CLP – Hok Un (Yuen) Power Station 1921-1991 – updated

Additional information plus several images added. Special thanks to IDJ.

Contributors: Amelia Allsop, HF and IDJ.

Amelia kindly personally sent the two drawn images shown here and gave permission for other images to be used in this article. Amelia was, at that time, the Manager – Research and Business Communications, at the Hong Kong Heritage Project.

In 1903 China Light and Power built their first power station in Chatham Road, Kowloon. This site was later exchanged with the HK Government for Kowloon Marine Lot 93 at Hok Yuen between the Green Island Cement Works and Kowloon Docks. Construction of Hok Un (also spelt Yuen) Power Station began in 1919. This district was popular with Chinese migrants from Fujian Province, who were nicknamed “Hok Lo” and gave the district its name.

Since the new lot was positioned on the seafront, access to sea water for cooling and to boats bringing coal was direct and economical. The site was conveniently placed to serve the commercial-residential areas of Kowloon, the wharves on Canton Road and the industrial area of Hung Hom.

1919: Construction of Hok Un Power Station begins
1921: Power Station moves to Hok Un, installation of the first new boilers and turbines
1922: “…a power line and special substation were constructed to supply electricity for the building of the Shing Mun Dam – an undertaking which took nearly four years to complete. This was the first time in Hong Kong that electricity from a central power station [Hok Un] had been used on such a project. The usual procedure was for major constructions of this kind to provide their own generating equipment.”(1)
hok-un-power-station-hk-heritage-project-c1925-idj-1930s-1940s

Hok Un Power Station c1925 Courtesy: IDJ

1926: Supply of electricity to its first industrial customer: Hongkong & Whampoa Dockyard
hok-un-power-station-construction-1932-idj

Construction 1930s Courtesy: IDJ

1934: “In 1934 a committee consisting of directors and senior staff was formed to deal with the extensions proposed. It met regularly for the next several years and made many important decisions based quite often on the advice of Preece, Cardew and Rider. 
The tenders for the new plant numbered seven for turbines, and the committee took up the bid which as far as could be seen at the time, offered the highest engineering quality. A 12.5 MW machine was ordered from Metropolitan- Vickers Export Co. of Manchester. The corresponding boiler was a three-drum vertical type with a capacity of 120,000 lbs. per hour, and the contract for this was signed with International Combustion Ltd. of Derby.
The design of the necessary new buildings to house this and future equipment was by Mr S.E. Faber, and the principal civil contractors were Hong Kong Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd. Mr Faber had designed the power station in Shanghai and was well known to the Kadoories. (1)
1935: “…the Company, as a preparatory measure, had acquired in 1935 the roadway which had previously separated the power station site from the newly reclaimed area, so that the land now extended all the way from the Green Island Cement Company to the beach [Tai Wan] next to Kowloon Docks. This, it was felt, would be enough room for whatever plant was required for increased production in the foreseeable future. As part of the new extension a modern workshop and store were put up on the new reclamation. (1)
hok-un-power-station-1937-work-on-the-foundations-from-p125-power-the-story-of-china-light

1937 Work on the foundations Courtesy: Source 1

1938: Addition of a new plant at Hok Un
1940: Opening of Hok Un ‘A’ Power Station by Governor Sir Geoffrey Northcote
The opening of Hok Un 'A' Power Station, 1940

The opening of Hok Un ‘A’ Power Station, 1940 Courtesy: The HK Heritage Project

Edgar Laufer, China Light and Power employee from 1938 to 1980, on the opening of Hok Un ‘A’ Power Station: “The whole hall was practically empty, but it was filled by seats brought from the Peninsula for this ceremony.  And there were pink tickets and blue tickets – as a junior I only got a second class but it still meant taking part in a very pleasant affair.” (HKHP – oral histories)

1941: The Power Station is taken over by the Japanese. During the war it is damaged both by the Japanese and by allied bombing.
Hok Un Power Station's turbine in a state of disrepair following the end of the Japanese Occupation

Hok Un Power Station’s turbine in a state of disrepair following the end of the Japanese Occupation

1945:  A group from an RAF contingent were assigned to Hok Un Power Station and successfully managed to restore basic electricity supplies.
Hok Un Power Station 1947

Hok Un Power Station 1947 Courtesy: The HK Heritage Project

hok-un-power-station-at-rear-snipped-detail-1948-hunghom-beach

1948 Tai Wan beach – Hok Un power station in the background. Courtesy: HT Wong – Flikr

Hok Un Power Station 1947 Note HK & Whampoa's Dockyard's hammerhead carne in the background

Hok Un Power Station, c1950s. Seen in the middle of the photo is Tai Wan Beach. Below it are CLP’s general stores, coal and oil storage facilities and generation unit. At the top of the peninsula is the Hong Kong & Whampoa Dockyard Co. Ltd. (Kowloon Docks) with its famous hammerhead crane Courtesy: HK Heritage Project

1950 Hok Un ‘B’ Power Station begins operating

Hok Un Power Station 1950s?

‘A’ and ‘B’ Hok Un power station facia,  1950s?

hok-un-power-station-1955-idj

1955 “Commencement of Demolition and Site Preparation for the first stage of the New Power Station” Courtesy: IDJ

Proposed Flats at Hok Un Power Station 7.5.57

Proposed Flats at Hok Un Power Station 7.5.57

hok-un-power-b-station-extension-in-progress-early-1960s-idj

Hok Un ‘B’ Power Station extension in progress – early 1960s Courtesy: IDJ

1966: Inauguration of Hok Un ‘C’ Power Station by Sir S. Y. Chung, JP
hok-un-power-station-1982-hku-libraries-hk-memory-project

1982 Hok Un Power Station in the right hand corner. Tai Wan Shan Swimming Pool and Tai Wan Shan Park are in the centre. Courtesy: HKU Libraries

1991: Full decommissioning of Hok Un Power Station

hok-un-power-station-site-c1985-cleared-for-redevelopment-a-idj

Hok Un site cleared for the Laguna Verde redevelopment. Around 1995 Photo taken from a ferry – probably Kowloon City to Wanchai. IDJ

Laguna Verde is a private housing estate built by Cheung Kong consisting of 25 Residential Towers. The Head Office of China Light Power is located on the second and third floors of the estate’s shopping centre at 8 Laguna Verde Avenue.

laguna-verde-estate-image-2009-wikipedia

Laguna Verde 2009

This article was first posted on 27th October 2014.

Sources:

  1. Power: The story of China Light, Nigel Cameron, Oxford University Press, 1982

See: The Hong Kong Heritage Project (HKHP) was founded by Sir Michael Kadoorie in 2007 to preserve history and promote the appreciation of heritage in Hong Kong. HKHP holds a unique collection of archives originated from CLP, the Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels and other Kadoorie businesses and interests, which includes oral histories relating to Hong Kong’s wider social and economic development post-war.
HKHP seeks to share its archives with the public through community events, and encourages young people’s interest in exploring Hong Kong history through creative and innovative programmes.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. CLP – Hok Un Power Station during the Japanese occupation
  2. CLP’s Hok Un Power Station – immediately post World War Two
  3. CLP- Lawrence Kadoorie speech 1977 – HK + Hok Un Power Station during WW2
  4. CLP – Castle Peak ‘A’ and ‘B’ Power Station
  5. CLP – Black Point Power Station
  6. CLP – Fred Westphal – the American Oil Taipan from New Orleans who helped to power Hong Kong
  7. CLP A Century of Light – how power was brought to Kowloon and the New Territories
  8. Tai O Union Electric Company – bought by CLP in 1955
  9. CLP + HEC: Consumer Council call for break up of the Duopoly
  10. CLP – Town Island (伙頭墳洲) – Renewable Energy Supply Project
  11. Robert Gordon Shewan – CLP, Green Island Cement and HK Rope Manufacturing
  12. HK Heritage Project Newsletter, 2014/2, CLP and Hume Pipe Company
  13. The Shing Mun (Jubilee) Reservoir

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