While I was reading about the old Wan Chai ferry pier, I found out more about the Edinburgh Place Ferry Pier – this is the old ‘Star Ferry’ pier one that used to be in Central. It was built in 1957 as the third generation of the Star Ferry Pier and back then it was very modern, with its striking clock tower:
Unfortunately, it did not survive the passage of time. The ferry service from the pier was suspended in November 2006 and the demolition was completed by early 2007, to make room for the construction of a four-lane highway aimed at relieving traffic congestion on Hong Kong Island.
It is quite surprising that the old pier was not kept and moved to a different location (like the Murray house or Blake pier in Stanley). The tower housed the last mechanical outdoor clock in Hong Kong, whose parts were made by the same company that built Big Ben. The chimes of the old clock tower were loud enough to echo across the harbour. I found some more old pictures on Gwulo.com which you can check out here.
However, the government argued that the Edinburgh Place Ferry Pier was not even 50 years old (and hence not categorised as historic) and that the old clock could not be relocated because of technical difficulties in moving and maintaining obsolete parts. Moreover, the Edwardian design was criticised as being neither modern nor authentic – more like a something taken from a film set or theme park. The pastel green was also said to be out of sync with the white and green color signature of the ferries and the old pier. So plenty of reasons to tear down this building – which I find really bizarre, and I am not the only one, there were many riots and uprisings in 2006 to stop the destruction. But without any success.
I know that land reclamation is a big issue in Hong Kong and it has been going on for decades, but when I recently saw the picture below, I could not believe how quickly Hong Kong has changed. This was taken back in 2006.
It looks completely different now – all the water has gone (I wish I had a picture to compare the two shots, but I don’t have one unfortunately). This is now the site where the Hong Kong Observation wheel is located:
And here is a huge big empty space to host events like Art Central show and of course, there is the new Central Waterfront Promenade that runs along the harbour. And of course, the new ferry piers – Central Ferry Piers 9 and 10 are for embarkation/disembarkation for public and private boats:
The ferry pier 8 hosts the great Maritime Museum:
The new home for the star ferry is now at ferry pier 7 and I would say that the new pier also looks like a set from a theme park! At least it seems to fit with the green and white colours of the classic star ferry!