1893 Public Works Department Annual Report

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THE HONGKONG GOVERNMENT GAZETTE, 12Th MAY, 1894.                                                                                   381


The following Report of the Acting Director of Public Works for 1893 is published.

By Command, J. H. STEWART LOCKHART, Acting Colonial Secretary.

Colonial Secretary's Office, Hongkong, 11th May, 1894.

No. 288.                                                                                       PUBLIC WORKS OFFICE,
W. CHATHAM, Acting Director of Public Works.

HONGKONG, 16th April, 1894.

SIR,-I have the honour to forward you the following report on the works carried out by this Department during the past year.


  1. Repairs to Buildings.—The following new buildings were completed in 1892 and therefore became chargeable to this vote for maintenance and repairs during the past year :-

Lair Shed and Fodder Store at the Cattle Depot.

Kowloon Slaughter House.

Public Laundries.

Quarters for Civil Hospital Staff.

Quarters and Offices for Superintendent of Botanical and Afforestation Department. Vaccine Institute.

Additions to Government House.

Additions to the Magistracy.

Block House at Sham-sui-po.

  1. The total number of buildings of all descriptions now in charge of this Department is 132 and the whole of them, with the exception of Mountain Lodge and Crosby Store, have been maintained in a satisfactory condition. The former of these is practically abandoned and the latter is approaching such a condition that extensive repairs will be necessary if its use is to be continued as at present.
  2. The following are the only works of an exceptional nature that have been found necessary during the year :-

Re-drainage of Superintendent's Quarters and out-buildings at the Gaol. (C.S.O. 215/1893)

Construction of a new roof over the old Police Station and Harbour Office at Aberdeen.(C.S.O.928/1983)

Construction of a new roof over the Registry of the Supreme Court.    (C.S.O. 2086/1893)

  1. In accordance with the practice inaugurated last year, the following list shows the expenditure various sub-heads :-

Department.                                                                                                                                        Amount.

(1)Government House, Government Offices, Supreme Court and Botanical
Department,                                                                                                                                      $7,012.41

(2)Police Stations and Magistracy,                                                                                                 5,496.56

(3)Goal,                                                                                                                                                3,180.02

(4)Educational (Schools),                                                                                                                1,853.37

(5)Sanitary Board (Markets, &c.),                                                                                                 1,483.08

(6)Medical (Hospitals and Asylums),                                                                                          3,096.36

(7)Miscellaneous,                                                                                                                            1,630.29

(8)Harbour (Office, Quarters and Powder Magazine),                                                            1,009.44

Total,                                                                                                                                                 $24,761.53

  1. Maintenance of Telegraphs.—The substitution of telephonic for telegraphic instruments has been completed, the only instruments of the latter class remaining being those for working the Gap Rock and Observatory lines. The telephone lines in Kowloon and the line from Causeway Bay to Shaukiwan have been reconstructed throughout and the renewal of the line from Shaukiwan to Cape D'Aguilar is now in progress. In connection with the renewal of lines, iron posts are being substituted for those of wood.

The cable between Hongkong and Kowloon was broken on the 29th September by the anchors of the S.S. Tai Lee, which fouled it during the storm of that date. With considerable trouble the ends of the broken cable were picked up and successfully spliced without the assistance of a cable ship, and communication by it was restored on the 20th November. During the interval between the breaking and repairing of the cable, a spare cable belonging to the Telegraph Company was very kindly placed at the disposal of the Government by the General Manager and the serious interruption of the service which would otherwise have occurred was thus avoided.

  1. Public Cemetery.—The public cemetery has been maintained without involving any exceptional expenditure. The number of interments has been 81.
  2. Maintenance of Praya Walls and Piers. Some exceptional repairs were rendered necessary by the storms which visited the Colony during the months of September and October last. The surface of the Praya roadway suffered considerably both in Hongkong and .Kowloon and the backing of the walls was washed out in several places. Stones were dislodged from the walls in a few instances and at Kennedy Town the pitching of the rubble mound which forms the present termination of the Reclamation was disturbed a good deal at the outer end. The piers generally suffered damage, none of them seriously however. All the repairs have been made in a very substantial manner and in several places the surface of the roadway has been concreted in order to avoid a repetition of the damage.
  3. Maintenance of Lighthouses.—With the exception of Gap Rock, none of the lighthouses have required any exceptional repairs. The damage done to Gap Rock lighthouse by the typhoon of the 1st.-2nd. October has formed the subject of a special report (vide Gazette, pp, 1,098 and 1,105) and need not be described again here. Satisfactory progress is being made with those repairs which it has been possible to execute with the materials available locally, and the new crane to replace the one washed away has been landed on the Rock and is in course of erection.
  4.       Maintenance of Disinfector.—The building and apparatus is in a satisfactory state of repair and very little expenditure has been incurred on them during the year.
  5.       Dredging Foreshores.—The dredger has been principally employed at Causeway Bay from which 31,300 cubic yards of material have been removed. Of this quantity, 29,900 cubic yards have been deposited in the Praya Reclamation. The dredging craft and machinery are at present undergoing a thorough overhaul in order to maintain them in a state of efficiency.
  6.       Miscellaneous Works.—The principal works carried out under this heading have been the -following:-

Providing and fixing an anemometer at the Peak.

Providing drying rooms and lavatories at the Civil Hospital.

Erecting iron railings at the Lunatic Asylums.

Constructing two wells at Yaumati and Hunghom.

Erecting boundary walls at West Point Reformatory.

Reconstructing Magazine Gap Road Bridge.

Providing and fixing a new cooking range at Government House.

Erecting an Opium Searching House.

Constructing a telescope house at the Observatory.

All these works have been completed with the exception of the one last mentioned and in that case only the mounting of the telescope remains to be done.

  1.       Maintenance of Roads and Bridges in Victoria.—The following roads have been re-macadamized and improved by straightening the kerbs, &c., viz. :—Queen's Road West to New Street,- Wing Lok Street, Jervois Street, Queen's Street, Bonham Strand West, Mercer Street, Cross Street, Rutter Street and Hollywood Road.

The Prava roadway at Kennedy Town from Collinson Street to Slaughter House Point, the road past St. John's Cathedral and a portion of Garden Road have been concreted and the roads generally have been maintained in good repair.

  1. Maintenance of Roads and Bridges out of Victoria.—The surfaces of Mount Kellett Road from its junction with the Aberdeen Road to Des Voeux Villas, the Peak Road from Mount Austin-Hotel to Rural Building Lot No. 59, the lower portion of Bowen Road and a portion of Aberdeen New Road have been concreted with lime and cement concrete. The main street of Aberdeen has been macadamized, kerbed and channelled. The Aberdeen Road and the circular road round Mount Kellett have been put in thorough repair. Considerable damage was done by the storms of September-October to the road from Aberdeen to Stanley and the Shaukiwan Road at places where they skirt the shore, the protecting walls being washed away and breaches made by the sea. This damage has been nearly completely repaired and the roads have been restored and re-surfaced. The road to Cape D'Aguilar is now under repair and minor repairs have been effected in various parts throughout the Island.
  2.       Maintenance of Roads and Bridges in Kowloon.—Bulkeley Street at Hunghom and a portion of Station Street at Yaumati have been macadamized, kerbed and channelled. The Praya roadway from Tsim-sha-tsui Point to Elgin Road suffered considerable damage from the storms already referred to. The surface has been concreted with lime and cement concrete and put in thorough repair. Minor repairs have been made in various parts of the Peninsula.
  1. Maintenance of Waterworks.--The waterworks have been maintained in a satisfactory condition without any exceptional expenditure. A portion of the old main from the Blue Pool, Wongneichung, has been re-laid in consequence of the old pipes having become furred.
  2. The scarcity of water which prevailed during the months of March and April necessitated the introduction of the intermittent system of supply. The following tabular statement shows the hours of supply and the consumption during the period referred to :—



Hours of Supply.

Daily Consumption.

per head per diem.


1st to 8th





9th to 13th

5 a.m. to 9 p.m.





14th to 16th

6 a.m. to 9 a.m.

6 p.m. to 8 p.m.






17th to 23rd

6 a.m. to 10 a.m.




24th to 30th

7 a.m. to 10 a.m.



  1. The dry season began on the 22nd September, 1892, and terminated on the 27th April, 1893, thus extending over 218 days. The rainfall from 1st October, 1892, to 30th April, 1893, amounted to 14.77 inches (5.40 inches of which fell in the last 4 days) against an average of 18.34 inches for the past 39 years. Pokfulam and Tytam reservoirs were filled to their utmost capacity up to the 5th and 6th October respectively.
  2. The quantity of water filtered at the Tytam and Pokfulam Filter Beds during the past year has been 822,293,000 and 275,773,000 gallons respectively, making a total of 1,098,066,000 gallons. This is equal to a consumption of 16.55 gallons per head per day for a population of 163,948 after deducting 107,482,000 gallons used for trade purposes, &c. The reduction in the consumption is partly attributable to the curtailment of the supply for a period as already described and partly to the measures that are being adopted to check the waste of water.
  3. Every endeavour is being made to reduce the excessive waste which is constantly going on in private tenements. A "Prescribed Domestic Quantity" is being determined under Section 10 of the Waterworks Ordinance for all houses in the Colony, and meters are being fixed to ascertain the consumption per head per diem. This "quantity" as published in the Gazette has varied from 5 to 18 gallons per head per diem and has been fixed proportionally to the rating valuation of the premises.
  4. In the tests made the actual consumption has varied from 4.5 to 49.1 gallons per head per diem. In 76 instances, houses have been disconnected from the mains on account of excessive consumption and have only been re-connected after a period of between two and three months and on application being made in writing by the owners. The following four examples clearly show the necessity for the action which has been taken (the figures represent gallons per head per diem) :-


Consumption during 1st test.

Consumption during 2nd test.


















The second test was made after the houses in question had been re-connected on the written application of the owners.

  1. The number of meters now in use for measuring the "non-domestic" supply is 155; a rent is charged for them and they are kept in repair by the Department. The quantity of filtered water supplied by meter during the past year has been 107,482,000 gallons, and of unfiltered water 61,329,000 gallons.
  2. Applications to the number of 499 were received for laying on water to private tenements or for repairs to existing services, and these have all been executed. Great assistance might be rendered in checking the waste of water which goes on if the occupiers of houses would occasionally examine their taps and other fittings and report any defects. In many cases the substitution of a new for an old washer would be all that would be found necessary.
  3. Five diagrams are annexed showing the hourly consumption of water per day, one of which Applies to the period when the supply was shut off from 9 P.M. to 5 A.M.
  1. Maintenance of Sewers.-The work of maintaining and cleaning the sewers has been carried on satisfactorily and without any extraordinary expenditure.
  2. Street Lighting.-The lighting of the City by gas and electricity has been satisfactorily carried out by the Gas and Electric Light Companies under their respective contracts. There are 642 gas lamps and 75 electric lights now in use throughout the City and suburbs.

The lighting of the more important roads and streets of Kowloon by gas has been satisfactorily performed under the contract with the Gas Company. The number of lamps in use is 76.

  1. Maintenance of Public Recreation Ground.-The recreation ground at Happy Valley has been maintained at a small cost.
  1. During the year 15 land sales have taken place, the area sold being 891,792 square feet and the premiums realized amounting to $51,067. The sales include an area of 800,000 square feet sold to the Taikoo Sugar Refinery at Quarry Bay for the purpose of constructing a reservoir.
  2. Extensions to existing lots of a total area of 479,740 square feet have been granted, the premiums realized amounting to $7,797.28. These figures include an area of 382,000 square feet occupied by the reservoir for the Aberdeen Paper Mills.
  3. One Farm Lot in Kowloon has been converted into an Inland Lot.
  4. Surveys have been made, boundaries corrected and plans and particulars forwarded to the. Land Office for the issue of 67 leases.
  5. Boundary stones have been fixed to define 17 lots.
  6. Surveys have been made and plans prepared of the following- villages for the purpose of enabling the Squatters' Board to deal with the claims of the villagers under Ordinance No. 27 of 1890 :-Mati, Mong-kok, Mong-kok-tsui, Tai-kok-tsui, Fuk-tsun-heung, Tai-shek-ku, Ho-mun-tin, and Fo-pang.
  7. The following tabular statement shows the number of squatters' licences issued and the fees collected for the various villages; the total amount being $5,867.77 from 1,673 licences granted in addition to $639.21. for arrears :-

[table not converted]

35.   Plans of 12 buildings for European dwellings and 51 for Chinese, besides 30 miscellaneous structures, have been deposited during the year. There have also been lodged 174 notices of additions and alterations to, existing buildings and 381 of intention to repair.

Certificates have been granted for 165 dwelling houses.

Notices have been served in 91 instances to remove or repair dangerous structures, and in 1 instance to remove verandah enclosures.

Permits have been issued to the number of 515 for the erection of scaffolding, opening roads, &c. Permission has been granted to construct 14 verandahs and 11 piers over Crown Land.

Permits have been issued in 57 cases for the erection and repair of monuments and enclosures in the Colonial Cemetery. The fees have amounted to $152.50.

All plans deposited have been duly registered and numbered; the registers are complete up to date.

36.   It is worthy of record under this heading that the miscellaneous structures erected during the year include a large tank installation for the storage of 6,000 tons of kerosene oil in bulk at Tai-kok-tsui and that it is already proposed to make a considerable addition to the storage capacity of the depot. There are also included a match factory at Hunghom and a reservoir near Quarry Bay for the storage of 107,000,000 gallons of water to supply the Taikoo Sugar Refinery, both of which are in progress. These works afford satisfactory evidence of the continued expansion of the trade of the Colony.

37.   Central Market.—The whole of the walls have been built with the exception of the gables and the walls of the tower. The iron-work of the upper floor and nearly all the iron-work of the roof has been erected and the fixing of the timber-work of the roof is progressing.

38.   Twining Albany Nullah and Branches.—The invert of the tunnel which conveys the waters of the nullah underneath the service reservoir has been laid throughout with substantial granite masonry.

39.   Slaughter House and Sheep and Pig Depots.—The complete scheme includes the construction of buildings which are arranged on three terraces, but it is at present proposed only to erect those on the upper and intermediate terraces and a few subsidiary buildings on the lower terrace. All the buildings on the upper terrace have been roofed in and otherwise completed with the exception of laying the concrete floors and fixing some internal fittings, &c. The buildings on the intermediate terrace are ready for the erection of the roofs and the subsidiary buildings on the lower terrace are nearly completed. A dwelling house for the accommodation of an overseer to supervise the Slaughter House, &c., which is being erected in the vicinity, has been built up to a level of about 6 feet above ground level.

40.   Gaol Extension.—The drawings and estimates were approved by the Public Works Committee and sanctioned by the Council in September and a contract for the work was let to Mr. Foo SIK (C.S.O. 1943/1893) in the same month. Since then the old buildings occupying the site have been demolished and the excavation of the trenshes for foundations is now in progress.

41.   Kowloon New Roads.—Work wa(s) temporarily suspended from 13th January to 10th April. Since it was resumed good progress has been made and the whole of the roads are now nearing completion. A total length of 1.77 miles will be added to the roads in this district on completion of the work.

42.   New Water Mains.—A small expenditure has been incurred under this head in re-laying a portion of the main from Blue Pool to the East Point Refinery.

43.   Sewerage of Victoria.—The whole of the main sewers have now been completed for the Central and Western Districts of the City with the exception of the outfalls which are to be carried across the new Praya now in progress. Two Contracts were let to Mr. Foo Six (C.SO. 2684/1893) and (2685/1893) in December for the whole of the sewerage of the Eastern District and the work will shortly be begun.

During the progress of the sewerage works every opportunity has been taken to improve back lanes which form public thoroughfares. In several instances the sullage water from the houses on either side was discharged on the surface by the defective down-pipes and drains or was thrown there as the easiest way of getting rid of it causing the lanes to become filthy and noisome. Wherever the owners have re-drained, these lanes have been concreted and channelled, an impervious surface being formed in place of the porous surface which originally existed and which allowed the sullage water to soak into and foul the subsoil.

44.   Water Supply, Kowloon Peninsula.—The -drawings and estimates of this work were approved by the Public Works Committee in July and sanctioned by the Council in August, and a contract was let to Mr. Chan-A. Tong (C.S.O.1574/1893) in September. Since that date good progress has been made. A length of 430 yards of cast iron pipes, 7 inches diameter, has been laid for conveying the water from the wells in the valleys to the pumping station at Yaumati and 470 yards of distributing mains, 4 inches diameter, have been laid in the village of Yaumati. The roads leading to the wells have been partially formed, the reclamation at Yaumati, including the training of the nullah, to form the site of the pumping station and clear-water reservoir is in progress and the elevated reservoirs into which the water is to be pumped are being constructed.

45.   Extension of Mac Donnell and Austin Road: Kowloon.—Plans and estimates for this work, which also includes cutting away the hill on the road to Yaumati south of the Gasworks, were approved by the Public Works Committee in May last and adopted by Council. The contract was let to Messrs. Ho CHIU and Lo YING (C.S.O. 1575/1893) in August and since that date 128 yards of storm-water drains have been constructed and the cutting away of the hill referred to in order to fill in the area to be reclaimed under this scheme is in progress.

46.   Headquarters for the Volunteers.—A contract was let in September to Mr. CHEUNG NAM (C.S.O. 1798/1893) for the erection of a small building to be used as a dressing room and for making certain alterations to the existing building. The work has nearly been completed.


47.   Kowloon Cattle .Depot. —Drawings and estimates for the construction of a Cattle Depot close to the Slaughter House as recommended by the Sanitary Board were approved by the Public Works Committee in April last and adopted by Council. It is hoped to make a commencement with the work at an early date.

48.   Married Quarters, Central Police Station.—Drawings have been prepared for the construction of married quarters and other buildings on the piece of land to the North of the Magistracy which is unoccupied at present except by some buildings in a more or less dilapidated condition.

49.   Signalling Station on Blackhead's Hill, Kowloon.—A drawing and estimate have been prepared for the signal station which formed part of the proposals of the Committee appointed to enquire into the mode of signalling the approach of vessels, &c.

50.   Village Water, Drainage and Sewerage Works.—Preliminary works in connection with a projected water supply for the village of Aberdeen are in progress.

51.   A notable event of the year has been the completion of a large and handsome school constructed at the sole expense of the Honourable E. R. BELILIOS, C.M.G., on a site granted by the Government for that purpose. The building, which stands on the site formerly occupied by the Central School, was formally handed over to the Government on the 18th December.

52. The School contains 12 class-rooms, all of which are furnished with desks, forms, &c. throughout, and is capable of accommodating 608 pupils. The lavatory accommodation is excellent and the whole of the fittings are in accordance with the latest practice. The floors of the lavatories are laid with encaustic tiles and the walls for a height of about 3 feet are covered with glazed tiles of a neat design. There are also small retiring rooms for the teachers and quarters for a caretaker. The surface of the compound or playground is laid with lime concrete.

53.   Mr. COOPER went on 12 months' leave on the 9th November, when I took over the duties of the acting appointment.

54.   Mr. TOOKER was placed in charge of work under the Building Ordinance, and Mr. CROOK was appointed Water Authority.

55.   Mr. Qum, resigned on the expiration of his agreement in February and his duties have since been discharged by Mr. CROOK with the assistance of Mr. BAMSEY.

56.   Mr. RENNIE returned from 6 months' leave on the 3rd March and resigned his appointment as Correspondence Clerk on the 31st December. Pending the approval of Her Majesty's Secretary of State, arrangements have been made for the discharge of his duties departmentally.

57.   Mr. MALSCH returned from 9 months' leave on the 17th November.

58.   The following officers have also been granted leave during the year :—Mr. SING QUA, draftsman, 1 month ; Mr. THOMPSON, overseer of the Cemetery, 2 months ; and Mr. CARROLL, overseer of Sewerage Works, 6 months.

59.   Mr. KING, Land Bailiff, was absent through sickness for 10 weeks from the 22nd December, 1892, and Fu LUNG, Chinese foreman, died in January.

60.   Mr. BEAVIN, overseer of Repairs to Buildings, resigned on the 31st December, and arrangements have been made to fill the vacancy thus caused by the promotion of Mr. Moore. Mr. MUGFORD, Sergeant R.E., has been selected to fill the place of the latter.