Inland Lot 1841 - part of Statue Square - owned by HSBC [????- ]
The lease summary shows:
Commencement of Lease Term: 20/11/1895
Name of Owner: THE HONG KONG AND SHANGHAI BANKING CORPORATION
And in 26/07/1965 there was a "sub-lease for the residue of the term less last 3 days from 22.214.171.1245" to "The Colonial Treasurer Incorporated"
We shall have to see the terms of the sublease to find out the story.
My thanks to David's 1924 map which showed me the lot number to trace.
Read the history here with lots more PHOTOS:
HSBC Statue Square
I remember being told by a friend - unsubstantiated of course - is that HSBC took the land over so they could preserve the view to the harbour for Fung Shui purposes. Same friend also told me there is an underwater tunnel leading to the basement of HSBC to faciltate the quick evacuation of the bank's reserves in case China ever got a bit too jittery. Take it with a big pinch of iodine salt.
I'll see if there is more in
I'll see if there is more in "ing, Frank H H, The History of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, 4 volumes (Cambridge University Press, 1987-91) "
Searchable on Google. Copies in many HK Public Libraries.
The Hongkong Bank in Late Imperial China 1864-1902: On an Even Keel
The Hongkong Bank in the Period of Imperialism and War, 1895-1918: Wayfoong, the Focus of Wealth
The Hongkong Bank between the Wars and the Bank Interned, 1919-1945: Return from Grandeur
The Hongkong Bank in the Period of Development and Nationalism, 1941-1984
HSBC & Statue Square
I've heard the Fung Shui story too, but never with any good sources. I did find a simpler explanation by Alain Le Pichon:
31. The Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank’s contribution to Statue Square had thus initially been unplanned and unforeseen, its building having been erected a good ten years before the reclamation of the land in front of it. Yet, the combined foresight of its manager, Sir Thomas Jackson, and of the governor of the day, Sir Henry Blake, saved the site immediately in front of the headquarters as an open site in perpetuity. This area of reclaimed land was made up to four buildable lots: two belonged to the bank to the west, and two were owned by the government to the east. These lots extended to the north as far as Queen Victoria’s monument. In 1901, the government struck a deal with the Bank. It was prepared to give a pledge never to build on these lots, so long as the Bank itself was happy to make a similar commitment. The Bank promptly agreed to the proposal and confirmed that “the site should remain an open space for all time”
Hadn't heard of the tunnel story before though. Now that would be an interesting addition to our collection of tunnels!
There are tunnels to the sea
There are tunnels to the sea for toilet flushing water. They have to be extended under the new reclamation.
There is a 7m diameter tunnel running to the harbour, to provide cooling water for the air-conditioners.
It replaces a sea-water tunnel for the 1935 bank.