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The Murray House – A Colonial Heritage Well Preserved?

March 21, 2020

Name(English): The Murray House
Name(Chinese): 美利樓
Category: History and Culture
Address(English): 96 Stanley Main St, Stanley
Address(Chinese): 赤柱大街96號
Address Google Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/j6bovCAvtvE3zQPq6
Address longitude and latitude: 22.21845517085725, 114.20985259856234
Opening Hours:
MON 00:00 – 23:59
TUE 00:00 – 23:59
WED 00:00 – 23:59
THU 00:00 – 23:59
FRI 00:00 – 23:59
SAT 00:00 – 23:59
SUN 00:00 – 23:59
Recommended Time to Visit: 09:00-19:00
Accessibility Note: Easy access

The original Murray House – Chinese red tiled roofs with western ionic columns

Topped with Chinese red tiled roofs and built with arched façade and verandahs, Murray House, a localized Victorian building of 175 years of history, is representing the early colonial architecture at its best. Before being revitalized as a commercial building that houses fancy restaurants and stores, it was initially an officers’ quarter of the Murray Barracks and later an administrative centre in Central situated at the present Bank of China Tower until 1980s.

 A building of three storeys with granite

As the economic development flourished, it was dismantled into 3,000 labelled pieces and reassembled a decade later along with some parts taken from buildings in similar styles, but in a different location where it now stands at the waterfront of Stanley. Overlooking the entire bay, who doesn’t enjoy a glass of beer with the view up there? But it is worthwhile thinking through whether the relocation and its current use can truly preserve its authenticity.

Chinese tile roofs and arched corridors

Heritage preservation is not only about the aesthetic values of the architecture but also the purposes associated with its location. If you pay a close attention, you may find many components of Murray House are not from the original building: the columns come from a different building in Yau Me Tei, the chimneys are from another building near Sai Ying Pun, the flagpole outside of the building are from the battle ship HMS Tamar during WWII… Development and conservation are often conflicting issues but perhaps with better planning, it wouldn’t have been degraded from being as a Grade I historic building after the relocation?

Round stone pillars imitating Greek retro style

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Peggy Lam

Peggy here, and I am a storyteller. Despite not being a professional tour guide myself, I am thrilled to share and write about the fun things to do in town, the untold stories & even my personal observations.