CLP: The construction of Hok Un power station 1921, Part One

Graham Wood has kindly sent me a copy of the souvenir brochure issued at the official opening of the Hok Un power station in 1921. This goes into considerable detail about the construction of the power station.

HF: I have retyped the original PDF version of the brochure sent by Graham and as it is a fairly lengthy document this will be the first in a series of articles. I will include all the images and script shown in the original brochure but am unable to reproduce its exact format.

Thanks to SCT for proofreading the retyped copy.

The brochure begins:

Souvenir brochure of the official opening of the Hok-un power station by his Excellency the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Hong Kong, Sir Geoffrey Alexander Stafford Northcote, K.C.M.G.


Hok Un PS Souvenir Brochure Image 1

No image caption, however I believe this is “His Excellency the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Hong Kong, Sir Geoffrey Alexander Stafford Northcote, K.C.M.G”

Hok Un PS Souvenir Brochure Image 2

Hon. Mr. M.K. Lo, Director

Hok Un PS Souvenir Brochure Image 3

Albert Raymond, Director

Hok Un PS Souvenir Brochure Image 4

S.E. Faber, A.F.C., M.Inst.C.E., M.Inst.Struct.E., Assoc.M.Am.Soc.C.E. Consulting Civil Engineer

Hok Un PS Souvenir Brochure Image 5

D.W. Munton, A.M.I.E.E., Chartered Electrical Engineer, Manager

Hok Un PS Souvenir Brochure Image 6

I.N. Murray, B.Sc., M.I.E.E., A.M.I.Mech.E., Chartered Electrical and Mechanical Engineer, Deputy Manager

Hok Un PS Souvenir Brochure Image 7

F.C. Clemo, F.Inst.F., Executive Engineer-Station Superintendent

Hok Un PS Souvenir Brochure Image 8

Old power station of the China Light & Power Co. Ltd


The China Light & Power Co. Ltd., was registered in Hong Kong on January 25th, 1901, with a capital of $300,000 and its activities covered taking over and operating a generating plant supplying electricity in the City of Canton. The demand was then 685 small power lamps and a large pump for fire extinguishing.

In 1909 the concession for the supply of electricity to Canton, together with the power station and equipment was sold to a Chinese company.

Meanwhile, the China Light & Power Co., Ltd., had started a new enterprise. The late Mr. R.G. Shewan, the “father” of the Company and for about 30 years its Chairman, envisioned a new city at Kowloon and in 1903 Kowloon’s first power station went into operation, with three small sets of engines and generators.

Lack of money was a serious difficulty and for many years no dividends were paid, all profits being expended on new plant and buildings.

In 1918 a complete reconstruction of the Company was carried out with a capital of $1,000,000. The Chatham Road site was exchanged with the Government for Kowloon Marine Lot 93 at Hok-un, and the power station then erected has continued to supply electricity to Kowloon. Further land has been purchased from time to time and the Company now own no less than 8 acres with an uninterrupted sea frontage of approximately one quarter of a mile.

As an annex to the 10-year-old station, the finest and most up-to-date power station in the East has been built, and the description is given later in this brochure. Since 1918 the history of the Company has been one of steady and almost uninterrupted progress and expansion. Nearly 150 miles of underground cable has been laid connecting important substations containing transformers with an aggregate capacity of about 31,000 K.V.A. A 22,000 volt overhead transmission line takes current over extremely hilly country through the New Territories, to the Hong Kong-Chinese border.

In order to finance the Company’s numerous extensions the capital has had to be periodically increased, in fact from 1918 to 1938 the paid-up capital was raised to $10,000,000. Dividends have been paid regularly. During 1938 the authorised capital was increased to $15,000,000.

Messrs. Shewan, Tomes & Co. were the original General Managers assisted by a Consulting Committee which in 1927 was reconstructed as a Board of Directors. In 1933, after prolonged arbitration the General Managers relinquished their office on payment of $2,000,000 compensation award. Since 1933 the Board of Directors have had sole charge of the Company.

The following striking comparison of 1913 and 1939 records indicate the remarkable development:


Staff –

European 2

Asiatic 4 Indians 52 Chinese

Area served – approx. 2 sq.miles

Consumers 670

Connected horse power 575 H.P.

Yearly output 500,000 units


Staff –

European 87

Asiatic 28 indians 761 Chinese

Area served – approx. 200 sq.miles

Consumers 28,848

Connected horse power 27,823 H.P.

Yearly output 53,300,000 units

It is interesting to record that before the completion of the first boiler in the new station an order for the second boiler was placed.  This second boiler will be fired by an ‘L’ Type stoker having a grate area of 756 sq.ft., and is therefore the largest travelling grate stoker in the world.


SITE The plant in the original station on Chatham Road consisted if four 100 kW British Westinghouse producer gas engines direct couple to 60 cycles, 2 phase, 2,200 volt generators.

in 1914 these were replaced by two 750kW British Thomson-Houston steam turbines generating at 2,200 volts, 3 phase, 60 cycles, with three Babcock & Wilcox boilers, each evaporating 9,000 lbs. per hour at 200 lbs. per sq. inch pressure.

In 1920 on the new site at Tai Wan, a station was erected with two 1,000 kW. Westinghouse sets and two Babcock & Wilcox boilers each evaporating 10,500 lbs. per hour. The 750 kW. sets and boilers were removed from the Chatham Road station and re-erected in the new station.

The year 1923 saw the installation of a 3,000 kW. British Thomson-Houston turbo-alternator and a further four Babcock & Wilcox boilers each of 20,000 lbs per hour capacity. In 1926 a Metropolitan-Vickers 5,000 kW. turbo-alternator was installed, and two kW. direct current Greenwood and Batley house sets to supply current for the operation of the solenoids of the remote control switchgear; also a 50 kW. Brush Motor Generator. The sets supply D.C. emergency lighting as well as solenoids.

The two 1,000 kW. Westinghouse turbo-alternators and three Babcock & Wilcox boilers, two of 10,500 lbs., one of 9,500 lbs., were sold, and two 5,000 kW. British Thomson-Houston turbo-alternators installed, generating current at 6,600 volts 50 cycles. At the same time Reyrolle remote control armourclad switchgear was installed and a 40,000 lbs. per hour Thompson boiler to replace the Babcock & Wilcox boilers.

During the change-over from 50 to 60 cycles, current was supplied to the 60 cycle area by means of two Brush frequency changers. In 1932 an additional Babcock & Wilcox boiler, 60,000 lbs. per hour evaporative capacity, was put into commission.

This article was first posted on 31st October 2021.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. CLP – Hok Un (Yuen) Power Station 1921-1991 – updated
  2. John M. Henderson, Engineering Company, Aberdeen, Scotland…link to Hok Un power station, Hong Kong
  3. Andrew Wood biography – involvement in the repair of Hok Un power station at the end of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong
  4. Hok Un Power Station, post World War Two images
  5. CLP’s Hok Un Power Station – immediately post World War Two
  6. Preece, Cardew and Rider – Consulting Engineers for Hok Un power station
  7. CLP’s Hok Un Power Station during the Japanese occupation
  8. CLP- Lawrence Kadoorie speech 1977 – HK + Hok Un Power Station during WW2
  9. Robert Gordon Shewan – CLP, Green Island Cement and HK Rope Manufacturing

One comment


    Can you save each page of the PDF as a separate JPEG file? Then the whole brochure can be displayed as a series of JPEGs.
    I may be able to help if you send me the PDF.

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