Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences

See Centennial Architecture in Hong Kong

Follow us on this unique tour and gain insights into Hong Kong's history through its centennial architecture.

Protests in Hong Kong have taken place in the city's historic areas such as Admiralty, Central and Western where the oldest buildings attest to the former British colony's past. Let's start from Hong Kong Park, where the city's oldest western-style building, Flagstaff House, is located. Constructed for Major General George Charles D'Aguilar in 1846, it served as the headquarter for the Commander of British Forces until 1978. Today, it's home to the quaint Museum of Tea Ware. Lined with milky white columns and shutters, it contrasts with the nearby skyscrapers of Bank of China, Citibank Plaza and Island Shangri-La Hotel.

We head uphill towards Upper Albert Road, less than one kilometre from Flagstaff House. A flight of majestic staircase and splendid garden lead us to Government House, where former British governors used to reside. The Georgian buildings were completed in 1855, and the central tower was added during the Japanese invasion in World War II. Today, it remains a vivid reminder of this dark chapter in local history. Government House used to offer sweeping views of Victoria Harbour, but with numerous land reclamations and skyscraper constructions over the years, it is now hidden by surrounding structures.

Our next stop is Hollywood Road, one of the colony's first developed streets. If you happen to go to a restaurant or bar in this popular area, stop by number 10 and see the massive Central Police Station Revitalization Project in progress. Closed to the public until 2016, the compound consists of 16 buildings – barracks, magistracy, prison, armoury and many more – constructed for the purpose of maintaining law and order during the tumultuous years between the 1860s and 1920s. Its imposing presence can still be felt today.

As we head towards Des Voeux Road Central, Western Market, a red brick edifice with a characteristically large archway entrance, stands out with its majestic Edwardian style. The structure you are seeing now is what remained of Hong Kong's oldest surviving market building, today a meeting place for traditional artists, craftsmen and tailors. On the roof, you will see four corner towers and their striped brickwork.

From here, we go all the way down Tung Street, past artsy Po Hing Fong to Caine Lane where Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences is located. This Edwardian building represents one of the most significant chapters in the city's history. It used to be the Bacteriological Institute, established in 1906 following the Black Plague, to develop medical services in the city. It served as a depot and laboratory until the 1950s. Today, the beautiful museum has preserved the original pediments, bays, pilasters and columns. Inside, a dark wood staircase angles up the two storeys where a sunny terrace offers a wonderful view on the second floor.

Flagstaff House
10 Cotton Tree Drive, Central
Tel. +852 2869 0690
Open weekdays 10.00 am – 6.00 p.m., weekends until 7.00 p.m. Closed Thursdays

Government House
Upper Albert Road, Central
Tel. +852 2878 3300

Western Market
323 Des Voeux Road Central, Sheung Wan
Tel. +852 6029 2675

Central Police Station Compound
10 Hollywood Road, Central
Re-opening 2016

Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences
2 Caine Lane, Mid-Levels, Hong Kong
Tel. +852 2549 5123
Open Tuesday to Saturday 10.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m., Sunday and public holidays 1.00 – 5.00 p.m. Closed Mondays