To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the handover, Hollywood Road played host to a two-day street carnival over the weekend. Heritage Vogue: Hollywood Road showcased the rich culture and history of Hong Kong along the famous street, which was one of the first to be built in Hong Kong after it became a colony. As part of the event, a “Walk and Know Our Heritage” guided tour spotlighted a few of the most famous heritage sites along Hollywood Road. Here’s what we learned about the buildings that make up the living, breathing history of our city.
The dynamic Police Married Quarters (PMQ) was built in 1889 as the former Central Government School, the first government school in Hong Kong which provided Western education to the public, and famous alumni include Dr Sun Yat-sen. Despite suffering considerable damage during the second world war, the original foundation of the school still lies beneath the modern PMQ and is open for exhibition. In the 1940s during the Chinese Civil War, the PMQ acted as a dormitory for police officers working at the nearby Central police station.
After being redeveloped in 2000, PMQ now enjoys a second life as a creative hub for studios, shops and offices, nurturing local designers and providing a platform for artistic expression.
Tai Ping Shan Street
Tai Ping Shan Street runs parallel to Hollywood Road, and it overflows with Chinese culture. The street boasts more Chinese temples still in service than anywhere else in Hong Kong. Numerous cases of the plague in the city sparked the building of new temples, so that people could pray for good health. One such temple is the Pak Sing Temple, which was built in 1851 to house ancestral tablets of the deceased. The main temple area is above ground, and is currently under maintenance. Today, its traditional architecture sits side by side with contemporary art galleries, and both seem at home on Tai Ping Shan Street.
Tung Wah Hospital Hall
With disease still rife in the city during the 19th century and a lack of medical services, bodies began to pile up outside the temples on Tai Ping Shan Street, which only made hygiene worse.
In order to combat this, Governor Richard Graves MacDonnell agreed to have a Chinese hospital built, and the Tung Wah Hospital was founded in 1870 on Po Yan Street.
The land on which the building stands was once a cemetery – Po Yan Street itself used to be called Fan Mo Street, which translates as Cemetery Street.
The graves in the cemetery were moved to West Point and elsewhere in Hong Kong. The hall of the Tung Wah Hospital is usually closed to the public, and was only open for the heritage tour. The interior is traditionally decorated with tablets and signs featuring famous Chinese quotes.
Junior Reporter Miuccia Chan
Making the perfect HK-style milk tea - the silent witness to our city's East-meets-West history and cultural heritage
Kung Lee Sugar Cane Juice
At 60 Hollywood Road, you’ll find Kung Lee Sugar Cane Juice housed in a 1920s building. The shop itself has been open for more than 60 years, and the current owner, Mr Tsui, is a fourth generation member of his family to run it. He still grows his own sugar cane in Yuen Long, and even uses a 30-year-old steel roll press to squeeze out the sugar cane juice.
Wah Yan College Hong Kong
When Wah Yan College Hong Kong first opened, it had just four students. It was founded by Tsui Yan Sau Peter in 1919, and occupied only the third and fourth floor of the building at 60 Hollywood Road, which is now listed as a Grade II Historic Building. The school’s current campus on Queen’s Road East in Wan Chai opened in 1955.
Man Mo Temple
It’s unclear when this temple was built, as no records exist about it. The only indicator of its age is an inscription on a brass bell in the temple, dated “the 27th Year of Emperor Tao-kuang, Ching dynasty” which is 1847. The construction of the temple was funded by donations from Chinese merchants, and many relics within the temple bear their insignias. The temple has undergone several renovations to arrive at its present-day state, but it has kept its traditional decorations, which include ceramic figurines, granite and wood carvings and murals. Many locals still visit the temple to pray.
Junior Reporter Natasha Lau
The Former Central Police Station Compound
Where Hollywood Road meets Pottinger Street, there is a cluster of European-style buildings which makes up the Former Central Police Station Compound. Among these are the former Central police station, the former Central magistracy and Victoria Prison, all of which are declared monuments of the city.
The oldest structure was built in 1864. The first half of the 20th century saw an influx of refugees to Hong Kong from the mainland, which brought new challenges to maintaining law and order in the city, and the compound was continuously expanded. However, its importance declined after the second world war, when the new police headquarters was built in Wan Chai.
Kwong Fook I Tsz
Founded by local merchants in 1956 and commonly known as Pak Shing Temple, this temple houses the tablets of workers from the mainland who had come to Hong Kong.
It has been managed by the Board of Directors of Tung Wah Group of Hospitals since 1872. The main hall of the temple is dedicated to Ksitigarbha Buddha and Ji Gong Buddha, while the tablets are located in the rear hall.
Shing Wong Street
This street runs uphill between Central and Sheung Wan. Along its stone steps, you’ll find two former staff quarters of the Hong Kong Police Force built in the 1950s, as well as the old campus of Queen’s College. It is thought that a temple once stood there, too.
Shing Wong Street is now a mix of old and new, with both pre- and post-second world war buildings sitting side by side.
Junior Reporter Theresa Tsao