Built with red bricks and granite, the Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower peaks at 44 metres and once dominated Victoria Harbour. It is now all that remains of the old Kowloon station on the waterfront.
Below is Victoria Terminus exactly 101 years ago, a few years after the line itself opened in 1910.
The plan for the terminus was finalised in 1904, but World War I delayed construction.
This photo below from 1916 depicts a steam engine, signal box, lower quadrant semaphore signals, wooden level crossing gates, wrought iron spear fencing and the station clock tower – a typical British railway scene in Hong Kong.
The photo on the left, below, shows an ex-British Army WD 2-8-0 77509, steam locomotive being delivered to Hong Kong in 1947. It was one of 12 exported to Hong Kong, two of which remained in service until 1962. The clock tower is visible in the background.
The terminus design was assigned to A. B. Hubback, due in part, to his experiences in designing Railway Terminus in the Straits Settlements, Malaya.
The Clock Tower reused the clock face from the demolished Pedder Street Clock Tower. Only one side had a clock and it was not until years later that clocks on the remaining three sides of the tower were installed.
Throughout much of the 20th century, the waterfront site remained a major transport hub – many arrivals had travelled overland from Britain via the Trans-siberian Express.
A preservation campaign was organised in the late 1970s, but even protests and a petition by the Heritage Society to the Queen failed to save the station building. Note the TST Post Office at the bottom right of the photo below.
The demolition was completed in 1977, though campaigners succeeded in preserving the Clock Tower.
The tower was declared a monument in 1990 and after 35 years – in 2010 – the bell was returned to the city. It is now kept at the railway depot in Ho Tung Lau.
The station was replaced with the Hong Kong Space Museum, Hong Kong Museum of Art and Hong Kong Cultural Centre. The top of the tower can still be reached by a wooden staircase located within. Although previously open to visitors – it is currently closed.