Queen's Road, Hong Kong

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Queen's Road
皇后大道
QRCDuddell 1900.jpg
Queen's Road Central at the junction of Duddell Street, ca. 1900
Location Victoria, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong
Construction
Construction start 1841
Completion 1843
Queen's Road, Hong Kong
Eduard Hildebrandt Hongkong Queen's Road.jpg
A painting of Queen's Road Central in 1865
Chinese 皇后大道

Queen's Road is a collection of roads along the northern coast of Hong Kong Island, in Hong Kong, within the limit of Victoria City. It was the first road in Hong Kong, built by the British between 1841 and 1843,[1] spanning across Victoria City from Shek Tong Tsui to Wan Chai. At most points, it marks the original shoreline before land reclamation projects permanently extended the land into Victoria Harbour. It was built in 1841 by the British in order to create a wider road that connected Victoria Harbour and Wan Chai District together.

The four roads, from west to east, are: Queen's Road West (Chinese: 皇后大道西), Queen's Road Central (皇后大道中), Queensway (金鐘道), and Queen's Road East (皇后大道東).

History[edit]

The road was originally 4 miles (6.5 km) long. The Royal Engineers built the first section to Sai Ying Pun with the help of 300 coolies from Kowloon. It ran parallel to the beach where Sir Henry Pottinger set up his tent in 1842.[1] Originally named Main Street, it was officially renamed Queen's Road in March 1842, after Queen Victoria of the British Empire.[2][3] It was mistakenly translated into Chinese as 皇后, meaning "queen consort".

When Hong Kong was founded as a Crown Colony in 1842, Queen's Road was the hub of activity. Its development was haphazard, and its path winding as it made its way through the newly founded city including the Hong Kong Club for tai-pans. Between squatter huts, military encampments, and taverns, the first governors built their homes along Queen's Road. The first post office and Christian churches soon followed. New arrivals to Hong Kong as late as the second half of the 19th century were surprised at the condition of the road. Instead of a proper road, as could only be expected of one named for the Queen in the largest British outpost east of Singapore, travellers found a pocked dirt road prone to dust clouds and puddles of mud.[4]

In 1878 a Christmas fire broke out[5] destroying a large area of the slums. An eyewitness account was recorded by Constance Gordon-Cumming in the 1886 book Wanderings in China.[6] The fire raged for 17 hours burning down 400 houses covering 10 acres (40,000 m2) of area. It left thousands in the community homeless.[7] The devastated structures in ruin were reused for reclamation adjacent like the area around Bonham Strand.

Queen's Road has shrugged its past and is now home to some of Hong Kong's most expensive land and famous buildings.

Roads[edit]

Queen's Road West (with vehicles) at its intersection with Hill Road.
An old road sign of Queen's Road Central outside Central Market.
Queen's Road East Wan Chai Section. Hopewell Centre on the left.

Queen's Road West[edit]

Queen's Road West (皇后大道西) runs from Sheung Wan to Shek Tong Tsui beginning at the Possession Street junction.

Queen's Road Central[edit]

Queen's Road Central (皇后大道中) runs from Central to Sheung Wan. It was one of the first roads to be built when the crown colony was founded (Hollywood Road is another of the early roads). It was a major infrastructure of Queen's Town, later renamed the City of Victoria.

Queen's Road Central intersects with the similarly named, and thus easily confused, Queen Victoria Street, a short street that ends a few blocks near One IFC.

Queen's Road Central merges with Des Voeux Road Central to become Queensway at Garden Road.

From 1942 to 1945, the road was renamed Meiji-dori by the Japanese occupation government.

Queensway[edit]

A section of Queen's Road East in what is now Admiralty was re-routed and renamed as Queensway (金鐘道) in 1967. It merges with the Queen's Road Central and Des Voeux Road Central at its west end and connects with Hennessy Road and Queen's Road East to the east.

Queen's Road East[edit]

Queen's Road East (皇后大道東) runs between Wan Chai and Happy Valley. Queens Road East forks to the south from Queensway near Justice Drive, where Queensway turns into Hennessy Road. It runs along the old northern shoreline of Hong Kong Island.

In pop culture[edit]

Queen's Road is an icon of the British Crown colony of Hong Kong. In the transition period before sovereignty transfer, there were rumours that all streets and roads related colonial figures like Queen's Road would be renamed in honor of Chinese communists. Lo Ta-yu, a song writer, has written a song with Albert Leung titled 皇后大道東 (Queen's Road East), performed by Lo Ta-yu and Ram Cheung Chi Kwong (蔣志光) in 1991, to describe the change in this transition period.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Lim, Patricia Pui Huen (2002). Discovering Hong Kong's Cultural Heritage: Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Oxford University Press. p. 10. ISBN 9780195927238. 
  2. ^ Yanne, Andrew; Heller, Gillis (2009). Signs of a Colonial Era. Hong Kong University Press. p. 9. ISBN 9789622099449. 
  3. ^ CityLife: Queen's Road Central
  4. ^ Morris, Jan (1997). Hong Kong. Vintage Books. ISBN 9780679776482. 
  5. ^ Adam Nebbs (2010), The Great Fire of Hong Kong, Hong Kong: Bonham Media, ISBN 9789881778802, 9789881778802 
  6. ^ Constance Gordon-Cumming, Wanderings in China (1886), at archive.org
  7. ^ Wiltshire, Trea (republished & reduced 2003) [1987]. Old Hong Kong: 1860-1900 (Volume 1). Central, Hong Kong: FormAsia Books. p. 66. ISBN 9627283592. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 22°16′51″N 114°09′22″E / 22.2808°N 114.1560°E / 22.2808; 114.1560