Old Supreme Court Building, Hong Kong
The Old Supreme Court Building Chinese: 舊最高法院大樓, also called the Legislative Council Building (立法會大樓/立法局大樓), was the home of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong from 1985 to 2011, and before that it housed the former Supreme Court. It is located in Central Hong Kong, along the eastern side of Statue Square, directly west of Chater Garden.
The Exterior of the Old Supreme Court is one of the declared monuments of Hong Kong.
The building was designed by Sir Aston Webb and Ingress Bell, the British architect responsible for the eastern façade of Buckingham Palace and the Cromwell Road frontage of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
It was built on reclaimed land, and opened on 15 January 1912. The two-storey granite building is neo-classical in style supported by Ionic columns. It is surmounted by a blind-folded statue of Justice, represented by the Themis, the Greek Goddess of Justice and Law. This statue is a replica of the one erected on the Old Bailey of London.
In 1978, this building was severely affected by the construction of MTR; therefore, it had to undergo some restoration afterwards.
The building became the Legislative Council Building in 1985, and the Supreme Court of Hong Kong was moved to the Supreme Court Building, Hong Kong and remained there until 1997. It is now renamed the High Court Building.
In 2011 the Legislative Council was moved to the Central Government Complex, Tamar, and the now vacant building will revert to a judicial function, housing the Court of Final Appeal from 2015 onwards.
Previous homes of the Legislative Council
Before 1985, the Legislative Council met at other locations:
- Former French Mission Building 1843–1846
- Caine Road 1846–1855
- Government House, Hong Kong 1855; used ballroom after 1891
- Old Central Government Offices 1930s until 1954
- Central Government Offices 1957–1985
The plan of the Building follows a rectangular pattern and is symmetrical. The Building occupies an area of around 2,660 sq m (about 70 m by 38 m) and is surrounded by columns. The height of the building, from street level to the highest point, which is in the form of a Tudor crown, is about 40 m.
A pediment surmounts the central section of the Building facing Statue Square. The pediment is topped by a Statue of Justice and under it is the inscription “Erected AD MDCCCCX” (Erected AD 1910).
The pediment incorporates a semi-circular window and the carving of the British Royal Coast of Arms is above it. The shield shows the various royal emblems of the various parts of the United Kingdom: the three lions of England in the first and fourth quarters, the lion of Scotland in the second and the harp of Ireland in the third. The shield is supported by the English lion and Scottish unicorn and is surmounted by the Royal crown. The motto of the Sovereign, Dieu et mon droit (God and my right), is displayed underneath it. The figures of Mercy and Truth are located on both sides of the British Royal Coat of Arms.
Inside the building
- Central and Western Heritage Trail
- List of buildings and structures in Hong Kong
- Central Government Complex, Tamar
- Macau Legislative Assembly Building and Leal Senado
- Legislative Council Complex
- Former Central Magistracy
- Picturesque Hong Kong: a handbook for travellers. Hong Kong: Tillotson & Sons. 1911.
- Legislative Council Website
- Legislative Council Secretariat: Information note IN26/02-03: The Legislative Council Building
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Central Government Offices - Main Wing
|Home of the
Legislative Council of Hong Kong
1985 – 30 June 1997
None - see Provisional Legislative Council
Shenzhen Guesthouse Hotel
|Home of the
Provisional Legislative Council of Hong Kong
2 July 1997 to 30 June 1998
Legislative Council Building as home to Legislative Council of Hong Kong SAR
None - refer to Provisional Legislative Council
|Home of the
Legislative Council of Hong Kong SAR
1 July 1998 to 2011
Legislative Council Complex