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Old General Post Office, Central
Photograph: Courtesy Ko Tim-keung

Hong Kong’s lost buildings

The city’s most precious lost architectural gems

By Time Out Hong Kong
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For a city whose modern history begins only a little over 150 years ago, Hong Kong is home to an abundance of beautiful architecture. There are plenty of old buildings and structures that have stood the test of time, but not all of it has survived our city's pell-mell race into modernity. From Victorian private members' clubs to Hong Kong's old international airport, here are some of the marvellous structures we've lost along the way. 

RECOMMENDED: Luckily, there are still plenty of old buildings and structures that have stood the test of time in Hong Kong. For building's that are scheduled for demolition, check out this link and try to visit these buildings while you still can and find out what's replacing them. 

Hong Kong’s lost buildings

Old The Mountain Lodge
Old The Mountain Lodge
Photograph: Courtesy Ko Tim-keung

Mountain Lodge, The Peak (Demolished 1946)

Between 1867 and 1946, Mountain Lodge served as the summer retreat for the Governor of Hong Kong. There were two versions of the home – the first being demolished in 1868 after typhoon damage; the second, built in Renaissance style, was demolished just after the Second World War. Victoria Peak Garden now rests on the site.

Queen's_Building_1890s_(Hong_Kong)
Queen's_Building_1890s_(Hong_Kong)
Photograph: Courtesy CC/WikiCommons

Queen's Building, Central (Demolished 1963)

A late 19th-century neoclassical building built in 1899. The building housed various commercial offices for shipping, insurance, and trading corporations from Europe. Due to the increase in modern commercial development in the 60s, the building was demolished and replaced by Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong.  

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Old General Post Office, Central
Old General Post Office, Central
Photograph: Courtesy Ko Tim-keung

General Post Office, Central (Demolished 1976)

The General Post Office has had four different locations on Hong Kong Island since 1841. But its most iconic stood at the junction of Des Voeux Road and Pedder Street from 1911. Known as the ‘Old Lady of Pedder Street’, the Edwardian architecture, red bricks and granite made it stand out in Central. It was demolished to make way for the MTR station in 1976 and relocated to Connaught Place, where it stands today.

Kowloon-Canton Railway Terminus
Kowloon-Canton Railway Terminus
Photograph: Courtesy Hong Kong Library MMIS

Kowloon-Canton Railway Terminus, Tsim Sha Tsui (Demolished 1978)

Only the clock tower next to the Star Ferry remains of this landmark. The tower used to be accompanied by a giant station, which was completed in 1910 and served thousands of commuters every day. Despite huge amounts of preservation efforts – including a petition with 15,000 signatures sent to Queen Elizabeth II – the beautiful red brick and granite terminus was demolished in 1978.

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Old Hong Kong Club Building
Old Hong Kong Club Building
Photograph: Courtesy Heather Coulson/Hong Kong University Library

Hong Kong Club Building (Demolished 1981)

Before settling into its current, rather bland home, swank private members institution the Hong Kong Club occupied a grand Victorian structure on the same site in Statue Square. Built in 1897, this, the club’s second building, was designed by Palmer & Turner in ‘the Italian style’ but after some 80 years of use it was deemed too expensive to maintain.

Kowloon Walled City, 1987
Kowloon Walled City, 1987
Photograph: Greg Girard 'Kowloon Walled City Night View from SW Corner'/Courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery

Kowloon Walled City, Kowloon (Demolished 1994)

Druggies, gamblers and criminals all once congregated in this densely populated, practically lawless area in Kowloon. After a colourfully seedy history, though, plans for demolition were announced in 1987 and, following a hugely complicated eviction process, Kowloon Walled City was finally demolished in 1994, with a park and some preserved remnants located on the site today.

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Lai Yuen Amusement Park, Lai Chi Kok
Lai Yuen Amusement Park, Lai Chi Kok
Photograph: Courtesy CC/WikiCommons/ken93110

Lai Yuen Amusement Park, Lai Chi Kok (Demolished 1997)

Many Hongkongers spent the happiest days of their childhood at this theme park. Built in 1949, it was once the largest amusement park in Hong Kong. The buildings at Lai Yuen housed classic rides like the Ferris wheel, bumper cars and a carousel, as well as an ice rink and a snow garden during the winter. It closed its doors in 1997 after the land was allocated for public housing. 

Tiger Balm Garden, Tai Hang
Tiger Balm Garden, Tai Hang
Photograph: Courtesy CC/WikiCommons/Patrik Tschudin

Tiger Balm Garden, Tai Hang (Demolished 2004)

Another theme park. Costing a whopping $16 million to build back in 1950, the eight-acre Tiger Balm Garden featured the seven-storey Tiger Pagoda as well as beautiful sculptures. In 1998, the land was sold for redevelopment and the garden and its buildings were eventually demolished in 2004.

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Kai Tak airport
Kai Tak airport
Photograph: Courtesy Christian Hanuise

Kai Tak Airport, Kowloon Bay (Demolished 2004)

Ah, the low-flying planes, the loud roar of plane engines and, yes, the occasional shaking of apartment windows. Kai Tak was Hong Kong’s main airport up until 1998, when it was replaced by Chek Lap Kok, and finally met demolition in 2004.

Edinburgh Place Ferry Pier
Edinburgh Place Ferry Pier
Photograph: Courtesy CC/WikiCommons/Henry Li

Edinburgh Place Ferry Pier, Central (Demolished 2007)

This iconic pier was the main docking point for the Star Ferry and was a key transport hub, with pulled rickshaws being a common sight up until its closure. In 2006, the government’s desire to reclaim the land stirred up huge controversy. Despite protests, the iconic clock in the clocktower was removed first – a symbolic show of power.

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Queen’s Pier, Central
Queen’s Pier, Central
Photograph: Courtesy CC/WikiCommons/Henry Li

Queen’s Pier, Central (Demolished 2008)

Although, architecturally nothing special, this pier was an iconic part of Hong Kong’s history, serving as a main arrival and departure point for many ceremonial occasions. However, just after the Edinburgh Place Ferry Pier, it met the same fate despite fierce protests from conservationists. 

Ho Tung Gardens
Ho Tung Gardens
Photograph: Courtesy Hong Kong Development Bureau

Ho Tung Gardens, The Peak (Demolished 2013)

A spectacle of a building, Ho Tung Gardens was a villa built in 1927 by millionaire Robert Hotung. Spanning an impressive 120,000sq ft, this massive plot of land contained a two-storey main building, beautiful lush gardens and various elaborate pavilions. After a long legal battle regarding its heritage, demolition took place in October 2013.

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