Government House is the official residence of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and a venue for the reception of dignitaries and other important official and social functions. Completed in 1855, it served as the office and residence of the Governors of Hong Kong until the resumption of the exercise of sovereignty on 1 July 1997.
Construction of Government House started in 1851 and took four years to complete. An annex was added on the eastern side in 1889 to provide more space for social functions. During the Japanese Occupation (1941-1945), extensive conversion work was undertaken, including the construction of a dominant central tower. The interior was restored to its former Western style after the war in 1946, and a number of major renovations have been carried out since then. The public have been able to visit the gardens and parts of the mansion since 1968 when Government House launched its annual open day.
The whole exterior of Government House is plastered in a mixture of expressionistic and Art Deco styles, while the central tower and the roofs reflect the Japanese influence. With a harmonious blend of architectural features introduced over more than a century, Government House has great character and historic meanings, having borne witness to important periods in Hong Kong’s history.