90-year-old bell returns home at Hong Kong's landmark clock tower

13:59, September 18, 2010      

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Hong Kong's old Clock Tower near the Star Ferry concourse in Tsim Sha Tsui is a declared monument and a landmark from the Age of Steam though it had been having no bell since 1975 when the tower was disabled.

But it changed on Friday when the 90-year-old bell was returned after 35 years at the former Kowloon-Canton Railway Clock Tower, a distinctive 44-meter red brick and granite tower.

The relocation followed the donation of the bell by the Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation and the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTR) to the city's government.

Officiating at the relocation ceremony, Secretary for Development of Hong Kong's government Carrie Lam said, "For many, the bell may evoke very precious memories. It has served an important role as part of Hong Kong's public transport history."

The bell was produced in the United Kingdom and arrived in Hong Kong in 1920. It began operation in the Kowloon-Canton Railway Clock Tower in 1921 as part of the Tsim Sha Tsui railway terminus. It chimed round the clock at 15-minute intervals.

In 1975, the bell ceased operation when the railway terminus was relocated to Hung Hom, also in Kowloon. It has been moved several times since then and had been on public display at railway stations in Hung Hom and Sha Tin until 1995, when it was moved to the Railway House in Fo Tan.

Lam said the return of the bell enhanced the historical significance of the clock tower, which has been a declared monument since 1990.

The donation of the bell also coincides with the 100th anniversary of Kowloon-Canton Railway services.

The former Kowloon-Canton Railway was the first rail line in Hong Kong. It was renamed as the East Rail Line in December 2007 when the Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation was merged with the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTR), which operates the city's metro network.

Source: Xinhua


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