1939 Public Works Department report | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

1939 Public Works Department report

View the original online at HKGRO: http://sunzi.lib.hku.hk/hkgro/view/a1939/1094.pdf

Extracts below.





6.    Maintenance of Buildings:—Government buildings were kept in a good state of repair. Painting, colourwashing and repairs in accordance with the recurring programme were carried out to one hundred and eighteen buildings in Hong Kong, thirty-seven buildings in Kowloon, twelve buildings in New Kowloon and twenty buildings in the New Territories, in addition to such repairs to other buildings as were found to be necessary.

7.    Improvements to Buildings:—The principal improvements carried out in Hong Kong were:—No. 154 The Peak—heating installation in drying-room; No. 297 The Peak—conversion of a bath-room and dressing room to a bedroom and provision of a new bathroom; No. 6 Homestead Flats—installation of an additional water-closet; Government House—resurfacing and alterations to garden paths; Belilios Girls’ School—provision of screens to windows and water storage tank; Post Office Building—provision of additional partitions, shelves and storage racks; Central Fire Station Building—provision of partitions to form waiting rooms; Public Works Department Offices—provision of water storage tanks, partitions and storage racks; Central Police Station—conversion of a drying room to a bathroom and provision of rifle racks and shelves; Quarry Bay School—alterations to partitions; Electrical workshop, Arsenal Yard—installation of a patent ventilator. In Kowloon:—Hung Hom Electrical Workshop Quarters—enclosure of verandah with steel windows; Tsim Tsa Tsui Public Pier Latrine—improvements to internal walls and surfacing; Police Training School—provision of a larger garage; Yaumati Camber—provision of sliding gates to workshop; Central British School—provision of grilles to windows; Tsim Tsa Tsui Police Station— renovation of store room; Kowloon Junior School—improvements to basement for use as a drill hall. In New Kowloon:-—Lai Chi Kok Hospital—provision of shelving. In the New Territories:—Fanling Lodge—construction of new servant’s room; Island House, Taipo—mosquito screening to servants’ quarters; Lok Ma Chau Police Station—mosquito screening and improvements to drainage; Au Tau Police Station—mosquito screening.

8.    Maintenance of Lighthouses:—All lighthouses were maintained in a good state of repair. Painting, colourwashing and repairs in accordance with the recurring programme were carried out to all lighthouses.

9.    Typhoon and Rainstorm Damages:—The work carried out was as follows:—Colonial Cemetery—rebuilding of a portion of the boundary wall to Wongneichong Road; Government Quarters, Ventris Road—repairs following a small landslide; Kennedy Road Revolver Range—rebuilding of a retaining wall.


10.    Central Government Store:—This work was referred to in paragraph 103 of last year’s report. The scheme provides for a storage yard of about 160,000 square feet enclosed by a reinforced concrete wall. The building is of two storeys containing office accommodation and large warehouses and is constructed of a reinforced concrete frame carried on concrete piles with concrete floors and flat roof, brick panel walls and fitted with metal windows. A detached building of one storey is provided for the storage of oils. The contract was let to Messrs. Kin Lee & Co., on 26th April and the work was nearing completion by the end of the year. The Tung Tai Engineering Co., Ltd., were the contractors for the supply of the metal windows. Alterations to the adjoining building formerly the property of the Yacht Club were being carried out by Messrs. Tak Hing & Co., to provide a garage and quarters for the Asiatic staff.

11.    New Sub-Station, Wanchai Gap:—This item was referred to in paragraph 208 of last year’s report. The contract was let to Messrs. Sang Lee & Co., on 9th May and by the end of the year good progress had been made with the work.

— Q3 —

12.    New Government House:—Drawings were prepared for a house to be situated near Magazine Gap at a level of about 900 P.D. The site consists of an irregular spur which slopes steeply on three sides and commands a magnificent view. The precipitous nature of the ground restricted the area available for building and considerable difficulty was experienced in providing sufficient area for the accommodation required together with the ample approach and parking space necessary for a building of this nature. The plans provide for a building of three storeys containing a semi-basement, basement, ground and first floors. The semi-basement is approached by a separate entrance at the lower level for the delivery of all goods and contains offices for the custodian and clerks, kitchens, heating and air conditioning chambers, stores and an air raid shelter. Quarters for personal servants are also situated at this level. The ground floor is divided into three suites, the office suite, state suite and private suite each having separate entrances. The office suite contains offices for H.E. the Governor, the A.D.C., the Private Secretary, stenographers, waiting room and lavatory accommodation. The state suite is placed on the central axis and is entered from a wide portico. Cloak rooms are situated on each side of the entrance hall from which a wide flight of steps gives access to the inner and main stair hall. These two halls provide circulation for the reception room, dining room, ball room loggia and the large ball room from which ample egress is provided leading directly on to a spacious paved terrace overlooking the grounds and gardens. The private suite, which is self contained, is situated at the west end of the building and consists of a lounge and winter garden, a drawing room, dining room, library, writing room and one other additional room. A billiard room is situated between this suite and the state suite and has access from both. The principal rooms open out on to a wide verandah from which a broad flight of steps leads down to a grass terrace. Below this is situated an Italian garden to be laid out in formal manner with paths and flower beds and flanked on one side by a stone pergola which surmounts one of the retaining walls forming a feature of the landscape gardening. Beyond this are situated broad lawns, which, suitably terraced and planted with trees would merge into the surrounding hill side. The first floor is occupied by a private suite of bedrooms at the west end, a small suite of rooms for the A.D.C. at the east end and in the centre by guest rooms. The total number of bedrooms provided is eighteen and each has a bathroom opening from it also a large fitted clothes closet which would be air conditioned.

A contract amounting to $324,601.50 was let to Messrs. Tung Shan & Company on 17th August, which consisted of earth cutting, granite retaining walls and the foundations for the building with part of the basement, also timber framed hutments for the accommodation of the workmen to be erected at Morrison Hill. Owing to the outbreak of war in Europe it was decided on 8th September to cancel the contract and the huts which by that time had been completed, were taken over by Government to be used for other purposes.

13.    Ellis Kadoorie School—conversion of annexe into gymnasium:—The work, which was commenced in April and completed in August, consisted of the conversion of a building formerly used as an evening school and included the laying of a suitable wood floor, provision of gymnasium equipment and the formation of a changing room and lavatory.

14.    Vernacular Normal and Middle School—new latrines:—New lavatory accommodation and increased playground space was provided. The work was commenced in October and completed in December.

15. Queen Mary Hospital—additions and improvements:—This work consisted of the conversion of the food service rooms into additional ward kitchens, the fixing of grilles and bostwick gates to doors and windows, the provision of steel shelving, the fixing of special fittings to windows for blinds and the supply of notice boards. The work was carried out at different periods as circumstances permitted during the year. A car shelter was erected in brick and concrete adjoining the local medical staff quarters and an extension was made to the garage block of the nursing staff quarters. The contract was let to Messrs. Kin Lee & Company on 17th April and completed on 23rd June.

— Q 4 —

16.    Government Civil Hospital—alterations to “C” block for infant welfare centre:—Minor alterations, including the provision of various gas fittings and additional lavatory accommodation, were commenced in March and completed in June.

17. Western Market—reprovision south block:—The scheme provides for the removal of the old type of stalls and a revision of the layout with new stalls of concrete finished with terrazzo. There will be forty-nine fish stalls on the ground floor and fifty-two fruit and vegetable stalls on the first floor. General repairs including the renewal of drainage, surfacing to floors and yard, renewal of the roof covering and other necessary alterations will be undertaken. Owing to the pressure of other work it was only possible to complete the working drawings and details by the end of the year.

18.    New Garage, Quarters, etc., Kennedy Town:—This item was deferred but alternative sites were under consideration.

19.    Latrine, Electric Road:—It was decided to erect a small flush latrine in brick and concrete with accommodation for six males and four females. A contract was let to Messrs. Chung Lee Construction Company on 23rd October, and the work was nearing completion by the end of the year.

20.    Prisons—alterations:—At Hong Kong Prison, Stanley, a concrete post and wire mesh fence with gates was erected and other minor works were carried out to sub-divide the prison. A contract was let to Messrs. Yee Lee & Company on 5th April and the work was satisfactorily completed on 19th July. At Victoria Gaol, alterations were carried out to the top floor of the east wing, including the erection of a concrete stair to provide accommodation for the staff in connexion with the reopening of part of the gaol as a Remand Prison. The work was commenced in April and completed in August.

21.    Director’s House, Royal Observatory—enclosed verandah:—The erection of a verandah to the first floor in brick and concrete was commenced in March and completed in May.

22.    Mong Kok Market—(a) flush urinal, (b) store room and kitchen:— The erection of a kitchen, flush urinal and store-room on the roof of the market was commenced in November and completed in December.

23.    Ma Tau Kok Slaughter House—incinerator:—It was decided not to proceed with this item.

24.    Latrine, Nam Kok Road, Kowloon City:—It was decided that the latrine should be erected in Lung Kong Road. The site selected required filling to bring it up to the road level. Working drawings for a latrine with accommodation for thirty males and twenty females and caretaker’s quarters were under preparation at the end of the. year.

25. Tai Po Kau Forest Reserve—new plant house:—This item was deferred owing to the pressure of other work.

26.    Au Tau Police Station—garage:—A contract was let to Messrs. Kwok Voon & Co., on 26th September, and the work, which consisted of a brick and concrete building, was completed on 9th December.

27.    Un Long—public latrine:—This item was deferred owing to the pressure of other work but the question of an alternative site was under consideration.

28.    Herbarium and Library, Botanical and Forestry Office, Extension:—Minor alterations, including the provision of windows to enclose verandahs on the ground and first floors and the removal of a partition, were commenced in July and completed in November.


29.    Botanical and Forestry Office, Lai Chi Kok:—A contract was let to Messrs. Tung Shan & Company on 25th October and the work, which involved the construction of an office and lavatory in brick and concrete, was completed on 11th December.

30.    Bathing Shed at Kennedy Town for Government Schools:—A more suitable site was selected at North Point. Sketch plans were prepared and tenders obtained for a shed to provide changing accommodation for 120 pupils but it was decided not to proceed with the work.

31.    Tsan Yuk Hospital—additions:—This item, which was referred to in paragraph 201 of last year’s report, proceeded satisfactorily and was completed on 13th March.

32.    Kowloon Hospital, Nurses Quarters—grilles :—Wire mesh grilles to the openings of the ground floor verandah was commenced in May and completed in June.

33.    Incinerators to Police Stations :—Brick and concrete incinerators were erected at Taipo, Sheung Shui, Au Tau, Ping Shan, Sha Tau Kok, Ta Ku Ling and Lok Ma Chau Police Stations. The work was commenced in August and completed in October.

34. Tai Bo Clerks’ Quarters—mosquito proofing :—This item, which involved the provision of mosquito screens to the windows and doors of the quarters and outhouses, was commenced in April and completed in June.

35. Tai Po Land Bailiff’s Quarters—instal flush system:—A water closet with drainage and a small septic tank were constructed. Work was commenced in August and completed in October.

36.    Ping Shan Land Bailiff’s Quarters—instal flush system:—A water closet with drainage and a small septic tank were constructed. Work was commenced in August and completed in October.

37. Miscellaneous:—The principal items carried out under this head in Hong Kong were as follows:—Post Office Building—alterations to Medical Department offices including births and deaths registration office and strong room; Garden Road Car Park—erection of a brick and concrete shelter for chauffeurs; District Office, South, Queen’s Building—provision of bench and dock; Government House—provision of a terazzo bird bath; Peak Wireless Station—erection of anemograph; No. 556 The Peak—erection of a toe wall in the garden; Quarry Bay School—coloured cement surfacing to playground; Queen’s College—erection of a kitchen at the playground, Causeway Bay; Aplichau—erection of an incinerator; Upper Levels Police Station—alterations to wooden barrack huts and provision of new kitchen and bath-room. In Kowloon:—Kowloon Junior School—new fencing to playground; Tsim Tsa Tsui Police Station—repairs to paths. In new Kowloon:—Kai Tak Aerodrome—erection of anemograph; Lai Chi Kok Relief Hospital—provision of blinds to children’s ward. In the New Territories : —Sai Kung village—erection of an incinerator; Police Stations—provision of notice boards.
Works not Appearing in Estimates.

38. Forestry Store, Kennedy Road—flush latrine:—This work, which was referred to in paragraph 121 of last year’s report, was satisfactorily completed on 8th February.

39.    Conversion of Victoria Hospital into Quarters:—This item was reported as completed in paragraph 197 of last year’s report but it was considered necessary to carry out minor works consisting of planing floors and the provision of grilles to certain windows which were completed in March.

- Q 6 -

40.    Kennedy Town Hospital—disinfector:—This work was referred to in paragraph 199 of last year’s report. The erection of the building and the installation of the disinfector was completed in May.

41.    Refugee Camp, North Point:—The camp was reported as completed in paragraph 212 of last year’s report. Additional works of a minor nature were carried out and payment of the retention money was made.

42.    Conversion of Public Works Department Garages into Offices:—The contract for the demolition of the garage block of one storey and the erection of a building of two storeys in brick with a flat concrete roof to provide an additional 3,379 square feet of actual office accommodation was let to Messrs. Hoo Cheong & Co., on 14th April and the work was satisfactorily completed on 22nd August. The ground floor was occupied by Air Raid Precautions Department and the first floor by the Water Works Construction Office.

43.    Demolition of “A” Block and Servants’ Quarters, Government Civil Hospital:—The work was commenced on 20th May and completed on 23rd August. The contractors were Messrs. Tung Shan & Co., from whom a credit of $15,000 was received for the old materials.

44.    Conversion of Nursing Sisters’ Quarters, Government Civil Hospital to a Mental Hospital:—Extensive alterations to convert the east block into three self contained flats for the staff and the conversion of the adjoining block into a mental hospital for females, was commenced in March and completed in August. Alterations were also carried out at the mental hospital for males.

45.    Airing Court at Mental Hospital:—This work, which involved the erection of a wood fence, increasing the height of the existing wall, forming access with steps, the provision of a shelter in timber and garden seats to form a courtyard for the female patients was commenced in November and completed in December.

46.    Conversion of Superintendent’s Quarters, Government Civil Hospital into a Temporary Teachers’ Training Centre:—Alterations to the existing building to provide common rooms for men and women, lecture room, laboratory, handwork room, library and reading room, kitchen, offices and lavatories were commenced in June and completed in September.

47.    Erection of six Garages at Barker Road:—A contract for the erection of six brick and concrete garages, intended primarily to be rented by the occupants of the Government Quarters in Barker Road, was let to Messrs. Tak Hing & Co., on 22nd May and the work was completed on 2nd August.

48.    Dog Kennels, Kennedy Town:—Sketch plans and working drawings were prepared for a building in reinforced concrete containing forty dog pens but it was decided not to proceed with the work.

49.    Temporary Isolation Block, Kowloon Hospital:—This work was reported as completed in paragraph 216 of last year’s report. The final payment only was required to be made during the year.

50.    Refugee Camp, King’s Park:—This camp was reported as completed in paragraph 217 of last year’s report. Additional works of a minor nature were carried out and payment of the retention money was made.

51.    Refugee Camp, Ma Tau Chung:—This camp was reported as completed in paragraph 218 of last year’s report. Additional works of a minor nature were carried out and payment of the retention money was made.

— Q 7 —

52.    Hospital Huts for Refugee Camps at King’s Park, Ma Tau Chung and North Point:—The erection of a hut of timber construction with a concrete floor at each of the three camps, containing three wards for twelve children, four females and two males respectively, a consulting room for the medical officer, dispensary, store, lavatories and drainage, was commenced on 30th September and completed on 15th December. The contract was let to Messrs. Sang Lee & Company.

53.    Kowloon Hospital, Site Formation:—A contract for the cutting down, filling and levelling of the ground to form a site for a future extension to the existing hospital, and also to form a site immediately adjoining for the New Infectious Diseases Hospital was let to Messrs. Kwan On on 13th April and good progress was made by the end of the year.

54.    Prison Works:—

(a) Lai Chi Kok Female Prison—Improvements:— A contract for the construction of an additional storey to the dormitory block to accommodate 100 prisoners and additions to the reception block and staff quarters was let to Messrs. Lam Woo & Co., on 17th July and was satisfactorily completed on 24th November.

(b)    New Detention Camp:—Sketch plans were prepared and were under consideration at the end of the year.

(c)    Stanley Gaol—Septic Tank:—The contract for the construction of an additional septic tank with contingent work was let to Messrs. Tak Hing & Company on 29th August and completed on 17th November.

(d) Stanley Gaol—Isolation block for leper prisoners:—The work consisted of site formation and the erection of a one storey building in brick and concrete containing a dormitory, cell, wash house, cook house, guard room, latrines, watch tower and an exercise yard enclosed by a wire mesh fence. The contract was let to Messrs. Tak Hing & Co., on 16th October and good progress was made by the end of the year. The cutting for the site and approach road was carried out by prison labour.

55.    Camp for Chinese Interned Soldiers:—The site is at Argyle Street, Kowloon, and the work consisted of the erection of a hutment camp of timber construction with concrete floors, except the kitchen which has brick walls and a roof covering of asbestos sheets, together with water and fire services, drainage, channels, recreation ground and approach road. The camp is surrounded by a wire mesh fence with barbed wire entanglements and seven sentry watch towers are provided. There are eleven sleeping huts with accommodation in each for seventy two persons; one dining hut; one kitchen with store and office; one sanitary block containing latrines, ablution and wash house; one hospital hut with an office for the medical officer, three wards for eight, four and two persons respectively, dispensary, store and latrines; two huts for the outer and inner police guards with an office, quarters, mess room, kitchen, store and lavatories; a gate keeper’s hut; lock up; incinerator and refuse bunker. The contract was let to Messrs. Tung Shan & Company on 17th October and the work was satisfactorily completed on 15th December.

56.    Lai Chi Kok Cholera Hospital—flush system:—The provision of water closets and drainage system to all blocks was delayed owing to a cholera epidemic but was completed in December. The question of providing a sewage chlorination system was under consideration.

57.    Lai Chi Kok Hospital—mosquito screening:—The provision of mosquito screening to the windows and doors of the Relief Hospital was commenced in September and completed in November.


58.    Central Market:—This work, which was referred to in paragraph 234 of last year’s report, proceeded satisfactorily and was completed on 29th April.

- Q 8 -


59.    Waglan Lighthouse:—The building of a Diaphone house was carried out in conjunction with the Harbour Department who installed a new Diaphone fog signal. The work was commenced in July and completed in September.

60.    La Salle College, Kowloon:—This building was converted for use as an Enemy Aliens Internment Camp just prior to the outbreak of war. The work carried out included the erection of a perimeter barbed wire fence, sentry towers, lights, grilles, and gates.

61.    Hong Kong Prison, Stanley:—The erection of barbed wire fencing and the conversion of a store into a kitchen was carried out as it was then considered possible that a part of the prison would be temporarily used for internment purposes.

62.    Marina House, Queen’s Road:—In order to provide additional office accommodation for censors necessitated by the outbreak of war, the ground floor of this building was leased and the Government Assessment Office was transferred from the Post Office Building. The work carried out consisted of the erection of internal partitions, storage racks and artificial lighting.


63.    A revision was made to the layout at Kowloon Tsai. No other schemes or revisions of any importance were prepared during the year, development having been in accordance with the recommendations of the Town Planning Committee of 1922 or with amendments and additions previously reported.


172. Praya East Reclamation Scheme:—Improvements were put in hand comprising the re-alignment of Queen’s Road East and Hennessy Road at Arsenal Street Junction.



171. MacDonnel Road Bridge—Reconstruction:—This work was referred to in paragraph 115 of last year's report. Owing to alterations to the original proposal, an extension of contract time up to April 26th was granted on which date the contract was satisfactorily completed.