I remember back in the late 1960's and early 1970's or even the early 1980's the then Swire House used to be called the Union House (於仁行). I could not recall exactly when did it got changed to Swire House, but definitely NOT in the 1960's. Better consult Old Timer or Raymond on this.
Just before they tore down the old building and built the new Chater House, Hong Kong Land has a very nice and complete description of all the buildings on this site through time - with photos and some descriptions.
Thanks for the extra info. Annelise, I couldn't find that info on the HK Land site - if you know where it is, please could you leave a link? Also I remember some time back you gave a link to a government book online that lists all major buildings and their completion dates. I can't find that either - please could you let us know again?
I've put in estimates for the dates from these sources:
If you forget again, Google "Haystack Hilden site:gov.hk"
A standard useful link for all buildings would be to the Centadata website, where the occupancy permit date is listed.
I sent an email via the HKLand website this morning, and got this nice reply this evening.
"Thank you for your interest in Hongkong Land. Regret that we did not keep the physical display of previous buildings at Chater House but if you have time, please click onto the following link for the development of Central, Hongkong Land and our buildings in Central.
Re Chater House, buildings that have been on that site were:
1905 - 1958 : Three buildings on site, they were Mansions Building (Hotel Mansions, later renamed Union Building), King's Building and York Building
1958 : Work began in February on Phase One of the redevelopment of the site, involving the replacement of King's and York's Buildings to the east of the former Union House
1962 : Phase Two of the redevelopment of the site, involving demolition of Union Building, allowed the whole site to be redeveloped as one structure of 23 levels called Union House
1976 : The name Union House was changed to Swire House2002 : The name Swire House was changed to Chater House Yours sincerely,Shirley WooSenior ManagerCommunications
gosh that dates me then - would walk from the star ferry to the nearby 'connaught centre' and across the walkway to 'union house' to the jockey pub first right and do it all in about 5 mins!
Reading the China Mail 6 July 1960, a workman fell 19 stories from Union House on to Connaught Road that week, So when did they start building?
See comment above:
Just to add some confusion, this is a screen grab from the 1960/61 Hong Kong show starring Rod Taylor. Is that Union House in the background behind Queen's Building? If so, then that would mean there was a definite overlap in the existence of these two. The show was largely shot in 1960 but the tail end of the series apparently filmed in 1961. So I can't say for sure if this image was taken in 1960 or 1961, but either way it implies Union House was completed (but not open) before 1962.
Page 76 of Hongkong Land at 125 says:
King's and York Buildings were demolished first, and by August 1960 the first phase of Union House was completed. The old Union Building was demolished in early 1961 and the combined Union House (later renamed Swire House) was completed in 1962.
So the eastern section - seen in Phil's screen grab above - was finished in 1960.
This photo from c.1959 shows the first phase of Union House under construction, but the old Union Building still standing:
I note from a copy of a letter contained in a book called "The First Estates The Story of Fairview Park and Hong Lok Yuen with Documents" (Hong Kong University Press 2020) (at page 115) that as at 25 August 1976, the building was still called Union House. The building housed a solicitors firm called Woo & Woo at the time. For copyright reasons, I have not included a copy of that letter here.
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