Tai Kwun is the latest cultural hub smack bang in the middle of the central. The former prison is bordered on three sides by Old Bailey Street, Hollywood Road and Arbuthnot Road. As Hong Kong’s latest centre for Heritage and Arts, it promises to be a place of inspiration, stimulation and enjoyment for all people. They’ve sprung new life into the building, bringing heritage and artistic expression under one roof in an aim to spread knowledge and cultivate an appreciation for contemporary and performing arts as well as an emphasis on the history in the community.
Tai Kwun is named Tai Kwun because it directly translates to “big station” in Cantonese, police officers and even the public often used the unofficial name. The name Tai Kwun has been present since as early as the 1880s, the name has been documented in news articles about the old Central Police Station for decades, so naturally The Jockey Club CPS Limited, who helped reinvigorate the building, has adopted the name as a reminder of the historical importance of the compound.
The revitalisation project was no small endeavour, but after years of work, it is now open to the public. Tai Kwun has a variety of events to entertain; their inaugural exhibition hits close to home and features ‘100 Faces of Tai Kwun’, stories collected from 100 local neighbours and friends over the past two years. This project explores the history of the Central Police Station compound as well as the almost forgotten relationships that had been cultivated in and around the complex.
The stories shared come from all walks of life; some are ex-police officers, others ex-offenders, beyond the station are the shop owners and neighbours who lived in the area. The rest might have passed by or visited the compound, including photographers, journalists, architects, etc. As a collective, their stories reveal the different facets of Tai Kwun.
For those fascinated by the history of the building, fear not, as Tai Kwun’s heritage programme allows you to revisit the spaces rich past. “From displaying the gong once used in the Central Police Station, to playing a video of the first case heard at the Central Magistracy, to projecting moving silhouettes inside 6 cells of the Victoria Prison, we have deployed a number of ways in our 8 designated heritage storytelling spaces to feature the history, stories, and lives of people inside Tai Kwun.”
Amongst the contemporary art on display, live music can be found on the first Saturday afternoon of every month. Kung Chi-Shing, an influential figure in Hong Kong independent music scene, has been invited to curate a range of outstanding musical works from local and international musicians. Whether you fancy classical music, pop or something a little more avant-garde, prepare to have your musical horizons expanded on the laundry steps of Tai Kwun.
Want to know more? Visit their site for the full catalogue of events and happenings. We’ll see you there!
Address: 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong
There are 5 gates around Tai Kwun open to the public; these are on or near Hollywood Road, Lan Kwai Fong and Soho.
- Bauhinia House Gate*
- Blue Gate
- Footbridge Gate
- Old Bailey Gate
- Pottinger Gate
- Tai Kwun Site: 10am – 11pm
- Visitor Centre: 10am – 8pm