Tsim Sha Tsui - History

History

Historical maps in Ming or Qing Dynasty named the channel between Tsim Sha Tsui and Central as Chung Mun (Pinyin: Zhong Men, δΈ­ι–€, lit. the middle gate) as it is located in the middle of the two other channels, Kap Shui Mun in the west and Lei Yue Mun in the east, in the harbour.

Before Kowloon was ceded to Britain in 1860, many villages were present in the area. Incense trees (Aquilaria sinensis) from New Territories were gathered at some quays in Tsim Sha Tsui and transferred to Shek Pai Wan in southern Hong Kong Island to be exported to rest of the world. It was thus known as Heung Po Tau, the fragrant quay.

In 1888, the Star Ferry offered regular transport between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui, and the area has flourished ever since. The place has an international reputation for the large number of tiger sharks resident in the waters close by. Tsim Sha Tsui was a garden city exclusive for westerners in that era. In the early 20th century, Chinese people were allowed to live in the area in order to attract more people to trade in the colony. Garden houses were replaced with crowded residential blocks. Wharves and godowns were built along the west shore. Major developers like Hormusjee Naorojee Mody and Catchick Paul Chater actively participated in the development of Tsim Sha Tsui.

The Kowloon-Canton Railway (British Section) commenced service on 1 October 1910. Kowloon Station in Tsim Sha Tsui was built on the new southern reclamation from 1913 to 1915. The rails extended along the western reclamation parallel to Chatham Road, with old Hung Hom Station near the Gun Club Hill Barracks at the junction of Chatham Road and Austin Road. Another major road, Salisbury Road, was completed in approximately the same period. The landmark Peninsula Hotel was built on the reclamation in 1928, opposite to the station.

The Kowloon Station was relocated to a new Hung Hom Station in 1978. The whole station and rails were demolished except the landmark Clock Tower. Hong Kong Space Museum and later the Hong Kong Cultural Centre were erected on the site. The rails were replaced with New World Centre and other gardens in Tsim Sha Tsui East.

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