The Kennedy Town Slaughterhouses – initial notes

HF: There were at least two slaughterhouses/abattoirs in Kennedy Town.

As always additional information, photos, maps, clarification and corrections would be appreciated.

I have highlighted specific questions in red.

This 1889 map of Kennedy Town shows a slaughter house, adjacent incinerator and a sheep and pig depot south of Forbes Street. Their total length was about 200 metres.  For the purposes of this article I will refer to this as the Smithfield slaughterhouse.

When did this slaughterhouse open?

There is also a cattle market east of Forbes Street and Smithfield (indicated by …field on the map) with Rock Hill Street to the north and Pokfield Path to the south.

Does this cattle market include the two large, shaded buildings immediately to the north?

Smithfield – presumably named after its London namesake?

Map 1889

Map 1889

On the 11th March 1901 the HK Legislative Council discussed and agreed to a payment of HKD2,020 for the construction of a “cattle crematorium as close to the Government cattle depots as possible” in Kennedy Town.

This detail of an image, thought to be from 1924, shows the Smithfield Slaughterhouses and Sheep & Pig Depot:

Kennedy Town slaughterhouse gwulo photo 1924


On 16th March 1949 Legco discussed replacing the Smithfield slaughterhouse with a new abattoir in Kennedy Town, which “which would make a start on construction possible during the year 1950-51.” Discussions about the proposed move and construction continued throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s. (see source 5 for details about these proposals)

Construction of the new Kennedy Town Abattoir began on 10th March 1966.

The relocation to the Kennedy Town Abattoir at Cadogan Street happened in 1968.(1)

But when did the Smithfield slaughterhouse actually stop functioning as an abattoir?

Despite calls to convert the original slaughterhouse site into a swimming pool, the government said in 1969 that the plan was not feasible until both the cattle depot and the former slaughterhouse complex (then occupied by the cattle depot as well) were released for redevelopment.

Legco Official Report of Proceedings 4th June 1969:

Kennedy Town slaughterhouse Legco 4.6.1969Kennedy Town slaughterhouse Legco 4.6.1969b

The cattle depot was “closed”  in 1986, when the government finally decided that it was to be removed. The land was subsequently developed into the Kennedy Town Swimming Pool (now itself demolished), Smithfield Market  and the Smithfield Municipal Services Building. (1)

Did the depot actually stop functioning as a site to keep cattle in 1986?

Legco Official Report of Proceedings 23rd April 1986:

Kennedy Town slaughterhouse Legco 23.4.86

Incidently, a more extended version of the 1889 map shown above was used to show the location of the 23rd July 1994 landslide and shows the northern end of Smithfield and the location of Cadogan Street.

Kennedy Town topographic map 1889

Kennedy Town abattoir 1.9.2007

Kennedy Town Abattoir 1st September 2007 Courtesy: Minghong

Kennedy Town abattoir being demolished 1.6.2008

Kennedy Town Abattoir being demolished 1st June 2008 Courtesy: Minghong

The demolition of the Kennedy Town Incinerator and Abattoir commenced on 28th September 2007 and was completed on 23rd April 2009. (3)


  4. information, photos and maps about Kennedy Town including its slaughterhouses and animal depots
  5. information about “Smithfield Cattle Depot (abattoir until 1961)

This article was first posted on 2nd February 2015.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. The Smithfield slaughterhouse, Kennedy Town – photos from 1894
  2. Australian cattle to Hong Kong – 1845 invitation, 1880s delivery?

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