Time will Tell...
Five Young Post junior reporters went on a whirlwind tour through time at 1881 Heritage in Tsim Sha Tsui last Saturday. The Sailing Through Time From 1881 exhibition was hosted by The Heritage Project. The project was founded by businessman and philanthropist Michael Kadoorie. It provides an audio, visual and documentary archive of the activities of the Kadoorie family and their businesses from the 19th century.
The reporters learned about Hong Kong's rapid development over the past 100 years from photos, presentations and oral history videos at the exhibition. Here, three reporters describe their experience.
The exhibition featured lots of valuable photos taken and maps used a century ago. Tramways only exist on Hong Kong Island now, but I discovered once there were also tramways in Kowloon. They were built around the wharf on Canton Road after the government’s 1897 Tramway Ordinance, and were only used for transporting cargo. The tram line ran across today’s Canton Road, Haiphong Road, Peking Road.
In the media room, the Heritage Project staff discussed with us the significance of creating and preserving ancient archives and records - history is important to society, since one can learn from the decisions and mistakes of the past, and predict outcomes and read implications. We can also gradually piece together events to create an identity. Without the archives, it would be difficult to remember how the past helped Hong Kong evolve into what it is today.
The staff of The Heritage Project explained each exhibit and it was a great way to learn about Hong Kong's history. I learned about the Kadoorie family and the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during the second world war. I also discovered that the 1881 Heritage building was a former Marine Police headquarters. What's more, I read an old book which offered valuable information on Hong Kong's past.
The Peninsula was our first major topic. During the Great Depression, the British held an industrial fair there similar to the World Fair in Chicago in 1893, but it only had British goods. At the time, Hong Kong was a British colony.
Many Jews went through Hong Kong to get to their desired destinations after the second world war. One time, The Peninsula housed 300 Jews who were stranded in the city after the Australian ship that was supposed to take them was used to ferry troops.
We also learned the Cross-Harbour Tunnel was first proposed in 1902 to ease traffic congestion but was not built until 1972.
1881 Heritage, a former Marine Police headquarters, is one of the most beautiful complexes I've ever seen. I've always loved hotels, and during my visit, I learned about the history of two of my favourite hotels: Sheraton and The Peninsula.
Before the Sheraton was built in 1973, the vacant land at the junction of Nathan Road and Salisbury Road was a prime trade-fair site.
The Peninsula had served as the headquarters for the Japanese military during its occupation of the city and as the British administration headquarters in the immediate post-war months.