The Early Years

The first building to be constructed on the Central reclamation was the second Hong Kong Club (1897). Soon after its completion, work began on the foundations of Chater's Queen's Building, seen here in the foreground.

By the 1920s automobiles were becoming more common, but foot power still reigned supreme on the local tarmac. This view of Queen's Road Central shows pole-carrying coolies heading purposefully on their deliveries, while the first Ford V8 soft-top convertible motorcars made their tentative appearance.

Proving nearly as transient as the steamers straining at their moorings, none of the mercantile houses fronting the Connaught Praya esplanade in 1912 would long survive, their original white facades soon darkened by grime from the smoke-belching funnels lining the harbour front.

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