1909

‘Hung Shing Yi Hok’ Founded

The building at No. 12 School Street was originally Hung Shing Yi Hok” (literally, “Confucius free school for the poor”) founded in the late Qing Dynasty. The school was founded by Hong Kong Confucian Society, with funding by donations of local inhabitants. The most generous patron of the school was Mr. Lau Chu-pak, an eminent leader of the community as well as Hong Kong Confucian Society.

1940

Destroyed in the War

The school building was severely destroyed and suspended operation during the times when Hong Kong came under Japanese rule at the Second World War. After the war, the school was reconstructed on the same site through local donations initiated by Tai Hang Residents’ Welfare Association to resume its education services to Tai Hang residents and children in need.

1949

Rehabilitation of the Building

The new three-storey school held the rehabilitation as well as foundation stone laying ceremony on 20th November 1949, presided by Mr. Li Wai Tong, who was the then Chairman of Tai Hang Residents’ Welfare Association and known as the best Chinese footballer, and Mr. Aw Boon Haw, a Chinese entrepreneur and philanthropist then residing in his Haw Par Mansion in Tai Hang.“Hung Shing Yi Hok” resumed operation in 1950, still managed by Hong Kong Confucian Society

1953

Confucius Primary School

“Hung Shing Yi Hok” got Government subsidiaries in 1953 and was renamed as Confucius Primary School. The school was closed in 1978 due to insufficient enrollment.

1982

Confucian Society Victoria English Primary School

Between 1982 and 1999, Ms. Christina Ting Yuk Chee rented the vacant premises to operate Confucian Society Victoria English Primary School. Later, Ms. Ting kept renting the premises to promote Confucianism and Chinese culture.

2007

Change of the Use

In 2007, the building became the office of Eastern District Children’s Choir, Eastern District Arts Council.

2010

Grade 3 Historic Building

The building was vacant since 2010.
The existing building was assessed as a Grade 3 historic building by Antiquities Advisory Board in December 2010. In December 2013, No. 12 School Street was included in the Batch IV of the Revitalizing Historic Buildings through Partnership Scheme.

2015

The Revitalizing Scheme

Due to the intimate relationship with the building, as well as the cultural significance of Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance, Tai Hang Residents’ Welfare Association applied for the Revitalizing Scheme, with the aim to revitalize the building into Tai Hang Fire Dragon Heritage Centre. The project was finally awarded by the Development Bureau in 2015.

2019

Revitalization Works Commence

After series of procedures including tender for consultants and construction contractor, development of design as well as approval by various Government departments and committees, the revitalization works commenced in November 2019.

2022

Open for Use

The Tai Hang Fire Dragon Heritage Centre opens in 2022

ARCHITECTURAL MERITS

The architectural style of the building is “International Modernism”, the main features of which are cubic shapes, flat roof, white walls, steel windows, horizontal projected canopies and ornamental ironwork balustrade. Windows are fitted with ornamental ironwork grilles that follow strict symmetric alignment. The side facing School Street has the central portion slightly moved inside to highlight the three-partition design. The additional elements during the re-construction in 1949 demonstrated the major “Art Deco” architectural style. Internally, the rooms are plain and devoid of architectural detail.

In short, the building is utilitarian and functional according to the dictates of modernism. As the building has undergone re-construction, the materials used in the ground floor were different from the ones used in other floors. One example was only the ground floor had granite columns.

The items to be conserved during the revitalization works include:

  1. Stone tablets commemorating the founding of “Hung Shing Yi Hok” in Qing Dynasty at G/F level.
  2. Stone tablet commemorating the re-opening of the school beside the main entrance, being the calligraphy of Mr. Li Wai-tong.
  3. Timber fanlight and the door frame of the door opening facing School Street.
  4. Ornamental ironwork balustrade at 2/F balcony.
  5. Staircase and continuous balustrade leading from G/F to roof.
  6. Wooden floor at the ground floor and windows. Rectangular grid pattern steel windows with ornamental ironwork grilles and wired hexagonal pattern glass panes, and metal ironmongeries including locking handles and window stays.
  7. Cast iron rain water pipes with hopper heads at the outside of the building.

As the original entrance at School Street is a key conservation item, the main entrance after revitalization will be relocated to First Lane. A new lift will be constructed at First Lane to comply with barrier-free assessment requirements. The lift tower will be decorated with lighting elements and a large “Dragon Ball” on the roof to provide lighting effects simulating the fire dragon dance, so as to establish a new landmark at Tai Hang.

As the original staircase does not comply with the latest requirement of the Fire Safety (Buildings) Ordinance, a new exit staircase is built inside the building. Due to the narrow working space, it brought about special challenges to the construction team to overcome.

FACILITIES

G/F Exhibition Centre

After revitalization, the ground floor of the building will be an exhibition centre. Newly developed digital technologies and 3D projection techniques will be applied to provide an advanced and interactive demonstration of Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance, with the aim to bring about an atmosphere to portrait the live feeling to the audience. The cultural heritage and craftsmanship in making the fire dragon will be exhibited in details. The exhibition centre will also portrait the history of the building and the revitalization process. In addition, the historic changes at Tai Hang and Hakka culture in Hong Kong will be displayed.

G/F Gift Shop

Regular guided tours can be arranged at the information counter at the ground floor. A gift shop is also located at the ground floor, selling special souvenirs related to Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance and Hakka culture.

1/F Themed Restaurant

The first floor will be a themed restaurant operated in social enterprise model. Fusion dishes blending traditional Hakka style and modern tasted will be served to provide a special dining experience.

2/F Multi-functional Space

The second floor is a multi-functional space to provide flexibility for various functions like workshops, educational usages, cooking classes, talks and mini-exhibitions. It is also a licensed restaurant to provide food and beverage services to these functions.