Pedder Street

title=Pedder Street
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piccap2=Pedder Street in the 1870s
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Pedder Street is a major thoroughfare in the core of Hong Kong’s Central District. It runs south-north from Queen's Road Central, continues through Des Voeux Road Central, and ends at its intersection with Connaught Road Central.


The street was named after Lieutenant William Pedder, R.N., the First Lieutenant of the HEIC Nemesis [cite book|last = Welsh |first = Frank|title = A History of Hong Kong|publisher = Harper Collins Publishers|date = 1997|location = Great Britain|pages = 133] and the first Harbour Master of Hong Kong. Pedder Street was established as the centre of Victoria City's commerce in the early colonial days.

The premises of Hong Kong's two most powerful trading hongs at the time, Dent & Co. and Jardine, Matheson & Co. [Dent & Co. and Jardine, Matheson & Co. were portrayed by history as arch rivals at the time. cite book|last = Welsh |first = Frank|title = A History of Hong Kong| publisher = Harper Collins Publishers | date = 1997 | location = Great Britain| pages = 55-56] , were located on The Praya Central, Victoria City's original waterfront, on the opposite sides of Pedder Street. Dent & Co., one of the key founding members of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited [cite book|last = Collis |first = Maurice|title = Wayfoong| publisher = Faber and Faber Limited | date = 1965 | location = Great Britain| pages = 21-25 ] , had a huge sprawling complex which stretched along the Praya, and whose west wing abutted Pedder street, suffered financial collapse in 1866 [cite book|last = Welsh |first = Frank|title = A History of Hong Kong| publisher = Harper Collins Publishers | date = 1997 | location = Great Britain| pages = 235] . Its demise shook the commercial world in the Far East.

Originally, Pedder Street ran from Pedder's Hill, where the Harbour Master Office was established, south to north ending at Pedder's Wharf on the Praya. The street was extended north by 1904 when the Praya Reclamation Scheme [Reclamation work was initiated by Sir C.P. Chater in 1890.cite book|last = Ting |first = Joseph S.P.|coauthors = Wong Nai-kwan| title = City of Victoria| publisher = Urban Council of Hong Kong| date = September 1994 | location = Hong Kong| pages = 31| id = ISBN 962-7039-31-4 ] finished transforming the old Praya into the modern day Des Voeux Road, along with a stretch of land north to it up to Connaught Road on which the General Post Office and Union Building were built.

The new pier at the end of Pedder Street was named "Blake Pier" after the city's 13th Governor.

Historical buildings, from 19th Century

Pedder Wharf (1841 - 1890)

Served as the official wharf of the colonial establishment from 1841 to 1890s [ Feature: Buildings for Pedder Street since colonialisation] ,Sing Pao,October 29, 2005 zh icon] .

In February 1886, the first pile of the new Pedder's Wharf was driven in convert|38|ft|m from the praya wall. "Three similar piles have been towed over from Tsim Sha Tsui and are ready to be put in place". The new wharf, located at the junction of Pedder Street and Des Voeux Road, extended convert|195|ft|m out from the praya wall, and was convert|40|ft|m wide. Six sets of steps lead down to the water.

Pedder Wharf became land locked after the big reclamation scheme of 1890-1904, and was replaced by Blake Pier.

Dent & Co offices

The palatial offices of Dent & Co. occupied the site where Gloucester Tower, The Landmark stand today. It was originally constructed in 1850, and was redeveloped in 1864Trevor Bedford, Hong Kong Land, reported in "Meeting heritage challenge", South China Morning Post, 30-Nov-1978] .

Dent & Co. went into financial distress in 1866 and sold half of its land on Pedder Street to the newly established Hongkong Hotel Company. The hotel was duly built, and became Hong Kong's first deluxe hotel. The remaining part of the west wing was let out to other trading firms.

;Hong Kong Hotel (1866 - 1926)Hong Kong's first deluxe hotel, The Hong Kong Hotel, stood roughly on the site of the present Central building [The Hongkong Hotel Company later became the The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, owner of The Peninsula Hotels chain.] , from 1866. Previous to the Hotel, the west wing of Dent & Co.'s "princely" headquarters was located [cite book|last = Moss |first = Peter|title = Hong Kong - Another City Another Age| publisher = FormAsia Books Limited| date = 2002 | location = Hong Kong| pages = 63| id = ISBN 962-7283-46-0] . It was redeveloped into The Landmark in 1979.

Clock Tower (1862 - 1908)

, August 13, 1998]

The convert|80|ft|m tall clock tower with a lighted dial, designed by a Mr. Rawlings [ [ The Clock Tower, Hong Kong] Illustrations of China and Its People, John Thomson 1837-1921, (London,1873-1874)] , was to be funded by subscriptions, but the lack of public response meant that many of the more elaborate decorative features were jettisoned.. In the end, a donation was secured from Scotsman Douglas Lapraik, one of the most successful Tai-pans who founded the Hong Kong and Whampoa Dock Company, precursor of Hutchison Whampoa.

The clock tower was taken down when Pedder Street was widened in 1908. In 1915, one of the clock faces was integrated into the clock tower at the Kowloon-Canton Railway terminus in Tsim Sha Tsui.

GPO II (1846 - 1911), GPO III (1911 - 1976), Supreme Court (1846 - 1912)

. This land was auctioned in 1921, when it achieved a price of HK$50 per square foot. The resulting China Building (華人行) was completed in 1924.

Further reclamations had taken place in the meantime (ca.1900). The General Post Office was relocated in 1911 to new premises on the newly reclaimed (northern) section of Pedder Street where the wharf once was. It was a typical Edwardian municipal construction of granite and red brick, was situated there until 1976; the Supreme court was relocated in January 1912 to a new building constructed on reclaimed land, where it remained until 1985. As at 2007, that building is still standing, being used as the Legislative Council building.

To make way for Pedder Station of the MTR, the General Post Office was moved to Connaught Place. The old building was demolished in 1976, and World-Wide House was built in its place.

Pedder Building (1924 - )

Occupied the site next to the China Building since 1924. The basement suite of the building, now the home of Shanghai Tang, was occupied for most of the post-war period by the auctioneering firm Lammert Bros. which had been operating in Hong Kong since 1855.

Jardine House (1841 - 1970?)

The Wheelock House [The current headquarters of Wheelock and Company Limited, controlling shareholder of The Wharf (Holdings) Limited, a major conglomerate in Hong Kong.] stands today on the site which once stood two previous generations of Jardine House, the headquarters for Jardine, Matheson & Co. The first Jardine House was probably built around 1841 after Jardine's successful bid for its lots on The Praya Central. In 1908, the second Jardine House was built [cite book|last = Ting |first = Joseph S.P.|coauthors = Wong Nai-kwan| title = City of Victoria| publisher = Urban Council of Hong Kong| date = September 1994 | location = Hong Kong| pages = 13, 29| id = ISBN 962-7039-31-4 ] . It was rebuilt in around 1956, and reborn in the early 1970s as Wheelock House.

ee also

* History of Colonial Hong Kong (1800s - 1930s)


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