Hong Kong’s Clock Tower

By Phineas Upham

For a long time, the clock tower at Tsim Sha Tsui sat unfinished with no hope for completion while the residents of Hong Kong went about their daily lives. It was 1913, and World War I had unleashed destruction at nearly every corner of the world. Almost everyone had lost something in the war, and the citizens of Hong Kong were reminded of those hard times each time they looked at the empty space where the tower should have been.

Materials for the tower were hard to come by, so the plan, which was conceived in 1910, could not begin until that year. Even after it started, materials were difficult to acquire on a regular basis. The War had cost the world a lot, and recovery was slower than expected in other parts of it.

In 1916, the station was opened in a completed state. Heavily influenced by techniques the British used in constructing their railway systems, the Clock Tower made the building stand out.

The station was designed to be the terminus of the Kowloon-Canton railway. Its chief architect was Arthur Bennison Hubback. Hubback was known throughout his career as a train station designer. He had a keen eye for rounded edges and fine design.

Until 1920, there was only one clock face in the tower. It was a recycle clock from the Pedder Street Clock Tower. The only time the clocks have not run since March 22, 1921, was during the Japanese occupation of the territory. The Clock Tower is now a declared monument in Hong Kong, and has since been preserved as a tourist attraction, as well as a train station.

About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or LinkedIn page.