Saturday, November 19, 2016

Les Tribulations d'un Chinois en Chine - Jean-Paul Belmondo (1965) - Hong Kong Cricket Club, Central

The large open concrete Chater Garden (if you can call something covered in concrete a "garden") was once the grassy pitch for the Hong Kong Cricket Club. For over a hundred years it operated as a sports ground (from 1851 until 1975) and I guess the French film makers caught it on film in the last few years of its existence before the Cricket Club moved to its current location up at Wong Nai Chung Gap. Call me old fashioned but I prefer the site of green grass to drab grey concrete any day of the week. Sadly it's the latter that prevails in HK these days.

The first photo shows the camera pointing almost directly west and we can see The Hongkong Hilton Hotel, the Peak, Bank of China/HSBC/Standard Chartered as well as the former LegCo building (originally the Law Courts and now returned to the legal world as the Court of Final Appeal). Interestingly, the building behind the Courts is what looks to be the 2nd generation Prince's Building under the final stages of construction. There looks to be scaffolding and catch nets installed around the exterior.

The next picture is looking NW and you can see a corner of the Mandarin Oriental at the extreme left as well as the cricket club's clubhouse below it (was it the club house or just a viewing pavilion?). You can also see the former Hong Kong Club building and City Hall poking up just behind it. The building with the metal spikes on the top (behind the scaffolding) is the former Cable and Wireless Building. The building in scaffolding looks to me to be the old Hong Kong Club annex that was actually in  the process of being demolished (Gwulo puts the demolition year as 1966, so that ties in nicely).

The next picture below shows a closer view of the buildings already mentioned but the final one below is a view looking NE and shows what I believe to be the Naval dockyard power station chimney.

Last, but not least is this brief shot over to the old Murray Barracks building. The new(er) Bank of China building now occupies that location and while the HK Govt likes to trumpet a heritage preservation success concerning how the old barrack building was carefully taken apart and then reassembled brick-by-brick in Stanley, the reality is something slightly less romantic.What really happened was that no one knew how to put the thing back together so they simply poured a huge concrete rectangle to serve as the centre of the building and then reattached the balconies like hanging baubles on a Christmas tree. HK-style heritage preservation indeed.

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