While we were in Tai Koo (and ate at Toast Box…) we decided to visit the Fireboat Alexander Grantham. This might not be your typical sight to visit in Hong Kong, but it is actually I really nice exhibit that is (1) free of charge (2) easy to access from an MTR station and (3) sits next to the waterfront, so there’s actually a great scenic view over to the Kowloon side and the old airport. Unfortunately the day that we visited, the view wasn’t the best – but I think you can get the idea!
Funnily enough, we visited the ship on the last days of 2014, and I had plans to write about it sooner, but with Lina arriving, my blog schedule went pear-shape, and Andrew beat me by publishing his post about the fireboat here. Not that it was a race to see who publishes it first, but it’s funny to know that there are so many sights to visit in Hong Kong and hardly anyone writes about this Fireboat, and then within 10 days, there are two blog posts about it! Andrew’s is much more about the little details… so let me focus on the bigger things, the ship and its history!
In 1868 the Hong Kong Fire Brigade was formed and the first fireboat was launched in 1883. In 1953, Hong Kong only had small-sized fireboats that were not suitable to support the growing city and harbour – so the Alexander Grantham was commissioned and built by Hong Kong & Whampoa Dock Co. Ltd. It is named after a British colonial administrator who governed Hong Kong and Fiji.
Measuring 38.9 metres long, 8.8 metres wide, 15 metres tall and with a loaded displacement of 511 tonnes, the Alexander Grantham Fireboat has taken part in numerous fire-fighting and rescue operations, including the one that engulfed and destroyed Jumbo floating restaurant in Aberdeen, the Seawise University fire in 1972 (the former RMS Queen Elizabeth – about 50% of that ship are still underwater in the Hong Kong Harbour), the Eastern Gate fire in the 1980s and the New Orient Princess fire in 1993.
The boat was decommissioned in 2002, and in 2006 it was hoisted into its new permanent home in the Central Concourse of Quarry Bay Park, Hong Kong, where it has been converted into the Fireboat Alexander Grantham Exhibition Gallery and was opened to the public as a museum in 2007. In addition to the fireboat itself, the Gallery houses a number of multimedia exhibits on the vessel’s history and on firefighting in Hong Kong.
Alexander Grantham Fireboat
Quarry Bay Park, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong Island
Tel: 2367 7821
Opening hours: Every day from 10am to 6pm except for Tuesdays and the first two days of the Lunar New Year
Getting there: Take Exit E from Tai Koo MTR Station, walk through Cityplaza and cross the footbridge to Quarry Bay Park. The walk takes about 10 minutes. Alternatively, take Exit A of Sai Wan Ho MTR Station, then head west via the Hong Kong Film Archive to Quarry Bay Park. Also about 10 minutes.