1899 Public Works Report | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong
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1899 Public Works Report

A copy of the original document is available online at HKGRO. (You may need to click the link twice to see the document.)

Excerpts:

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WORK UNDER THE BUILDING ORDINANCE

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12. The principal building completed in the City was the very handsome block of Offices, now known as Queen's Buildings, on the Reclamation near Pedder's Wharf consisting of four floors and containing sixteen suites of Offices.
The handsome Offices of the United Telegraph Companies next the Hongkong Club were completed and occupied during the year, also a large block of buildings adjoining it on the East, next to Messrs. Butterfield & Swire's Offices.

13. Building of godowns and of Chinese houses on the new reclamation has proceeded rapidly.

14. A large number of handsome European houses were completed, or nearly so, in the new district lying between Kennedy Road and Bowen Road, where land was eagerly sought for this purpose. In spite of this the supply is not equal to the demand, and rents continue to rise.
One fine European residence was completed and occupied in Barker Road, and four more are in process of erection.

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Comments

5. The following is from the Report of the Acting Superintendent of Crown Lands :-

 

B. The Principal Item under extension is a grant of some streets at Hunghom to the Hong Kong and Whampoa Dock Company, who had become the owners of the adjoining houses and wished to add the whole to their establishment.

 

C. The “Short Leases &c.” are mostly comprised of grants to former holders of squatters licences. In the New Territory two marine Lots near Lantao Island were leased for the purposes of Coral fishing

 

In addition to the above, a free grant of land has been made in Tai Ping Shan (IL 1440) to the Director of the Tung Wa Hospital for an extension of that Institution, and a lot has also been granted at Sandy Bay (IL 1572) to the same body for the purposes of a mortuary. A small lot (IL 1565) at Wanchai was granted to the Military Authorities for the erection of a Slaughterhouse for the use of Sikhs

 

11. There was great activity in building operations throughout the colony during the year. The new and extensive premises and workshops of the Green Island Cement Company at Hok Un were completed, also the very large buildings of the Hong Kong Spinning, Weaving and Dyeing Company at Causeway Bay. The Dock Company’s premises at Hunghom were largely extended, a large match factory was also built near Hunghom, and numerous large blocks of tenement houses there, and at Yaumati.

Public Works Annually Recurrent

 

16. Maintenance of Buildings: - The chief item of expenditure incurred during the year on this vote was on Government House, which, having been very little used for some years, had fallen into a serious state of disrepair.

 

The sanitary arrangements had never been satisfactory and required a complete overhaul, including proper ventilation of the closets by carrying the soil pipes entirely outside the house and above the roof. New baths of a modern type were fitted in several of the bath rooms. An examination of the verandah roofs which had been patched and tinkered for years, revealed the fact that, owing to the ravages of white ants and dry rot, they were not only beyond repair but becoming unsafe. The entire roof was stripped, all rotten timbers removed, an enormous mass of double tiling got rid of, and an entirely new roof of stronger but lighter description fixed; such timber as was found to be still sound and good utilized. In many cases the floor joists were also found to be decayed, some important timbers being entirely destroyed and of the appearance of a sponge. In some cases steel rolled joists were substituted.

 

The ceilings throughout the  building were of the extremely unsuitable Chinese pattern used in Hongkong, an imitation of English lath and plaster work, but being badly executed and with inferior material, constantly giving trouble, and at times positively dangerous, when large masses give way owing to sudden changes in the state of the atmosphere or concussion. The Dining-room, Drawing-room and North Hall ceilings were removed and replaced by ceilings of teak wood of a handsome design, the former stained and varnished and the two latter painted white. All the ceilings in the house should he so altered as funds admit of the work being undertaken. Many minor repairs were effected throughout the building, the total expenditure on it amounting to $9,799.

 

17. The next work of importance was the re-roofing of No. 8 Police Station, and the reconstruction of the block; of cookhouses on the East side of it at an expenditure of $3,933.

 

19. The canvas ceiling of the main hall of Queen’s College, which was constantly requiring repairs was removed and replaced by at wooden ceiling.

 

22. Extensive repairs were also effected to the Gunpowder Depot at Stonecutters Island, the infectious Hospital and Lunatic Asylum.

 

23. The Government Villas at the Peak were thoroughly overhauled and put. in order

 

29. The following are the principal works sanctioned against this vote and carried out in 1899: -

 

-A public latrine of brick and stone masonry containing: 20 seats near Ship Street, in lieu of an old and dilapidated private latrine in the same locality now being removed.

-An iron latrine containing 6 seats erected at Leighton Hill.

-Alterations and improved fittings in the Post Office.

-A new drying room added to the out buildings at the Lower Hospital.

-A hot Water installation at the Gaol for the use of the prisoners.

 

A sum of $1,300 from this vote was expended in forming a very useful ten-foot wide road connecting the road through the Fo-pang Valley, generally known as the Yaumati Wells Road with the New Kowloon City Road. This road has immensely improved the communication between the East and West sides of British Kowloon Peninsula, has opened up and given access to the large village of Matau-Wei, and has proved a great boon to the numerous cyclists of the Colony.

 

The footpath leading from Victoria Gap to High West, and thence down by an easy gradient to the Pokfulam conduit and to Upper Richmond Road, was constructed. When this is opened into a road, it will certainly lead to the sale of many most desirable building sites in the neighbourhood of the High West Saddle, and afford an easy means of access to the Peak from the West side of the town. lt may he considered as the upper portion of the road new heing constructed from Glenealy, joining the Robinson Road with the conduit. There can he little doubt hut. that the salc of building sites that would follow would amply pay for the construction of the whole of this road, which would he about 3 miles in length.

 

The reconstruction of the timber portion of the Kowloon City Pier, which had become dangerous from the decay of the piles and timbers between high and low tide levels, was undertaken under this vote.

 

36. Public Works Extraordinary

 

(ii.) Public Works Department Store: - The various buildings comprised under this heading are being erected in the eastern section of Wanchai Store-yard. They consist of a large two storey building, a series of low sheds, roofed in and open along the front, and quarters for an overseer. The whole of the works are nearing completion.

(iii) Disinfector Station and Inspector’s Quarters: - The site for these buildings, which is immediately to the East of No. 8 Police Station, required a great deal done to it in the shape of levelling, constructing retaining walls, &c. This portion of the work is nearing completion and a commencement has been made with the foundations of the inspector's Quarters.

(iv.) Completion, of Macdonnell Road: - This work consisted of extending the road constructed in 1891, between Kennedy and Bowen Road, eastwards to form a junction with the former. The work has been completed and practically every available building site along the entire length of the road has been sold and building operations are in progress on all of them. In connection with this work, a convenient pathway has been constructed alongside one of the nullahs, between Macdonnell and Kennedy Roads.

(vi.) Washing Tanks at Tai Hang: - The bed of the Tai Hang Stream has for many years been used by the washer-men of the Colony as the principal place for carrying out their operations. Rough tanks were formed by removing the smaller boulders from any suitable spot in the stream bed and piling them round the sides, and as these tanks were dotted about on varying levels, it followed that the waste water from the upper ones found its way into the lower ones, which therefore never received a supply of clean water. Besides, a foul sediment accumulated in the bottom of the tanks as there was no proper provision made for drainage. This state of matters has been remedied by constructing a dam across the stream some distance below the Mint Dam and arranging a row of properly constructed washing tanks immediately below it. All washing above the dan has been prohibited and a supply of  clean water to the tanks has thus been ensured, each tank being supplied direct from the dam. The tanks, 20 in number, are built partly of stone and partly of brick, rendered with cement, and provision is made for the proper drainage of all of them, so that there should be no possibility of foul deposits occurring as formerly. The work, though of small extent, must be regarded as of some importance to the Colony from a sanitary point of view. The training of the stream below the tanks is a matter which should he undertaken in order to convey away the waste water and prevent the accumulation of filth which at present occurs among the boulders.

(viii) Taipingshan Improvements: - The only expenditure incurred under this heading was for the payment of a balance due on a contract completed in 1898 and for a little work done in surfacing a lane where buildings had been erected.

(xi) Governor's Peak Residence: - It was decided at a late period of the year that this work should be proceeded with and a contract was let for forming the site and approach road. Good progress has been made with the cutting away of the hill and the construction of the necessary retaining wall.

(xii.) Training Nullahs, Kennedy Road Sites: - The third of the branch Nullahs discharging  into Albany Nullah was trained between Bowen and Kennedy Roads to admit of laying out building sites, and with the same object, the Fourth branch Nullah was trained between Macdonnell and Kennedy Roads and covered over.

(Xiii.) Laying out Farm Lot 1 .&c Yaumati: - ln accordance with the terms of the agreement arrived at with the owners of this lot for its conversion into inland lots, the roads have been formed and the Nullah which formerly crossed the property in an irregular manner, has been diverted and trained in a masonry channel. It now remains for the owners to fill in the lots according to the agreement. When this has been done, the property will cease to be the insanitary nuisance it undoubtedly has been for many years past.

(xv.) Extension of Station Street, Kowloon.—Though a comparatively small work, the extension of Station Street is an important one as it forms a means of communication to Taikoktsui, which is rapidly becoming an important village, and other large villages beyond. It has also been adopted as the line for the new main road to Tai Po, which will be referred to later on. Tho work, which involved a heavy cutting, has been completed and an attempt is now being made to reduce to order the numerous hovels and enclosures forming the squatters holdings in Mongkoktsui village..

(xvi.) Temporary Bungalow at “The Cliffs”—Owing to the inadequacy of the accommodation provided by “ The Cliffs,” which was leased as a summer residence for his Excellency the Governor, a temporary wooden bungalow containing 4 rooms, bathrooms and verandahs was erected and connected by means of a covered way to the main building.

(xvii.) Lighting of Government House: - ln consequence of at decision to extend to the whole of the building the electric lighting system, which had hitherto been confined to the Ballroom wing, advantage was taken of the opportunity afforded by thc general repairs in progress to run the necessary wires. This portion of the work has been completed and all is in readiness for the erection of the fitting’s whenever they arrive from England.

(xviii) Pokfulam Conduit Road: - Owing to several sites for residences being sold above the level of the Robinson Road sites, it became necessary to construct a road giving access to them. A commencement has been made with the approach road up Glenealy Ravine, which is a troublesome piece of work involving some heavy cutting in close proximity to dwelling houses, through ground containing numerous large boulders.

(xix.) Water Supply Kowloon.—The inadequacy of the supply to meet the rapidly-growing wants of Kowloon caused some further works to be undertaken. The raising of the dam in No. 1 Valley, referred to in last year’s Report, was completed early in 1899, and has been of service in impounding an additional quantity of water. The consumption has, however, outgrown the sources of supply rendered available under the original water-works scheme, a scheme which, it may be pointed out, involved continual pumping. Upon the acquisition of the New Territory, an examination was made of the hills immediately to the north of the old boundary whore some streams were found near Cheung Sha Wan, capable of being intercepted at such an elevation as to admit of obtaining a gravitation supply from them. The necessary extension of the main and the construction of the dams and intake works are in progress. It is estimated that a yield of 100,000 gallons per day will be obtained from these works which is equal to an addition of 50% to the supply hitherto available.

 

A special report on the subject of works to be undertaken for the establishment of a gravitation scheme of sufficient extent to meet the present requirements of the entire district and to admit of extension when necessary has been prepared by Messrs GIBBS, Assistant Engineer, and laid before Government.

(xx.) City of Victoria and Hill District Waterworks: - The Wongneichong Reservoir was fully completed in the end of April and has formed a useful addition to the Waterworks of the City for the year under review, when the rainfall was considerably below the average. The  capacity of the reservoir is 30,337,000 gallons or, with the insertion of the sluice hoards provided for raising the overflow level, 33,994,000 gallons.

 

The construction of two new filter beds alongside the existing beds in the Western District of the City was undertaken and nearly completed. This will increase the number of beds to six, all of the same area.

 

A new motor and pumping main have been ordered from England, the former of which is to be erected at the Bowen Road filter beds to act as an auxiliary to the present motors for  pumping up the water supply for the Peak District. Arrangements are also being made for certain alterations in the Arbuthnot Road motor which will have the effect of doubling its pumping capacity.

(xxi) Gaol Extension: - The whole of the works contemplated under the scheme for Gaol Extension have been completed, with the exception of the erection of a new block of cells in the upper east yard and the roofing over of a portion of the unoccupied area of this yard, for both of which a contract was let before the close of the year. Numerous minor works were carried out during the year, largely by prison labour, materials being supplied by this Department. They included the provision of a hot water supply, the removal of the old drying apparatus and reconstruction of same with largo additions in a new building, the erection of a new washing sited, an addition to the work shed erected in 1899, and the taking down of B wing to make room for the new block of cells now in course of erection.

(xxiii) Water-works Miscellaneous: - The work extended under this heading included the construction of a meter house to enclose the meter fixed on the new 5” Peak supply main at a point above where house services are taken from it. The only other work worthy of notice was the laying oi a water main, partly 4" and partly 3” diameter, from Victoria Gap along Barker Road to join the main in the old Magazine Gap Road in order to provide for the supply of houses in course of erection on Barker Road. The iron tank, of 10,000 gallons capacity, which was removed from the Peak on the construction of the service reservoir there in 1897, was erected above Plantation Road for the purpose of regulating the pressure in the main referred to.

(xxv) Quarters for Gaol Staff: - A contract for the preparation of the site and construction of the buildings was let in April, 1899. Owing to the configuration and irregular shape of the site, the work of preparing it for building on, has been somewhat troublesome. It has however been practically completed and the foundations of some of the buildings have been put in.

(xxvi.) Swine Depot Kennedy Town: - The erection of the shed on the southern half of the lowest terrace at Kennedy Town was begun during the year und ltns been nearly completed. It has been divided off into pens by means of iron fences and provided with drinking troughs similarly to the sheds built on the other terraces. With the erection of this shed the last of the possible extensions on the present site has been completed. It is worthy of note that the scheme for the construction of these depots was only begun in 1890 and it was then considered that provision was being made For sufficient expansion to meet the Colony’s requirements for many years to come. It proves however that, after the lapse of only 10 years, it has been found necessary to exhaust the capabilities of the site by carrying out the last of the extensions for which provision was made.

 

Road Construction

 

37. During the year under review the Department may claim to have made satisfactory progress with new roads in Hongkong. The extension of Macdonnell Road to a junction with Kennedy Road was taken in hand on an estimate of $7,500 and completed at a cost of $6,992.03. It proved a diflicult road to construct owing to the deep cuttings through rather loose material full of boulders, the heavy embankment at one point and the very hard and unworkable rock cutting at the lower end. The number of building lots sold in consequence of the opening of this road and the access thereby afforded to the sites was three, the premium realized $16,617, and annual (frown Rent secured $856.00. It must therefore be classed among the paying public works.

38. Although a vote on account of “Black’s Link” appeared in the Estimates, it was decided that the work must be postponed, and only a small expenditure was incurred in keeping the rough path, which was made when the trace was being surveyed, open. Rough as it is, it is still a favourite walk with those requiring, either for business or pleasure. to visit Wongneichong Gap or Tytani from the Peak. It is to be hoped that the construction of a road so strongly urged by General BLACK will not be much longer delayed.

39. In the Report for 1898 reference was made to the projected road from the Upper Tram Station to High West and thence down to Upper Richmond Road. A vote of $1,000 enabled the Department to effect great improvements in this, as a footpath, strengthening the bamboo staging, and making rough masonry stream crossings, since which the road has been largely used. This road may be considered as forming part of a road to be constructed from Glenealy Ravine along the Pokfulam Conduit to the Victoria Battery and thence up to High West, having its upper terminus at the Upper Tram Station. A commencement has been made at the lower end, and it is expected the road from the Tram Station will also be shortly in hands. No more valuable road has ever been projected in the Colony for opening up new building sites, and it is certain that in a few years the prime cost of the road would be recovered over and over again in the sale of land.

40. The purchasers of two building lots on the South side of Mt. Gough are bound under the conditions of sale to construct a road from Plunkett Gap to their houses. This may eventually be carried round the East end of the hill to join the Plantation Road, and will probably open up a few more sites.

41. The most notable progress, however, has been on the mainland. At the commencement of the year but a small sum of money ($3,902)—a revered balance of former years—was available for the extension of Station Street North, Kowloon

The taking over of the New Territory in April made it almost imperative that a road should be constructed giving access to the interior direct from British Kowloon. An examination of the ranges to the North shewed the only practicable pass to be through the hills above Cheung Sha Wan, where a gap 450’ above sea level was found. Tracing down from this at the easy gradient of 1 in 20 a junction with Station Street North, continued straight across the tidal flat east of Tai Kok Tsui, was effected. Beyond the gap, the road still gradually rises to the summit level of 500 feet ; it then falls to a second gap which forms the divide between the waters of Mirs Bay and Hongkong Harbour. Several trial traces were run from here, and eventually a very satisfactory one was adopted on easy down grades of 1 in 10 and 1 in 30 until the rice fields of Tai Wai Village are reached. Close to this village a large stream requiring 90 to 100 feet of waterway has to be crossed and the trace then skirts the seashore for some miles, past the villages of Ha-wo-tsia, Fo-tan, Lok-Io-ha, turning again into the hills near Ma-quiu-shui where a gap only 320 feet above sea level has been found from which an easy trace to Tolo Harbour and Tai-po-hu can be laid down.

 

The first mile of the road is carried on an embankment averaging about 10 feet high across a tidal flat. The large stream which flowed into the top of this bay in numerous shallow branches, making the whole a brackish marsh, was diverted and carried in one channel down to the East end of the bay near Mongkoktsui and under a bridge of two 15 feet spans.

 

The second mile was through extremely difiicult ground necessitating heavy cuttings and buildings and much rock work. From the first gap the work was easy, but little rock being met with.

 

There can be no doubt as to the importance and value of this road, the distance from the Kowloon Wharves to Mirs Bay is 9 miles; about 2 miles further on a Pier in deep water at low tides can be made; Taipo will be reached in 16 miles, and the northern boundary of the Territory in about 25. The inhabitants of hitherto remote inaccessible villages, lying among the hills to the north of the harbour, are already freely using this road to reach the markets in British Kowloon.

42. At the eastern side of British Kowloon Peninsula another extremely useful road has been constructed from Hok-un to Kowloon City.

 

The old path was very circuitous, passing close to the sea shore in places, and again winding in and out between the hills with short lengths of steep gradients, and in the paddy fields dwindling to a mere track. The new road is very direct, the earth obtained from deep cuttings through the ridges being used to form straight enibankinents across the fields. Two rather large watercourses had to be crossed which has been done by bridges of iron and concrete platforms on solid stone abutments and piers. The road is carried along the sea front of Kowloon City and will form a considerable protection from the sea during easterly gales. For the present it runs about half a mile beyond the City, but should eventually be carried on to Saikung. The trace, on a good carriage road gradient, has been made for 5 miles to the Customs Gap.

 

43. A much needed connection, referred to also in para. 29 above, has been made at the trifling cost of $1,300 between the East and West sides of the peninsula by extending the “Wells” road from Yaumati to join the Kowloon City road near the C.M.S. Mission Church and the historical Hill of the Sung.

44. In para. 95 of the Report for 1898 the following remarks referring to the Victoria Jubilee Road were made :—

 

“It was hoped that the close of 1898 would have shewn good progress with the Victoria Jubilee Road. Plans and Estimates were ready in June, and by December fully six miles should have been well in hand, but delays, such as are apparently inseparable from all works projected in Hongkong, have blocked the way in this case, and the “first sod” is as yet unturned. The Public Works Department, having no end in view but the public good, feel much disappointed and disheartened at this apparently unnecessary delay.”

 

The deadlock continues and another year has passed without a start being made.

 

45. The drainage of Rural Building Lots at the Peak as hitherto carried out, namely in a similar manner to houses in the City, seems a mistake. A much more sensible and sanitary arrangement would be to treat each house separately, so that no tenant should be liable to suffer for the sins of others. A house joined on to a general system of drainage may he kept in a perfect state of cleanliness, all rubbish regularly buried or burned, drains kept clean and flushed, &e. and yet be poisoned with sewer gas from a house half a mile away. Filthy liquid in underground sewers escapes the purifying action of air and aerobic organisms; a broken pipe, unseen and therefore unsuspected, a blockage from any cause, may lead to the putrefaction of the contents of the sewer, and the return of poisonous gas to all the houses on the system. This is rendered impossible by adopting open surface drains. There is nothing to he got rid of daily from human habitations which cannot be wholesomely made use of for the benefit of mankind, no more perfect use for bath water and other household slops could he devised than to throw them broadcast on tennis or croquet lawns, or use them in the kitchen garden. to the latter all night soil should go direct, the earthworms, fungi and bacteria with which the “Living Earth” teems, will in a very short space of time remove or change all that is hurtful by humification and oxidation.

49. A large permanent Police Station was built at Tai-po containing 12 rooms besides kitchen and out-offices, with accommodation for 5 European and 32 Indian or Chinese Constables, the expenditure brought to account during the year being $7,650.

 

50. Two other permanent stations of a different design were nearly completed, one at Autau, an important position lying between Kam-tin-hu and Un Long and in sight of both, at the junction of the Pat-Heung and Shap-Pat-Heung valleys; the other at Pingshan commanding that important village and the valley lying between Castle Peak and Deep Bay.

 

51. These buildings have been well built, and are not expensive compared with similar work in Hongkong but the contractor professes to have lost money over them, and it has been found impossible to get any Hongkong contractors to undertake work in the New Territory at the same prices. The establishment of Police Stations in the Territory was distasteful to, and opposed by, the inhabitants, who at first threw every obstacle in the way of selecting suitable sites and, after this failed, rendered no help in the construction.

52. On the new roads, the inhabitants came out freely to work, and by the end of the year it was evident that a much better feeling towards the English prevailed, The Tai-po road passes through some good rice fields and vegetable gardens, little or no difficulty was experienced in settling terms of compensation with the owners, who seemed after a time to realize that the road had to be made, and would not be stopped, or its course altered for any ordinary obstacle. This remark also applies to the rather numerous graves on the hill sides, a little gentle persuasion always ended in the removal of the grave from the line of road to some new site.

 

53. The inhabitants generally seem to be pretty well off and the expectation that crowds of hungry villagers would flock to the works and be glad of' less wages than the Hongkong cooly usually receives, was not realized. Infact higher wages are demanded, and have been paid by the contractors.

 

54. The villagers are not slow to appreciate the advantages of a well traced road on easy gradients, and the old mountain paths through gaps in the ridge 800 to 1,000 feet high, seem to be less and less used.

 

The old path to Kowloon City from Hunghom is abandoned in favour of the new and direct road.

 

55. There is no doubt that nothing will tend so much to improve and develop the New Territory as good highways, the inhabitants will come more frequently to Hongkong, bringing their surplus produce for sale, and taking back with them goods which in former times seldom if ever reached the remote villages, as well as knowledge gained from their own observation of the effects of civilization and progress.

 

56. Wheel traffic will follow in due course and cattle will be bred and trained for the purpose.

57. In the Annual Report for 1897 the following remarks were made regarding ovcrcrowding and the extension of buildings:-

 

“If a large proportion of the working coolie population of Hongkong can find quarters, and inducements to live at the Kowloon side in well laid out, well drained, airy streets built as they are being built with modern ideas of sanitation and with the experience of the errors of the past before one’s eyes, instead of in the dangerously over-crowded rookeries of China Town in Victoria, the benefits to the majority of the population of the Colony will be great.”

 

58. This change has to some extent been taking place. The price of land in Yaumati and Mongkoktsui has trebled, huge blocks of tenement houses have been built, and became fully occupied immediately on completion, while the owners of steam launches plying across the harbour have been doing an enormous trade. Omitting the Star Ferry, 15 launches ply daily across the harbour, making an average of 18 trips each, or 270 trips in all in the day. The average number of passengers is said to be 45 or 12,150 per diem or 4.434,750 per annum.

 

 

The Secretary of the Star Ferry Co. states that his company carried 4,088,737 passengers during the year.

 

This may be causing some delay in the selling of Taipingshan resumed area, but is otherwise resulting in public advantage.

 

I quote below nearly the whole of Mr. J. F. BOULTON’S interesting Report on this work.

 

The new pier opposite the end of the extension of Pedder’s Street, for which on completion a new name should be found, is now being erected and will probably be completed in August. As stated in the Report for 1898, the designs were prepared by Messrs. COODE, SON & MATTHEWS, and the construction in England carefully supervised by that firm, Mr. Matthews taking a special personal interest in the work. lt is of massive design and great strength, and worthy of the great shipping port of Hongkong. Its cost will exceed £10,000.

 

The following is from Mr.Boulton’s Report :--

 

Section No 1 West: - Under Contract No. 49, CHAN A TONG, commenced, in April, 1898, to deposit the rubble foundations for the sca wall, and storm-water drains. Owing, however, to the exceptionally treacherous nature of the sea bottom at this place, and the limited plant at the command of the Department, the work has not yet been completed.

The rubble foundations had indeed been brought up to the required level by the end of 1898, but their ability to support the superstructure had not been proved by the application of a test-load. On 23rd February, 1899, a length of about 200 foot of foundations, which was in course of being loaded with concrete blocks to a maximum weight of 22 tons per foot run, subsided to a maximum depth of 15 feet. The blocks were afterwards lifted by the aid of Divers, and placed on another length of foundations, which in turn subsided. These  operations had to be repeated again and again. Altogether five subsidences took place, the  last happening on 12th November. 1899. On that date nearly the whole length of the sea wall foundations (733 feet) had been loaded twice, and bad subsided twice. A length of about 200 feet which has been loaded since that date has stood up well, and it would appear that tho rubble has at last reached a reliable bottom. The remainder of the foundations must now be again brought up to the proper level, and pass the final test, after which the work of setting the permanent blocks can be commenced.

 

On no other part of the reclamation have the rubble foundations subsided so extensively, and never before have they materially subsided twice in the same place.

Forty thousand six hundred and fifteen (40,615) cubic yards of earth were deposited during the year by Government Hopper Barges. The Barges were filled by Yau Kung Cheung, under Contract No. 52, which was commenced on 1st December, 1898, and completed on 29th July, 1899. Six thousand nine hundred and sixteen (6,916) cubic yards of earth from Inland Lot No. 795, were also deposited on this section, by agreement with Messrs. SHARP & CO (C.S.O. 2,416/1899).

 

Sections 1 East, 2 and 3:- Already completed.

 

Sections 4 and 5:- The work of completion was carried on during the year, principally by TSANG KENG, under Contract No. 51. 27 per cent. of his contract had been completed at the beginning of the year 1899, and 91 per cent. was completed by the end of it. A length of 1,240 feet of sea wall had been commenced when the year opened; the entire length of 2,275 foot was practically completed before the year closed. The other principal items of work performed by TSANG KENG during the year were, 870 lineal feet of storm-water drain constructed, and 116,400 cubic yards of earth filling deposited.

The Reclamation Staff finished levelling and test-loading the rubble foundation of the sea wall, and completed the block setting.

 

Section No 6 West: - Work on this section was commenced by TSANG KENG on lst May, under Contract No. 53. This contract includes everything necessary for the completion of the section except the concrete blockwork, and the water, sewerage, and lighting: installations. Up to the mouth of November work was confined to getting in the rubble foundations for the sea wall and storm-water drains, since which time the earth filling, and the diversion of storm-water drains, have been commenced. 78,000 cubic yards of rubble, or about 78 per cent. of the contract quantity, were deposited by the 31st of December.

 

Sections 6 East and 7 West: - The bulk of the work on those sections, namely, the demolition of the foundations for the Pedder Street Solid Piers, and the construction of the foundations of the abutment for the Iron Pier, was done by the Diving Staff. This tedious work was brought to a conclusion about the beginning of August.

 

With the exception of Pedder Street Pier, and a small portion of the sea wall and roadways adjoining it, CHAN YING CHEUNG completed Contract No. 43 early in the year, since which time the whole of the building area on these sections has been available to the Lot-Owners. During tbc latter half of the year he built the greater part of the superstructure of the abutment, or solid landing, to the iron Pier. Owing to his dilatoriness, however, it was found necessary to call in the aid of another contractor to carry the work to such a stage as to admit of the erection of the Iron Pier being proceeded with. In fact CHAN YING CHEUNG has taken full advantage of the abrogation of the time clause in his contract, due to the change in design of the Pedder Street Pier, to be as slow and troublesome as a Chinese contractor knows how.

 

The first shipment of ironwork for the Podder Street Pier was landed in October, and tenders were immediately invited for its erection. The contract was awarded to Messrs KINGHORN & MACDONALD, who commenced work on 1st December, and got into full swing with it by the end of the year.

 

Section No 7 East:- Already completed

 

Twenty-eight thousand four hundred and eighty-four (28,184) tons of mud and filth were lifted by tho Dredger, 4,370 tons of which were deposited in Section No. 1 West, and 21,114 tons sent out to sea.

 

General:- Fourteen lots of reclaimed land, having an aggregate aroa of 107,014 square feet, were taken possession of by the Crown Lessors during the year.

 

Seven temporary wharves were built out from the new sea wall, on Sections 3, 4 and 5, by Launch and Steamboat Owners principally to take the place of wharves abolished by the reclamation Works. The Tai On Steam-ship Company are new erecting a permanent timber wharf at the foot of Cleverly Street, and the Hongkong, Canton and Macao Steamboat Company are building an iron pier opposite Marine Lot No. 22.