Murray Battery [c.1841-1947] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Murray Battery [c.1841-1947]

Current condition: 
Demolished
Date Place completed: 
c.1841-01-01 (Year is approximate)
Date Place demolished: 
1947-01-01

Year completed: Approximate.

Condition at last visit: Demolished.

Date of last visit: Nov-2014.

Ref: ROB-00135

Other:

Timeline:

  • 1846: Map of Victoria HK. Handwritten amendment to Murray Bty: 9 guns to 6 guns.  (WO 78/479).
  • 1851: 6 guns, 1 Howitzer.  (WO 78/456).
  • 1854: 6 x 24 pdr, 3 x 10" mortars.  (WO 78/481).
  • 1871: Outline Plan. Positions for 5 guns and 4 mortar bases.  (WO 78/2362).
  • 1882: 1 gun pivot mount, 2 limited swivel, 2 sliding ramp, 4 mortar positions.  (WO 78/2813).
  • 1894: 1 x 64 pdr RML gun.  (CAB 11/57).
  • 1897: 1 x 64 pdr RML gun.  (CAB 11/57).
  • 1897: Map of Victoria HK shows a large part of the southern section of the Bty had been removed during the construction of Lower Albert Road.  (MPHH 1/412).
  • 1900: 1 x 64 pdr RML gun.  (CAB 11/57).
  • 1901: Not listed.
  • 1920: Site transferred to the Colonial Government.  (WO 78/6009).

For a background to these notes, and a glossary of terms used, please see: http://gwulo.com/node/24630

 

Additional notes from Annelise:

I'm going to declare that "The Battery" was the structure built to hold the cannon.  It is still shown on the 1924 map.  Un-used though it may have been, I'll use the construction of the West Wing as the demolition date.

Who knows, the Murray Battery may be underneath it all and not demolished at all.

 "Protected by the Murray battery at Hong-kong, Jardine's receiving ship, the Bomanjee Hormusjee, could dispense with the crew and armament it had formerly needed at Cumsingmoon and save almost $2,000 a month in salaries alone."

Photos that show this place

Comments

Hi Annelise, please could you let us know where the dates came from? Here's a different source that disagrees, the book 'The Guns & Gunners of Hong Kong':

[...] It was named after Sir George Murray who was Master General of The Ordnance from 1841 to 1846. [...] The Battery is refered to as being already in existence in 1854 (PRO WO 1/481 Page 221) and at that time has six 24 pounders. The battery was some 150 feet above the sea and the guns were sited some to command the town and others the anchorage. [...] In 1895 there was no Approved Armament but 1 x 64 pounder RML and 1 x 6.6 inch RML howitzer were there for drill and practice. The battery disappears from the Armament Lists after this date.

Various dates:

1841 - Streets: exploring Hong Kong Island - Page 22 by Jason Wordie

1845 - Museum of Costal Defence

1846  painting showing the "View from Murray Battery".

 

These from the UK's National Archive, courtesy of Rob, covering years 1844-1897:

WO 78 /435 Cantonment of Victoria  1844
Hand-drawn on parchment. Shows Murray Battery, Wellington Battery, North Barracks, Murray Barracks, The Major General's House, the Arsenal etc.
 
WO 78 /479  Plan of Victoria  1845-1846
Hand-drawn strip map of the north coastline of HK Island from East Point to West Point. Shows a battery at the position of Murray Battery, but not named as such, only as a "9 gun battery".
 
WO 78 /456  Cantonment of Victoria  1851.
Murray Battery shown.
 
WO 78 / 2362  Record Plans Murray Battery.  11th April 1877
Outline plan of Murray Battery. No details of weapons but gives positions for 5 guns and 4 mortars.
 
WO 78 / 2183  Plan of Murray Battery   17th July 1882
Plan shows a "pivot of old emplacement". Present configuration shows one gun on pivot mount, two on limited swivel mount, and two on slide mount. Also 4 mortar positions and an expense magazine.
 
WO 78 / 2118   Victoria  H K   Survey Map PWD  1897.
Very detailed map of all streets, buildings etc. Scale 60' to 1". Murray Battery marked.

according to the commissioned report of Government Hill, the earliest map they found that shows Murray Battery dates from 1845. A copy of Pottinger's map from 1842 (pg 72) doesn't show the battery (though it shows gov't hill barracks, later Murray Barracks), so we can guess the construction date was likely 1843 or 1844.


They then say: "Meanwhile, the Murray Battery to the south of Government House had, from 1882, only been used for drill purposes after it was not included as part of a new defence scheme for the harbour. For a time it still had five gun positions and four mortar platforms which are shown on a plan of 1882. However, by 1895 the Battery was not listed in the Armaments List and must have been decommissioned."

By 1890 the Surveyor General was describing the battery as disused.

It appears the battery was built over around 1947 by temporary PWD buildings before being ultimately destroyed by the construction of the West Wing in 1957.
http://www.amo.gov.hk/form/research_CGO_e.pdf

Set demolition date to 1947, following 80sKids' comments above.