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When walking along Bonham Road, have you noticed the white school premises with a curved facade? Despite the simple silhouette, the aesthetic school premises are full of distinctive features. With 80 years of history, this pre-war building has all along been serving educational purposes. Having once been the premises of a post-secondary college, it is now home to the Bonham Road Government Primary School. In July 2021, the Government declared the school premises as a monument.School premises with 80 years of historyThe Bonham Road campus was built between 1940 and 1941 to serve as the premises of the Northcote Training College, the first full-time teacher training college in Hong Kong. During the Japanese occupation period, the college was closed and the site was used as the headquarters of the Japanese Military Police. In 1946, the Northcote Training College was reopened and moved to Sassoon Road in 1962. The Bonham Road campus was then used by the United College of The Chinese University of Hong Kong until the college's relocation to Sha Tin in 1971. Following the completion of its renovation in 1973, the Bonham Road campus was returned to the then renamed the Northcote College of Education (NCE). The NCE used the site as its sub-campus until its amalgamation into The Hong Kong Institute of Education and relocation to a new campus in Tai Po in 1997. This historic building has been home to Bonham Road Government Primary School since January 2000. Streamline Moderne buildingExecutive Secretary of the Antiquities and Monuments Office, Ms Siu Lai-kuen, Susanna, tells us that the campus’ main building is a three-storey concrete structure with a basement. Built in an E-shaped plan, it comprises a long centre portion and a wing on each end with a symmetrical layout. The main building is a typical example of Streamline Moderne architecture, characterised by curves and horizontal lines and functionality with minimal ornamentation. The most distinctive feature of the building is the central spiral staircase with a curved facade facing Bonham Road. The timber doors, timber/steel-framed windows with their ironmongery, cement tiles with terrazzo finishes, as well as timber floorboards inside the main building are examples of historic building elements, and are kept in very good condition. Main building’s basement once as air-raid sheltersThe Bonham Road campus has all along been serving educational purposes. At present, the trace of the name “Northcote Training College” could still be identified on the facade of the main entrance of the main building. It is also worth noting that two air-raid shelters, both with an airlock which could be used as a means of escape, were built in the basement during the construction of the main building. At present, the shelters are used as a library and an activity room. Air-raid shelters with this design are quite rare in the existing historic buildings in Hong Kong.School’s endeavour to promote heritage conservation To conserve Hong Kong’s historic buildings, apart from efforts of the Government, public participation is just as important. The Bonham Road Government Primary School endeavours to promote heritage conservation in the campus. Ms Man Lai-ying, the incumbent principal of the Bonham Road Government Primary School and alumnus of the NCE, says that the school has specifically incorporated elements about historic buildings into its school-based curriculum, so as to strengthen the students’ awareness of conservation. Yuen Yui-lai, Primary 6 graduate of the school, remarks that taking part in project learning has deepened his understanding of conserving historic buildings, as well as of the school’s history and architectural features. Endeavours to preserve campus artefactsMr Fung Yuen, former chairman of the NCE Past Students’ Association, introduces another artefact of the school. The Foucault Pendulum, named after the French physicist Jean Bernard Léon Foucault, he says, is an astronomical device installed during the construction of the school, to demonstrate the Earth’s rotation. The pendulum hangs from the ceiling at the spiral staircase. Apart from arousing students’ interest in physics, it also serves as a totem, one of the campus artefacts properly preserved by the school. Ms Man Lai-ying, the principal, says that the school has been teaching students to conserve heritage with care. Students would, for example, use fishing lines to hang notices or students’ works at those windows with historic value to avoid causing damage to the windows.Indeed, government resources alone are not enough for the conservation of historic buildings; just as vital is collaboration with stakeholders in society, such as owners of private historic buildings and the public at large, to enhance the awareness and emphasis of the whole community on conservation of historic buildings. (The video is in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)
Guided tours organised by Water Supplies Department (WSD) to Ex-Sham Shui Po Service Reservoir would be held starting from December 2021. Members of the public are welcome to make appointments through the "Ex-Sham Shui Po Service Reservoir" dedicated webpage of the Department. And WSD has already launched a virtual tour of the service reservoir.WSD has completed temporary strengthening and tidying of the service reservoir, including the installation of a skylight for the protection of the service reservoir from weather effects, as well as improvement works, such as provision of internal lighting, ventilation facilities, fire service installations, raised floor pathway, access facilities and ground level greening works, for the guided tours. Each guided tour would last about 90 minutes, covering aspects of internal and external design and architectural structures of the service reservoir, as well as the historical development of the fresh water supply system in Kowloon, etc., so as to enable members of the public to understand and appreciate the historic structure in person. >>>Make appointments through the "Ex-Sham Shui Po Service Reservoir" dedicated webpage >>>Virtual tour of the service reservoir *Having regard to the very positive public response to the guided tours, the Guided Tour to Ex-Sham Shui Po Service Reservoir would be resumed on May 16. Members of the public are welcome to make appointments through the "Ex-Sham Shui Po Service Reservoir" dedicated webpage. For individuals requiring assistance from WSD on the online booking or for any enquiries on this event, please contact the enquiry hotline 3751 6915. The operation hour of the enquiry hotline shall be 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day (except public holidays).
Public Records Office As a Hong Kong resident, you surely know a lot of interesting things about Hong Kong. For instance, you know all the best shopping centres and the nicest beaches. But here are a few interesting things you might not know. When did the first humans settle in Hong Kong? What are the origins of the Cheung Chau Bun Festival? Where did young people hang out in the 1960s? If you are interested in exploring the history of Hong Kong, you may start from the Public Records Office where you will find valuable historical records, photos, posters and maps, etc. about the city. Leisure and Cultural Services Department's (LCSD) museums Hong Kong may be tiny geographically, but its heritage is surprisingly rich. Many precious collections that form a composite picture of our local culture, history, art and science are preserved in the Leisure and Cultural Services Department's (LCSD) museums. Antiquities and monuments But some antiquities and monuments can still be found in their original locations from ancient times. Art Promotion Office The Visual Arts Centre managed by the Art Promotion Office of the LCSD provides studios and exhibition hall rental services and a wide range of activities to art lovers. Thematic exhibitions If you are the kind of person who thinks museums are boring, stuffy places that only grandparents enjoy, you are in for a surprise. Not all museums exhibit things from the past. Apart from permanent exhibitions, museums stage thematic exhibits that change periodically. For example, exhibitions about the genomic revolution, China's first manned space mission, decoding Chinese script, visual arts, and many more. Other non-government museums Some other non-government museums specialise in other subjects about Hong Kong, such as medical science development, maritime topics, the police force and horse racing etc. West Kowloon Cultural District When development of the West Kowloon Cultural District is completed, there will be even more arts and cultural facilities, exhibition venues and open space under the backdrop of the beautiful harbour. These might then become the hottest meeting spots for our young people in future.