This post is Inspired by Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton. For more interesting doors from all around the globe, check it out.
It’s fun to be a tourist in your own city. Hong Kong is a fascinating place, with a variety of interesting things to do and see. This past weekend, my family and I were out and about in Tsim Sha Tsui. For locals, this area is aptly called TST.
Hong Kong is made up of New Territories (the area closest to Mainland China), Kowloon (which is where TST is located), Hong Kong Island (the financial sector), and hundreds of outlying islands. My family and I live on the largest of the islands, Lantau.
TST in Kowloon is quite well-known as the main tourist area for people traveling to Hong Kong to enjoy local cuisine, shopping, historical landmarks, and so much more. It is known for its high-end retailers to side street vendors. This part of Hong Kong stays lit and active twenty-four hours a day.
Living in Hong Kong for many years, I never took the time to visit the famous 1881 Heritage historical site located in TST. It sits a block away from Victoria Harbor, at the end of Kowloon. I’ve walked or ridden past this area countless times, glancing in admiration, but not taking the time to stop and fully look around. So, I decided to do my next Thursday doors post on this intriguing spot.
This section of TST contains the former Hong Kong Marine Police Headquarters, the Stable Block, Kowloon Fire Station, and the Time Ball Tower.
The Hong Kong Marine Police Headquarters was built on a hill overlooking Victoria Harbor in the early 1880s. It is one of the oldest surviving governmental buildings in Hong Kong.
Inside the building are cells where pirates and smugglers were held. There are coops located on the grounds where pigeons were kept. In the very early days, these birds were used to send messages back and forth between the ships in the harbor and police headquarters. During the Japanese Occupation, from 1941-1945, the police headquarters became a base for the Japanese navy. Currently, the building has been restored for visitors.
The former Stable Block was originally built to house the horses that were used by the police force. It was later turned into garages when motor vehicles were introduced.
The former Kowloon Fire Station Accommodation Block was built in 1922, where up to thirty local firefighters at a time served.
It was decommissioned in 1971 and used to house marine police. Currently, the Fire Station and surrounding buildings on the compound have been turned into an upscale shopping area with a few small restaurants, a hotel, and an exhibition hall. This was done tastefully, keeping many of the original buildings.
The Ball Tower, originally called the Signal Tower, provided time signals to ships. As I find it difficult to explain the purpose of the tower, I am including the explanation I found in Discover Hong Kong (www.discoverhongkong.com):
“From 1885-1907, this tower provided a vital service to ships in Victoria Harbour. Many of these vessels had arrived in Hong Kong after long voyages, during which their chronometers would have lost accuracy. A one-minute error could result in a ship becoming lost, with dire consequences for the crew. The ball mounted on the pole in this tower was raised manually every morning and, with data provided by the Hong Kong Observatory, it was dropped at 1pm every day. The tower was in full view of the harbor and the dropping of the ball allowed ships to recalibrate their chronometers to an accuracy of one-tenth of a second, before they departed Hong Kong for other parts of the world.”
Arriving to look around this site, it was a treat to find that the Christmas decorations were still up. I love Christmas. I love doors. So, a Christmas door is the best!
Thank you for stopping by!