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Four historic buildings declared as monuments (with photos)

The Government today (November 12) announced that the Antiquities Authority declared the Tung Wah Museum at Kwong Wah Hospital in Yau Ma Tei, the Man Mo Temple Compound in Sheung Wan, the Tang Kwong U Ancestral Hall in Kam Tin, Yuen Long and the Kom Tong Hall in Central as monuments under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance. The notice of the declaration is gazetted today.

The Tung Wah Museum on Waterloo Road was originally the Main Hall of Kwong Wah Hospital. The founding of Kwong Wah Hospital was initiated by the directors of the Tung Wah Hospital and the community leaders of Kowloon. Opened in 1911, Kwong Wah Hospital was the first hospital founded in Kowloon and had been providing both Western and Chinese medical services to the community since then. In 1931, Tung Wah Hospital, Kwong Wah Hospital and Tung Wah Eastern Hospital were amalgamated into a single entity, “Tung Wah Group of Hospitals” (TWGHs). In 1970, the centenary year of TWGHs, the Main Hall of Kwong Wah Hospital was converted into the Tung Wah Museum for conserving the relics and the invaluable archives of the TWGHs. The Museum was subsequently open to the public in 1993.

The museum building is of Chinese Renaissance style characterised by a composition of Chinese and Western architectural features. Its Chinese style is clearly demonstrated by the setting of a Chinese ancestral hall and the decorations at the front elevation, whereas Western architectural elements are displayed through the bull’s eye windows and segmental arched windows on the sides and rear elevation, as well as the Western fanlights and Queen post trusses inside the museum.

The Man Mo Temple Compound on Hollywood Road was built approximately between 1847 and 1862 by wealthy Chinese merchants. The Temple has imperative historical and cultural values to the territory, representing the social organisation and religious practices of the Chinese community in old Hong Kong. The main hall of the Man Mo Temple was built for the worship of the God of Literature and the God of Marital Arts; the Lit Shing Kung adjacent to the main hall was built for the worship of all heavenly gods and Kung Sor was constructed as a meeting place for resolving matters related to the Chinese community in the area. The Temple was officially entrusted to the Tung Wah Hospital with the enactment of the Man Mo Temple Ordinance in 1908. Directors of TWGHs and community celebrities congregate in the Temple every year for the Autumn Sacrificial Rites to pay homage to the God of Literature and the God of Marital Arts as well as to pray for the prosperity of Hong Kong.

The magnificent Temple is a typical example of traditional Chinese vernacular architecture. It is exquisitely decorated with ceramic figurines, granite and wood carvings, plastered mouldings and murals, reflecting superb traditional craftsmanship.

Tang Kwong U Ancestral Hall in Shui Tau, Kam Tin, also known as Loi Shing Tong, was built by Tang Tseung-luk in the 40th year of Kangxi Reign (i.e. the year of 1701) of the Qing Dynasty. It was built to commemorate Tang Kwong-u, the 17th generation ancestor of the Tang clan. The Ancestral Hall underwent a large scale renovation in the 47th year of the Qianlong reign (i.e. the year of 1782) of the Qing Dynasty with donations from the clansmen. With the consent of the owners, a full restoration was carried out in 1995 by the Antiquities and Monuments Office. The scope of the full restoration included removal of recent additions and restoration of timber roof structure, plastered mouldings and timber carvings, bringing the ancestral hall to its original splendid condition.

The Ancestral Hall is a Qing vernacular building, having a two-hall-one-courtyard plan of three bays. There is a side chamber on each side of the open courtyard. The Ancestral Hall was constructed of green bricks with timber rafters, purlins and a clay tiled roof. The ridges, wall friezes and fascia boards are richly decorated with auspicious patterns and carvings.

Kom Tong Hall on Castle Road was built in 1914 as a private residence by Ho Kom-tong, a prominent businessman, as well as a well-known community leader and philanthropist. He was at the centre of the Chinese and Eurasian commercial communities at the beginning of the 20th century and one of the most influential figures of his time. The Government acquired Kom Tong Hall in 2004 for preservation of the invaluable built heritage and subsequently established the Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum there. The Museum has been open to the public since December 2006.

Kom Tong Hall was built in Edwardian classical style, featuring red brick walls, granite dressings around windows and doors, and ornate ironwork on balconies. The building is one of the first buildings in Hong Kong to have been built with a steel frame and concealed in-wall electrical wiring. Internally, the rich teakwood panelling abounds everywhere and the ceilings of the main rooms are ornately decorated with moulded plastered panels highlighted in gold leaf. Colourful stained glass windows in Art Nouveau patterns of the period are situated overlooking the main staircase and in other notable positions.

The four declared monuments are open for public visit. Free guided tours will be provided later for the public to enhance their understanding of the monument buildings and the related local history.

Information on the four monuments is available on the heritage conservation website of the Development Bureau (www.heritage.gov.hk).

Ends/Friday, November 12, 2010
Issued at HKT 18:30

Kom Tong Hall Man Mo Temple
Kom Tong Hall Man Mo Temple
Tang Kwong U Ancestral Hall Tung Wah Museum
Tang Kwong U Ancestral Hall Tung Wah Museum

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