Relationship between street names and the Force

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It can be said that the founding and growth of the Force went in tandem with the development of Hong Kong as a whole. The names of some Hong Kong streets are testament to the century-old history of the Hong Kong Police Force.

Upper Station Street

Streets with connections to the Force first appeared, naturally enough, on Hong Kong Island, where the earliest developments took place. Today, there is an Upper Station Street in the Tai Ping Shan area in Sheung Wan. Although there are no police stations in the vicinity of Upper Station Street today, the first No. 8 Police Station was built there in 1870, and stood on Po Yee Street, formerly known as Station Street. Upper Station Street is an adjoining diagonal street leading up to the Mid-Levels. The 1894 plague broke out in the streets of the Tai Ping Shan area, a densely populated Chinese slum with appalling sanitary conditions. To wipe out the plague virus, the Government tore down all the buildings in that area, including the No. 8 Police Station, which was relocated to the nearby Hospital Road. Redevelopment of the Tai Ping Shan area was completed around 1898 and Station Street was renamed Po Yee Street. Today, Upper Station Street remains but the station is already long gone.

Kowloon also had its fair share of street names with connections to police stations. The first Station Street in Kowloon appeared in Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok. The Yau Ma Tei Police Station was opened in 1873 and naturally, the street where it stood was named Station Street. The Yau Ma Tei Police Station was relocated to Canton Road at the end of 1922, but by then Station Street had already been renamed Shanghai Street.

Station Lane

There is a Station Lane in Hung Hom today, bearing obvious relation to the Hung Hom Police Station that once stood nearby. However, Station Lane is not the first street in Hung Hom related to the police station. There had been a Station Street way back in the 1880s, where the Hung Hom Police Station, built in 1872, once stood.

Apart from the two mentioned above, there is a third Station Street on the Kowloon Peninsula. It was located in what was formerly known as Fuk Tsuen Heung, which is today’s Tai Kok Tsui. According to records, there was a police station in Fuk Tsuen Heung and the street on which it stood was naturally called Station Street.

In early Hong Kong where population was small and mobility was low, the Station Streets located in different areas were obviously named after the police stations built there. Or perhaps, for convenience’s sake, local residents called all unnamed streets with police stations Station Streets, and with the passage of time, the name somehow stuck. As Hong Kong developed into a more complex society, confusion arose over the different Station Streets. In 1909, the Government gazetted the change of street names. The Station Street in Yau Ma Tei was renamed Shanghai Street; the one in Hung Hom renamed Taku Street; and the one in Fuk Tsuen Heung as Foochow Street. Shanghai, Taku and Foochow were then the Chinese ports opened for external trade. Station Lane, adjacent to Taku Street, is the only remaining street in Kowloon today that is named after a police station. Foochow Street in Tai Kok Tsui was subsequently renamed Tung Chau Street, and its original name is remembered by only a few today.

Police Station Path

There are streets named after police stations on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon. What about the New Territories? A Police Station Path can be found on a road leading to the Cheung Chau Police Station that stands on a slope on the island of Cheung Chau.

The first Yau Ma Tei Police Station on a colour tinted postcard. A long ladder used for fighting fire and saving lives could be seen outside the building. Members of the Force in the early days were also fire fighters.

Map drawn in 1887, showing Hung Hom Police Station and Station Street

Government Gazette of 1909 records the renaming of streets in Hong Kong and Kowloon

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