Jardine's Wharf [1885-1981] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Jardine's Wharf [1885-1981]

Current condition: 
Demolished / No longer exists
Date Place completed: 
c.1885-12-01 (Day is approximate)
Date Place demolished: 
c.1981-05-01 (Month, Day are approximate)

The China Mail 1885-10-03 refers:


The wharfage accommodation of this Colony will shortly be largely increased by the opening of the extensive new wharf which has been constructed at West Point for Messrs Jardine; Matheson &Co. This wharf, now almost completed, will be able to accommodate simultaneously two of the larger class of home-going steamers and one of the smaller coasting class of vessel.

Its situation is on Marine lots No.s 95, 96, 97 and 98, close to the Sailor's home, the site having been selected owing to the great depth of water available, and the ready access which is obtainable, especially to steamers arriving from the South. The wharf itself is T-shaped, with arriving on the Eastern side. It has been intended to have a corresponding wing on the Western side, but was found that a spur of a small Government wharf; at the foot of West Street, (the street running past the Sailors Home), would prevent steamers berthing and unberthing at low water. It is believed that this spur could be easily dredged away, and in all probability the proprietors will at some future date undertake the work and extend their wharf. At the outer end, or head of the T, the wharf is 580 feet long, by 50 feet broad, the Wing is 340 feet long, by the same breadth, and the base is about 200 foot long by 50 feet at the inner part and 30 feet at the outer. The wharf is very strongly built, and seems well able to offer great resistance to the severity of a typhoon.

Some idea may be gathered of its strength when it is mentioned that the flooring of the wharf is supported by somewhere about 600 heavy piles, firmly sunk into the earth .At high tide, there is 30 feet of water at the head of the wharf, and there is sufficient water inside the Eastern wing to float the largest coasting steamers which visit this port. Mooring posts, capstans and landing steps are provided on the wharf, and there is also erected in the middle of the outer wharf a pair of shears capable of lifting 20 tons weight. This in itself will greatly facilitate the loading and unloading of heavy cargo, as at present steamers have either to proceed to Kowloon or some other dock before they can discharge heavy pieces of machine or ammunition. It is intended in time to further improve the wharf by laying down rails and adding other appliances, such as derrick cranes, &c. It is in contemplation, also, to cover it with a roof, but in the meantime it is practically finished, and ready for the berthing of vessels.

In Connection with the wharf, Messrs Jardine; Matheson & Co. have constructed number of spacious  and convenient godowns on the Praya opposite the end of the wharf, and occupying almost the entire piece of ground between Centre and West Streets. These godowns are contained in a plain two- storeyed building, with an ornamental coping, having a frontage to the Praya about 300 feet, and a frontage of 226 feet on Centre Street. The walls are of steel brick with granite facings, and the godowns are liberally lighted and ventilated, and provided with easy and ample means of access. The floors of the lower story are of concrete and cement, while those of the upper storey are of wood, supported by wooden beams resting on iron pillars.

Most of the windows are of iron, and the roof is also of iron, corrugated; in fact the only wooden portions of the buildings are the upper floors, a few of the doors, and the stairs leading to the upper storey. These are broad and substantial, and have apparently been made with the express view of permitting coolies to carry bales of goods up and down. In the centre of the buildings is a spacious, lofty court, which will no doubt be used for marking, checking and distributing purposes. Attached to the godowns is a house for the accommodation of the wharfinger. Altogether, the godowns are well adapted for the uses for which they were built, and are at the same time elegant and substantial; and should, in conjunction with the new wharf, greatly facilitate and help to extend the extensive business of the important firm to whom they belong. It is expected that the work will be wholly finished in a month or two. Messrs Bird and Palmer designed both the wharf and building and supervised their construction.

The opening date should be December, 1885. When the wharf was built, it reached far out into the sea and almost anticipated the 1890s reclamation already. 

Later it operated under the name The Hongkong and Kowloon Wharf and Godown Company, Limited, but nevertheless still controlled by Jardine Matheson.

The wharf was active until the early 1980s. On aerial photographs (see hkms2.0) it is still there in Feruary 1981, it's gone in May 1981. In this area the next phase of reclamation started soon afterwards.

Photos that show this place