The former Marine police headquarters rebirth in Hong Kong —— 1881Heritage


If you have seen the movie Jackie Chan’s “Project A”, you should remember that Hong Kong marine police rounded up bandits on the sea. Hong Kong Water Police has become one of maritime police force that are well equipped after one hundred years development. You must be curious about the place where so qualified a police force used to work. Please follow my footsteps into the former Marine police headquarters, we go and see all the changes taking place…..


we first come to 「1881」relics exhibition building, photos along the corridor tell us the history of the building……




1881 Heritage is so named because it built in 1881, the classic and luxurious appearance, from 1880 until 1996, the second world war aside, is the location of Marine Police Headquarters. The project is composed of five parts, include: former Marine police headquarters’s main building, former stables, former time ball tower, old Kowloon fire station and the dormitory.


At that point, we continue going straight(see the arrow in Figure), take the stairs, stairs, handrails, hand-written sign……allow us to fully feel the original characteristics of former Marine police headquarters. We come to the corridor on the second floor, parts of the corridor serve as exhibition space, there is now not just the work of contemporary artist but knowledge spread about art appreciation. And in another area of the corridor showcases any awards or honors「1881」has received in recent years.



Marine police headquarters left the building since 1996, its glory gradually weakened, most of the time it is surrounded by the high walls, passersby are not free to enter the building, people know so little about it. Until 2003, Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited got development rights of Marine police headquarters, they decided to revitalize the building, this is the first monuments revitalite and reuse project participated by a private enterprise. Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited cost over HK$1 billion, seeking a fusion of old and new buildings, recreating masterpieces of the buildings that are over 120 years old. Revitalized 「1881」 provide a comprehensive recreation facilities, including hotels, restaurants, open-air squares, shops and a relic-themed exhibition building.


Next we walk along the corridors of the exhibition building, we come to the audio-video room, here has the comfortable air conditioners, has free wireless access, it can provide a rest and communication place for the tired travellers. Combine「1881」sand table model, visitors can watch short film of healing process. This world-class outstanding team were invited to participate in 「1881」revitalite project, it took 6 years, the former Marine police headquarters in Hong Kong opened up to the tourists in a whole new image.


When the movie finished playing, we come to the terrace on the second floor, the view from the terrace is great, it has a wonderful view of the five buildings in「1881」.

The former Marine police headquarters’s predecessor, a opium ship called John Adams, was destroyed by fire in 1884, but fortunately no one was injured. Later, the formal British and Hong Kong Authorities decided to build Marine police headquarters building on the site of artillery ruins on higher ground. This is the combination of Victorian design and neoclassicism style, the only two story house increased to third floor in 1920, it started to make a magnificent turnaround and the heritage hotel was established in 2009.


The hotel has just 10 rooms, every room in this hotel takes on a completely different themes, in some rooms there is a century-old fireplaces left.






The beautiful high-arched ceilings, internal wood beams and a low-hanging valuable crystal chandelier create a romantic atmosphere. For bar, the former British bar room’s atmosphere is shaped, reminiscent of top police officers toasting happily or smoking cigars here after work in those days, it can reflect a strong British customs in Hong Kong.



Old trees conservation is an essential component of 「1881」overall design. During the ecologic rehabilitation, through rigorous evaluation, old trees suitable for reservation or transplantation were transported to the nursery, most of them were taken good care of, old trees were move back to the former address until the project was complete. To meet the old banyan tree conservation needs, the layout of「1881」’s Project Space and pen-air squares was planned for accordingly, the old banyan tree stood in pen-air squares is very attractive and impressive.


「1881」identified the longitude position of this point in the open-air squares by reference to meridian, location-based services for boats coming and going. The restorers have re-beautified the longitude line in the restored open-air squares and created a map of Hong Kong and so on, here has manifested strong seaport features.



In addition, the restorers also carried out several renewal project to facilitate touring or cooperate hotel operations. For example, the same type of Hotchkiss quick-firing cannon from other areas, it is located outdoors, it is allowed to be visited by tourists.


The former stable is coming into being, shaded by trees of the deepest green. When the Marine police headquarters was just built, they hadn’t introduced new motorized vehicles(automobile was introduced in Hong Kong in 1907), rickshaw and sedan chair is the major transport in Hong Kong at the time. So, the stable for the Marine police headquarters was used as shelters for the horses as a walking tool instead of walk for policemen. The stable is near the main building, the table&chair set up on the surrounding green lawn, very romantic, now it has become a fashionable steak house.



The building directly opposite the stable is Time Ball Tower built in 1884, also known as “Round House”, Time Ball Tower and Greenwich mean time are built in the same year, to shoulder the importance mission of sending the correct time to ships in the harbour. In those years, Time Ball Tower sited in here, because here has more than 200 degrees sea area visual field, Time Ball Tower allows hundreds of visiting ships per week to easily see it. Since people always took hour hand as the pointer in the past marine navigation, identifying the locations of the ships coming and going, time difference error of a minute would have led to shift the sea-route more than twenty kilometres, and even cause unexpected results, so the time service of Time Ball Tower is very important for merchant ship to and from Hong Kong at that time, Time Ball was transferred to Signal Hill in 1907, Time Ball Tower’s mission ended, entirely new Time Ball had a tradition of Time Ball descending everyday at 1: 00pm, now that situation can be found in「1881」.



Three gas lights near Time Ball Tower are reserved.


Standing on this platform, we may look over bustling Victoria Harbour and a view of the traffic on Salisbury Road.


Former Kowloon Fire Station and dormitory, also on Salisbury Road, one of the earliest fire station in Hong Kong, mainly red brick building, also known as red brick house. The restoration work of red brick building has completed, is like being born again.


In Tsim Sha Tsui area, only old buildings repair is not enough, of course, how to activate the project to much more utilization value is the most important consideration. After Yangtze river industrial group Co. got this project, reference to as much of the feature of main building as possible, the engineering staff designed the building new wing, and united old with new. Except main building was converted into a hotel, the newly added regions were built to be 20 stores, the participating merchants are all well-known brands around the world, this area echoes with Harbour City at a distance. It is worth mentioning that most of boutiques operate mainly in the form of flagship store, some of which are the brands especially for「1881」.



Today, the historic building hidden beneath skyscrapers is successfully activated and reused, it is shining more brilliantly, international travelers love the Elizabethan architecture, well-preserved cultural relic, shuttling back and forth the historical corridors, shopping, dinning and enjoying the comfortable service in these older buildings; the constant exhibitions provide a art appreciation place for the public, the classic and elegant building undoubtedly becomes a new landmark of Hong Kong’s cultural and leisure tourism.


yu ning

yu ning

Welcome to my blog.

I'm Yuning - I'm a back-packer. I'm passionate at Food, Travel, Photography. This blog is a place where I want to share my traveling experiences.

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