【Stories behind the pins】The Tung Wah Smallpox Hospital
The arch and foundation stone of the Tung Wah Smallpox Hospital, located adjacent to the Sai Ning Street Bus Terminus in Kennedy Town, are soon to be relocated due to the government’s sale of land for private housing development.
The Tung Wah Smallpox Hospital was established in 1910 and specialised in treating smallpox patients by combining Chinese and Western medical techniques. Although this century-old historic site bears witness to Hong Kong’s history of combating infectious diseases, the main building of the hospital, originally located on Ka Wai Man Road was demolished after World War II. The arch and the foundation stone were subsequently moved to the current site, which has not been graded. Now, the arch and foundation stone face the possibility of being relocated once again.
From a conservation perspective, the grading mechanism for historic buildings provides a more objective standard for assessing the cultural value of architectural heritage. However, buildings that are not designated as Declared Monuments are not legally protected and some have been subject to demolition. Ungraded historic sites often cannot withstand urban development.
Historic sites carry stories, but history fades away as time passes and is often gradually forgotten. In order to properly inherit historical heritage and promote architectural conservation, a longer-term and comprehensive planning vision from the government is indeed needed.