location5 Edinburgh Place, Central, Hong Kong

Hong Kong City Hall once was the talk of the Town. When the old City Hall, which existed from 1869 to 1933 building in a magnificent renaissance style, was replaced by a group of buildings with clean lines and stark geometric forms, it not only aroused the city's curiosity, enhanced the stature of the architectural profession in Hong Kong, but also took on the role of popularizing arts activities, promotion of eastern and western cultures and expanding the parameters of community activities.

Hong Kong's first City Hall, built by public contributions in 1867, was formally inaugurated by the visiting Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh on November 2, 1869. The magnificent two-storeyed building, with European style colonnade and archways, contained a theatre, a library, a museum and a suite of assembly rooms. It became a cultural center for westerners and the upper class. In 1933, the City Hall was partly demolished to make way for the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank building. The rest was demolished in 1947 for the erection of the Bank of China building.

During post-war reconstruction, there was an imminent need for cultural stimulation. The idea of reviving the City Hall was nurtured. In 1950, three years after the demolition of the last remnant of the old City Hall, a committee was formed to consider the possibility of building a new arts venue for Hong Kong.

Designed by British architects Ron Phillips and Alan Fitch in 1956, the new City Hall complex was built in the late 1950s occupying an area of 11,000 square metres on the newly reclaimed seafront formed by two buildings and a memorial garden. Sir Robert Black, the Governor of Hong Kong at the time, laid the foundation stone for the Hong Kong City Hall on February 25, 1960 and declared the opening of this HK$20 million building on March 2, 1962.

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