Proposed Peak Tramway extension to Queen’s Road – interviews with Colony’s leading residents

IDJ has sent the following newspaper article in. This adds further information to a couple of articles with have to lengthen the Peak Tram down to Queen’s Road in Hong Kong.

HF: I have retyped the article to aid clarity and searches. The images of the interviewees were not in the original article.

Thanks to SCT for proofreading the retyped version and to Yanni Baritakis for providing the clearer sketch plan below than I was able to achieve.

SKETCH PLAN AND ELEVATION OF PROPOSED PEAK TRAMWAY EXTENSION TO QUEEN”S ROAD

Proposed Peak Tramway Extension To Queen's Road Sketch From IDJ

Interviews with Colony’s Leading Residents

All Favour New Project

Twenty-five leading residents in the Colony have been interviewed in connection with the proposed Peak Tramway extension and all have expressed their favour of the project. Today six of the “Colony Elders” express their views. The remaining interviews will be published in the “China Mail,” which has opened its columns to correspondence on the subject, throughout the coming week.

Sir Thomas Southorn

Sir Thomas Southorn And Lady Southorn With A Group, Hong Kong, Photograph 1935

Sir Thomas Southorn and Lady Southorn with a group, Hong Kong, 1935 Courtesy: wellcomecollection.org

A representative of the Sunday Herald called upon the Colonial Secretary, Sir Thomas Southorn, not for the purpose of asking for an interview or an expression of opinion on the subject , which naturally could not be given in his official capacity but merely to give him a preliminary intimation that it is probable that the present agitation regarding the extension of the Peak Tramway will result in an appeal forwarded to the Government.

Sir Thomas was keenly interested in the news and read carefully the typewritten copies of interviews with various prominent persons.

It was evident that he would like to see the scheme carried out if it is found to be in any way possible and that the Government Authorities would give careful consideration to any practicable proposition for the benefit of the Colony, especially if there were indications that there was a widespread desire on the part of the residents for its accomplishment.

Sir Wm. Shenton

Sir William Shenton Image

Sir William Shenton Courtesy: npg.org.uk

When interviewed by the Sunday Herald, Sir William Shenton [who was an English solicitor who worked in Hong Kong] expressed his hearty approval of the scheme provided it could be carried out, which he said he doubted, and spoke of the various objections raised in the past when the matter had been brought up.

Sir William agreed that it would certainly be a very great convenience and a distinct improvement if the line could be extended to the corner of Queen’s Road and Garden Road, making it so much more accessible, not only to residents of the Colony but to tourists, wo have great difficulty in finding the Lower Station, or who are discouraged when they learn that it is such a climb to get up to it and consequently, do not go up on the Peak Tram.

Sir William spoke of the suggestion made some years ago of bringing the tram down to Ice House Street, and said this proposition should now be reconsidered in view of the proposed changes in connection with the new Government buildings layout.

Mr. V.M. Grayburn

Vandeleur Molyneux Grayburn

V.M. Grayburn Courtesy: Wikipedia

Mr. V.M. Grayburn, Chief Manager of the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation, told the Sunday Herald that he was of exactly the same opinion as the other gentlemen already interviewed, as to the desirability of bringing the Peak Tram down to Queen’s Road. Mr. Grayburn said it would undoubtedly be a great advantage in every way and a real boon to the Colony.

Mr. R.M. Henderson 

Although like the Colonial Secretary, the Director of the Public Works Department, Mr. R.M. Henderson, could express no official opinion, he readily answered the question suggested by Sir William Shenton’s interview, as to the possibility of bringing the Peak Tram down to the corner of Ice House Street, in connection with the proposed changes in Government buildings in that vicinity.

Mr. Henderson told the Sunday Herald that he did not think it would be at all feasible either to bring the Peak Tram down through a tunnel or overland to Ice House Street corner.

He agreed that it would be a much simpler and more practicable plan to bring it down Garden Road to Queen’s Road, as is now being urged.

Mr. Henderson said the Peak Tramways Company and the general public could be assured that any suggestion that came before the P.W.D. for consideration would be most sympathetically received. He felt that the Military authorities both here and in London would certainly give careful consideration to any appeal coming from a large proportion of the citizens of the Colony and that such an appeal would not be refused unless there were valid reasons for rejecting it.

The Hon. Sir Shouson Chow

Sir Shouson Chow

Sir Shouson Chow smilingly replied to the enquiry by a representative of the Sunday Herald as to his opinion in regard to the desirability of extending the Peak Tram line down to Queen’s Road, saying that it would undoubtedly be a great convenience and would make the Peak Tram a much greater asset to the Colony, but he was of the opinion that it would not be easy to overcome all the obstacles in the way.

When told that it was the intention to open the columns of the China Mail to the discussion of the suggestion, which was originally made by the China Mail 46 years ago, Sir Shouson said he would be keenly interested in the developments and that, of course, he would gladly do anything within his power to accomplish anything that would be for the benefit of the Colony and for the convenience of the public.

Mr. J. Scott Harston

Mr. J. Scott Harston very keen interest in the proposition, when interviewed in the Sunday Herald, saying that as a Director of the Peak Tramway Company he would be especially interested, though the question of finance would have to be carefully considered by the Board of Directors.

He said everyone would surely agree that it would be a great advantage if the Peak tram could be made more accessible and that he, personally, very much wished it might be possible.

While fully recognizing the difficulties to be met, Mr. Scott Harston does not consider the obstacles insurmountable.

In a most interesting and witty recital of the historical review of events in connection with the Peak Tram, he recalled the various suggestions that have been brought up in the past and the opposition to them by various parties. He smilingly spoke of the days when the Peak Tram was not altogether in favour with the Government, but added that he had no doubt that our present Government would adopt a perfectly fair attitude towards the Peak Tram proposition, and thought that if, with his support, the matter could be taken up with the War Office, although it might take some time, it was quite possible that the desire of the majority of the residents of the Colony would be realised and the Peak Tram extended to the Queen’s Road level.

Source: Hong Kong Sunday Herald 8th July 1934

This article was first posted on 3rd April 2022.

Related Indhhk articles:

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  2. The Peak Tram – additional information
  3. The Peak Tram – How it works
  4. Yates and Thom, Blackburn, UK – Makers of the original Peak Tram engines
  5. Michael Rogge film 1962 -The Peak Tram, Peak views, Repulse Bay, Central scenes
  6. European Settlements in the Far East – Part Three, The Peak District and the Peak Tram in HK around 1900
  7. Bus, tram and peak tram conductors
  8. Proposed second Peak Tram – 1908 – the route and objections
  9. Peak Tram: The Ward Leonard System installed 1926
  10. The Peak Tram – the Abt Passing Loop , 1879 invention
  11. Peak Tramways – additional locations and alterations
  12. Peak Tram to Queen’s Road escalator proposal, newspaper article 1934
  13. Proposed Peak Tramway extension to Queen’s Road

 

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