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The near demolition of a forgotten century-old underground water reservoir in Shek Kip Mei, Sham Shui Po made headline news back in December 2020. With widespread calls for its preservation, it has now been designated as a Grade 1 historical building by the Antiquities Advisory Board. We have invited a panel of experts – Dr. Joseph Ting, Tymon Mellor and Fredo Cheung – to share insights on the cultural significance and the architectural pertinence of this reservoir and the pivotal role it played in the development of the Kowloon Peninsula.
Dr. Joseph Ting will begin with a talk about the historical and social context of HK around the early 1900s when the reservoir was built.
Tymon Mellor will recount the early history of Kowloon and its water supply, the politics and the technical problems to be overcome. The presentation will use archive maps, images and contemporary documents to show how the initial Kowloon water supply was planned and constructed covering the period of 1860 to 1910.
Fredo Cheung will provide an introduction to the Hong Kong built heritage grading system and assessment framework. He will also discuss some of the limitations of the current system and framework which the recent Bishop Hill incident had revealed and how these limitations can be addressed.
Dr. Joseph Ting majored in Chinese Literature and Chinese History from HKU and graduated with a BA degree in 1974. He was conferred an MPhil in 1979 and a PhD in 1989, both from HKU. Dr. Ting joined the HK Museum of Art as an Assistant Curator in 1979 and was appointed Chief Curator of the HK Museum of History in 1995. He retired in 2007 after serving for 28 years. He is currently an Honorary Assistant Professor in the School of Chinese at The University of Hong Kong, as well as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of History at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Tymon Mellor is a civil engineer who has been involved with the design and construction of many recent Hong Kong infrastructure projects. He has an interest in old maps and what they can tell us about the development of the Territory and its infrastructure. He created and runs the hkmaps.hk website, which now has nearly 100 historic maps of Hong Kong and Southern China. In his spare time, he researches articles for the Industrial History of Hong Kong website, publishing over 70 articles in the past eight years.
Fredo Cheung is the current Vice President of the Hong Kong Institute of Architectural Conservationists (HKICON). Prior to his career as a built heritage conservation professional, he practiced in architecture, working for Leigh & Orange Architects and Ronald Lu & Partners. He served as an adviser on the Buildings Department’s Technical Committee on Building Safety and Health Requirements for Historic Buildings Under the Buildings Ordinance and is frequently solicited by the Hong Kong media on issues related to heritage conservation in Hong Kong. He is also Lecturer in Architectural Conservation at The University of Hong Kong and a contributing author of the book Asian Revitalization: Adaptive Reuse in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Singapore published by HKU Press (2021).
This talk is presented by the HKU Museum Society with support from the following organisations: