While the demolition of the Central Star Ferry Piers in 2006 sparked mass protests, the listing and subsequent delisting of Hotung Gardens as a AAB monument may have made headlines, and the URA redevelopment of Wedding Card Street has lead to a number of academic critiques, but what about some rare gems that have quietly been levelled over the same time period? Hong Kong was once filled with those Chinese/European influenced shophouses still common in Southeast Asia. With so few remaining, you’d expect there to be a campaign to preserve the remaining. Some of these have even been graded by the AAB, but unfortunately it provides no legal protection from demolition by its owners. Unfortunately current conservation policies don’t exactly provide much incentive to prevent the redevelopment of those small scale privately owned structures.
181-183 Pei Ho Street, Sham Shui Po
Built: 1920s, Demolished: 2009
450 Prince Edward Road, Kowloon City
Built: 1920s, Demolished: 2006
Located within walking distance of the old Kai Tak Airport terminal building, this was one of many banquet style Cantonese restaurants in the area that existed at the time (Sai Nam Restaurant – 西南酒家). When it closed in the 90s, the location was turned over to selling factory rejects.
196 Wellington Street, Sheung Wan
Built: 1910s, Demolished: 2009
Once one of the oldest residential buildings in the area, built in the typical shophouse style of the late 19th century. Currently being redeveloped by Nan Fung Development Limited.
118-122 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tin Hau
Built: Unknown, Demolished: 2006
Building appeared in relatively good condition when the before photos were taken. According to http://data.jmsc.hku.hk/hongkong/buildings/digests/Md200510e.txt.tail, the site is owned by Dynamic Chance Holdings Limited whom redeveloped it into a 30 story tower.
19 Hing Hon Road, Sai Ying Pun
Built: 1917, Demolished: 2010
Hing Hon road was originally developed between 1916-1917 with European influenced Chinese tenement buildings. No. 19 was a proposed Grade 3 heritage building when it was demolished. According to the AMO
Erected around 1917, No.19 Hing Hon Road (興漢道) is a typical Chinese tenement house with a European-style façade reflecting Western influence on architecture in Hong Kong during the colonial era. Not much seems to be known about its early history, but since 1951 it has been the property of a Ng (吳) family. The history of Hing Hon Road dates back to the 1860s when a large plot of land (I.L. 757) on a government lease of 999 years, on which Hing Hon Road stands, was purchased by a Chinese individual named Choy Akün on 7 January 1862. It is not unknown as to what was built on I.L. 757 immediately after the purchase, but evidently, Choy Akün was also the landlord of “Rose Villas” which used to be located at No. 66 Bonham Road (I.L. 760). Since its location is sandwiched between the Chinese quarter down the slopes and the wealthy Western quarter in its immediate neighbourhood, Hing Hon Road was a favourite residential area for well-to-do Chinese. A few prominent Chinese families once inhabited on this road. They include, for example, the Chaus (i.e., the ancestors of Chau Kai-bong (周啟邦) who is the son of Chau Sik-nin (周錫年, 1903－1985, prominent businessman and social leader) and the grandson of Chau Siu-ki (周少岐, acting Legislative Councillor in the years 1921, 1923 and 1924).
No.19 Hing Hon Road is a three-storey house in the Italianate Renaissance style. The street façade has three arched openings to the ground floor, three rectangular openings to the first floor, and three arched openings to the third floor. The openings are separated by simple Tuscan Order classical columns. The windows are wooden casements with ornamental ironwork grilles in Western and Chinese patterns. The main entrance door has a modern aluminium gate, but the old ironwork grille to the fanlight opening still survives. The façade is finished with a dull grey rendering possibly Shanghai plaster. Projecting band courses indicate the first and second floor levels. There is a simple projecting cornice at parapet level with a stepped ziggurat shape central pediment and matching corner posts. Access to the interior was not allowed, but a plan obtained from the Land registry shows a long narrow layout with a staircase at one side.
2 Hing Hon Road, Sai Ying Pun
Built: 1916, Demolished: 2014, listed as a Grade 2 heritage building
As with the above structure, it was developed by the same family and was a relatively good condition prior to its demolition last year. Unfortunately, it is nothing but a parking lot now. According to the AMO:
Erected around 1916, No. 2 Hing Hon Road (興漢道) is a typical Chinese tenement house with a European-style façade reflecting Western influence on architecture in Hong Kong during the colonial era.
No. 2 Hing Hon Road is a three-storey house in the Georgian Revival style. The street façade is faced with stucco grooved to imitate stonework. The ground floor has two arched window openings and a simple doorway with an architrave and segmental hood moulding resembling a pediment. The upper part of the façade has two rows of rectangular windows separated by giant pilasters. There are plain apron panels beneath the windows. A projecting band course marks the first floor level. There is a projecting cornice at parapet level with a parapet wall formed of projecting posts and recessed panels. A single rainwater downpipe serves to drain the roof. The façade is in good repair and well maintained.