-

 

Large landslips above the Kowloon Catchwater Reservoir, which blocked the channel and caused an extensive washout below the catchwater.

Collapse of portion of the retaining wall between $t. John's Cathedral grounds and the Parade Ground.

Breaches in the Tai Po Road and damage to the causeway at Tai Po.

Damage to the pitching of the rubble mound protecting the Gunpowder Depot, Green Island.

 

The following is a brief history of the circumstances connected with the erection of this building.

 

It was realized in 1891 that the Colony had outgrown the accommodation afforded by the buildings occupied by the various Government Departments including that occupied by the Post Office and Treasury (erected in 1867) and, in September of the year first mentioned, a committee was appointed to consider the question of erecting new buildings for the Government Departments generally. The Committee reported in November 1896 recommending inter alia the erection on the site now occupied by the Courts of Justice of a building to contain the Post Olfice, Treasury and other Government Offices, the design to be put up to competition among Architects in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore.

 

After prolonged correspondence and discussions, chiefly concerning the site upon which the building should be erected (ride Sessional Papers 2, 1898 and 16/1902 and Legislative Council Minutes 28/2/98), it was finally proposed in February 1902 to purchase, at an outlay of $508,280, that portion of the recently reclaimed area on the west side of Pedder Street, containing 25,414 square feet and belonging to Sir Robert Jardine.

 

This proposal was confirmed by resolution of the Legislative Council on the 10th April 1902 and the purchase was subsequently completed.

 

The sanction of the Secretary of State to invite competitive designs was obtained and the Conditions of Competition were published in December 1902, Shanghai and Singapore Architects being invited to compete. The building was specified to be three stories in height

with a basement underneath for storage purposes, etc, and the limit of cost, exclusive of Architects’ fees, was stated as $500,000.

 

Only three designs were submitted, - two by Hongkong firms and the third by a Shanghai firm. Of the three, that prepared by Messrs. Denison, Ram & Gibbs was selected, official intimation of the fact being communicated to them on the 17th July 1903. The designs had been adjudicated upon by the Public Works Committee, who, in forwarding their report to Government, recommended that a fourth storey should be added to the building and this recommendation was approved.

 

Messrs. Denison, Ram & Gibbs, having expressed some doubt in the report accompanying their design as to the adequacy of the sum mentioned in the Conditions of Competition as the limit of cost of the building, namely, $500,000, to provide for granite dressings and the use of teakwood, &c, the matter was referred to Government and it was decided by the Governor, then Sir Henry Blake, that a very important public building such as this should be constructed

of first class materials and of granite where the Architects considered it desirable to introduce it in the principal fronts.

 

To facilitate the erection of the building, it was arranged that a Contract for the foundations and basement only should be let in the first instance and tenders were invited accordingly.

 

Difficulty was experienced in obtaining reasonable tenders but ultimately a Contract for this portion of the work was let in November 1903. Delay was caused in the execution of the work by the loss of at vessel containing a cargo of piles and by unexpected difficulties which were encountered when the foundations were opened up, and the Contract was not completed until January 1906. Meanwhile a Contract for the superstructure had been entered into

in July 1905 but the Contractors were not given possession of the site until the 23rd January 1906.

 

When the foundations were nearing completion, Sir Matthew Nathan, who had succeeded Sir Henry Blake as Governor, proposed that a Clock Tower should be added to the building. This proposal was adopted and the necessary alterations in the foundations were carried out, contributing towards the delay in their completion.

 

Besides giving rise to extra work in the foundations, the proposed addition of a Clock Tower necessitated the substitution of granite for brickwork in the construction of those walls upon which the tower would he carried, thus causing additional expense. Owing to the increased cost of the building resulting from the addition of a fourth storey, the alterations entailed by the proposal to construct a Clock Tower, the general and large advance in cost of work which

occurred about the time the Contracts were let and other causes, it was ultimately decided, in January 1910, that the tower should not be proceeded with in the meanwhile and the structure has been terminated and covered over immediately above the ridge of the roof of the main building.

 

As already recorded, the building was occupied by the middle of 1911, though the installation of the heating apparatus and various minor alterations had to be carried out subsequently.

 

The Building which contains basement, ground, 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors, is situated between Connaught and Des Voeux Roads at their intersection with Pedder Street. The basement and ground floor extend over practically the entire site, but, at the level of the first floor, a large, central courtyard, measuring about 60’ x 50’, is introduced, round the four sides of which the remainder of the building is disposed. The various offices are arranged on the three sides abutting on the above mentioned roads, whilst on the fourth, which abuts on a private lane, jointly owned by the Government and the P&O. S.N. Co., are arranged the lavatories and coolie quarters. The courtyard over the central portion of the ground floor, which consists of a concrete flat is utilized as an emigration yard, certain portions

being provided with a glazed roof supported on brackets projecting from the walls to form a shelter.

 

The verandah pillars and arches on the ground floor are constructed entirely of granite, which is also extensively used in the pillars and arches of the remaining floors and in the main walls of the building on all three principal fronts. Otherwise the walls are of Canton red brick, faced externally with Amoy bricks. Many of the floors are constructed of cement concrete covered with tiles or granolithic, the others being of teak boarding on hardwood joists. All corridor walls are tiled to a height of 3’ 6”, all lavatory walls to a height of 5’ 0”: the walls of the Chinese Letter Department, which is situated in the basement, to a height of 4’ 0” and the remaining

internal walls are plastered and distempered. The whole of the doors, windows and finishings are of teak, stained and dull polished.

 

For heating the Postal and Treasury Halls, a system of low-pressure hot water heating through radiators is provided. Arrangements are being made to extend this to some other portions of the building which are unprovided with open grates.

 

The roofs generally are covered with Canton tiles on hardwood rafters supported on iron purlins, but at the gables special tiles and rolls of cement concrete reinforced with small iron rods are used

 

The flat roofs to verandahs and over the central portion of the ground floor are formed with cement concrete, covered with “A Grade Pabco " and finished with grenolithic.

 

The building is lit with electric light and fitted with electric fans throughout and is also provided with two electric passenger lifts and one electric goods lift for conveying mails from the basement to the ground floor. Exhaust fans are placed in the Chinese Letter Department for the extraction of foul air.

 

The main staircase, which is situated at the south-east angle of the building, is of teak. Subsidiary staircases, constructed of granite, are provided in the north-west and south-west angles of the building. A staircase for office attendants is also provided from the first to the third floor. An iron fire escape connecting with all floors is fixed on the West Front adjoining the private lane previously mentioned.

 

The arrangement of the various Government Departments on the difierent floors is as follows:

 

Basement, occupied principally by the Postal Department, contains the Chinese Letter Department, a tiffin room and a number of store rooms, one of which is used by the Sanitary Department. The boiler for the heating apparatus is also located in the basement.

 

Ground Floor, entirely occupied by the Postal Department, contains the Postal Hall, 93’ x 45’, Sorting Hall, 93' x 65’, Registration Room, 57’ x 29’, Box-holders’ Room, Postmaster Generals and Assistant Postmaster General's Offices. As already mentioned, an electric lift for raising letters to the main sorting hall connects this floor with the basement.

 

First Floor, occupied by the Treasury and the Registrar General’s Departments, contains the Treasury Hall, 76’ x 36’, the Stamp Ofiice, 43’ 6” >< 14’ 3”, Stamp Vault, 40' x 18’, 12 other offices, ranging from 34’ x 30’ to 13’ 6” x 10’, and 2 strong rooms. 3 small rooms on the Western side of the building, adjoining the private lane, are used in connection with the inspection of emigrants.

 

Second Floor, occupied by the Sanitary Department, the Local Audit Oifics, Education Office, Southern District Oflice and a telephone exchange, contains in all 21 rooms used as Offices, ranging in size from 50’ x 21’ to 13’ 6” x 10’.

 

Third Floor, provided for the future expansion of the Departments housed in the building, contains 20 rooms ranging in size from 36’ x 30’ to 13’ 6" x 10’.

 

In addition to the above, there are 16 small rooms for office attendants on the Western side of the building, adjoining the private lane, a mezzanine floor being here interposed between the firstand third floors of the main building.

 

Lavatories are provided on all floors except the basement.

 

The steel structural work throughout the building has been encased in fine cement concrete with a view to protecting it in case of an outbreak of fire.

 

This work, begun in 1910, was completed during the year. As mentioned in last year's Report, it included quarters for the European staff and comprised two buildings, both of which are of red brick in lime mortar, plastered externally with lime and cement roughcast. The western building contains a room for at medical ofiicer and quarters for two sisters and 8 amahs whilst the eastern building contains quarters for two wardmasters and 16 Chinese ward attendants.

 

A contract for this work was let to Messrs. Sang Lee & Co in September. By the end of the year the old buildings on the site had been demolished, 150 hardwood piles driven and the foundation trenches for the North Wing and about one half of those for the West Wing had been concreted and the brick footings for the walls of the North Wing had been commenced.

A contract for this work was let to Messers Po Yick & Co. in June. Prior to commencing operations on the building, a matshed was erected on the playground to enable the Work of the school to he carried on whilst the additions were in progress.

 

By the end of the year, the whole of the brickwork of the main building was completed, all door and window frames were fixed, the old roof was re-erected, several of the reinforced concrete floors were laid and the rough-cast coating to the external walls was practically completed.

 

This station, begun in 1910, was completed in July. It comprises a main block, partly one and partly two—storied, and a wing containing servants’ quarters, &c., also two-storied

.

The buildings are of red brick in lime mortar, plastered externally with lime and cement rough-cast. The roof is of double pan and roll tiling.

 

The buildings contain a charge room and cell, a room for an Inspecting Officer with bathroom attached, quarters for a European Sergeant (2 rooms and bathroom, kitchen, &c.), 10 Indian Constables and 7 Chinese Constables, besides the necessary kitchens, ablution rooms and latrines. Verandahs, 5 feet wide are provided on the south-east and north-east sides of the building. The station occupies the top of a low hill, which has been levelled off to form a parade ground. An approach path was formed from the existing pathway to the station.

 

The erection of two semi-detached bungalows on the site formerly occupied by the old wooden pavilions, Mount. Kellett Road, which was begun in 1910, was completed in June. Each house contains a dining room with ante-room opening from some, 3 bedrooms, enclosed verandahs, kitchen, pantry, drying room and 3 bathrooms : there are also the necessary servants’ quarters and an enclosed yard.

 

The walls are built of Canton red brick in lime mortar, plastered internally. The floors of the rooms are of 1&1/4” hardwood on China fir poles: beneath the ground floor of the main buildings is a space for ventilation, the ground surface of same being covererd with 3” of lime and cement concrete.

 

The roofs are of double pan and roll tiling on China fir purlins and battens supported on hardwood trusses.

 

The building is lighted throughout with gas, the fittings and piping taken down from the old buildings being utilized as for as possible.

 

A portion of the surrounding area has been turfed and concreted paths have been provided whilst railings and an ornamental wrought iron fence and dwarf wall were constructed along a portion of the front.

 

1911 Estimates, $16,000.00     Total Estimates, ...$31,000.00

1911 Expenditure, 15,224.35     Expenditure to 31/12/11,  27,624.35

 

Workshops and Shed for dustcarts, ambulances &c.This Work, which was begun in 1910, comprised the removal of the old quarters to the north of No.2  Tank and the erection on the site thus rendered available of 1 new building, partly one-storied and partly two-storied. The building contains, on the ground floor, a blacksmiths workshop, 64’ x 15', and a carpenters Workshop, 49’ x 15’, and, on the upper floor, quarters consisting of two rooms, each 15' 0" x 14’ 6”, one room, 14’ 6" x 9’ 6", a kitchen, and a bath-room. The two-storied portion has a verandah of iron and concrete 12 feet wide.

 

The Walls of the ground floor are of granite, which was obtained from the demolition of the old quarters and those of the upper floor are of red brick in lime mortar, pointed in cement. All the floors are of cement concrete and the roof is covered with double pan and roll tiling.

 

In addition to the foregoing, an extensive lean-to shed for dust-carts and ambulances was erected on a site to the north of the workshops bounded on three sides by Caine Lane. The shed has a floor area of 3,558 square feet, the roofing consisting of boarding covered with ruberoid supported on brick pillars and timber rafters.

 

The work was completed in the beginning of June.

 

This work, begun in 1910, was completed in April 1911.

 

A contract was let in March for the erection of a two-storied brick building on a site adjoining the Harbour Ofiice and was completed on the 1st November. The ground floor affords accommodation for 35 Chinese Searchers whilst the first floor contains quarters -  2 rooms, bathroom and kitchen,—for the European Officer in Charge.

A contract for this work, which consists of tho addition of a new wing at the north end of the Maternity Hospital, was let at the end of March. The site was known to he on made ground, but, as it had been in existence for over 25 years, it was anticipated that it would he suffieieiitly consolidated to admit of its supporting at one-storied building with suitable foundations. A severe rainstorm, (5th~6th August), when over 15 inches of rain fell, occurred however after the foundation trenches had been opened with the result that considerable settlement took place and, as the retaining walls supporting the site were constructed of dry rubble, it was considered advisable to strengthen them by constructing buttresses in High Street. This was done and the building was subsequently proceeded with. At the close of the year, the walls of the building were about completed and the roof timbers were in course of erection.

 

Extensive illuminations were carried out on the night of the 23rd June in connection with the Coronation of Their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary. The following are some particulars of the buildings illuminated: -

 

Government House and grounds- 599 incandescent electric lamps forming the devices of a Crown, Prince of Wales feathers and the letters G.R and 2,000 Japanese lanterns

Clock Tower-4,000 fairy lamps and 60 flare lamps'

New Post Office — 5,000 Japanese lanterns.

New Law Courts — 4,200 Japanese Lanterns.

Victoria Hospital and Quarters - 2,500 Japanese Lanterns

Tsim Sha Tsui Police Station- 2,500 Japanese Lanterns

Time Ball Tower and Signalling Station-1,000  Japanese Lanterns

 

In addition to the above, the Government subscribed a sum of $970 towards the illuminations of the Queen's Statue which were carried out by the Coronation Committee. The expenditure by the Public Works department, including the sum of $970 just mentioned, amounted to $5,805.87 which was defrayed from a special vote under the heading “Miscellaneous Services. Illumination of Public Buildings in connection with Coronation Celebrations ".

 

Hi there, I refer to the post on 15 June 2017 23.59, with No. 37 of the PWD report.  It says there was a new theatre on "Kan U Pong", but it was probably a transcription error, because in 1911 a new theatre in Kau U Fong was built. 

https://gwulo.com/node/36427#15/22.2821/114.1619/Map_by_ESRI-Markers/100

In that page, a question is raised about whether there was actually an 'old' theatre standing before 1911, because the theatre opened that year calling itself 'New Theatre'.  Does the PWD report give any other information about it?  Previous ownership, land use etc.?

breskvar 

Yes, a transcription error, the software struggles with F's for some reason.  I have corrected in the above, thanks.

 There is a whole lot of information in the PWD report about the Kau U Fong resumption in the preceding decade's PWD reports. The 1904 report gives a summary of the property resumed but makes no mention of any theatre, just houses.