Hong Kong holds many surprises beyond the ‘popular’ tourist attractions, if one keeps eyes and ears alert while walking around this vibrant ‘Asia’s World City’. While walking towards Clock Tower in Tsim ShaTsui, from MTR station, for sightseeing, I chanced upon a rather different looking ultra luxury Mall, which had a heritage feel to it. I made a mental note to come back to it while on the way back and this decision proved to be a good one, as I got to know about 1881
Heritage – Former Marine Police Headquarters of Hong Kong. Sharing here my visit to 1881 Heritage.
1881 Heritage is the official name of the Former Marine Police Headquarters Compound,now a declared monument since 1994 in Hong Kong. The 1881 Heritage group of buildings are one of the four oldest surviving government buildings in Hong Kong. The former Marine Police Headquarters was constructed in 1884 and comprises a main building, a stable block and a signal tower. It has been used by the Marine Police, except for the Japanese Occupation (1941–1945) when the compound was used as a base by the Japanese navy. The whole compound and the Old Kowloon Fire Station have been re-developed into a heritage hotel with food and beverage outlets and retail facilities in a project headed by architect Daniel Lin of A+T Design, opened in 2009.
For a traveller, it is an interesting place to not only relax, but learn about the interesting heritage of Hong Kong Marine Police. As a town planner by education, strolling around the compound was very exciting for m, as this was a case of a successful redevelopment of a heritage complex, conserving history in a unique way and not only that, making it profitable venture for the government (otherwise these buildings would either have to be demolished for new construction or left to rot & decay). There are ultra luxury brands retailing here and some of the finest restaurants, none of which I could afford to buy (or eat from)….but it was nevertheless nice to window shop.
One of the interesting structures here is the Time Ball Tower. From 1885 to 1907, this tower provided a vital service to ships in Victoria Harbour. As per Discover Hong Kong Website “ 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 harbour 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.”
1881 Heritage is easy to get around if one is going around to the iconic and popular ‘Clock Tower and Tsi Sha Tsui Promenade’ and my recommendation is to definitely take a stroll here also.
How to get there
If you are going to Clock Tower from MTR station then it is on the way – MTR Tsim Sha Tsui Station Exit E, walk towards Salisbury Road, turn right, take subway (pedestrian tunnel) next to YMCA to 1881 Heritage.