民間力量完成主教山配水庫文物報告 團體籲列為法定古蹟

《地水重光——主教山配水庫文物價值報告》

主教山配水庫文物價值報告全文連結

Full text of Bishop Hill Service Reservoir Heritage Assessment (Chinese only)


新聞稿

民間力量完成主教山配水庫文物報告 團體籲列為法定古蹟

(28/2/2021)去年年底主教山地下配水庫曝光後,一眾民間保育人士、建築師、水務專家、城市研究學者,研究大量歷史文獻及整合民間流傳的配水庫資料,完成「地水重光 — 主教山配水庫文物價值評估報告」,引證配水庫具有極高文物價值,值得列為法定古蹟。

文物價值評估報告依照古物古蹟辦事處(古蹟辦)六項準則——歷史價值、建築價值、原真性、罕有程度、組合價值及社會價值,剖析主教山配水庫價值:

1. 歷史價值

主教山配水庫為1902年啟動的「九龍重力自流供水系統」(Kowloon Waterworks Gravitation Scheme)的重要一環,目的是改善九龍供水系統,解決食水供應不足的危機。主教山配水庫作為二十世紀九龍供水設施的起源,開創了九龍水塘供水的先河,亦見證了九龍半島由泵井供水到水塘供水的轉變,而推動改變的正正是香港的城市化進程。

配水庫的建造工程亦與建築界建樹良多的人物相關,包括「九龍重力自流供水系統」的工程師刼士(Lawrence Gibbs)、承辦不少港英政府工程的吳子美及吳子楚兄弟等,在建築歷史、水務歷史、九龍發展史方面具極高價值。


2. 建築價值

主教山配水庫由花崗岩石柱和紅磚圓拱(受坊間注目的「羅馬式拱門」)所組成,宏偉壯麗。

配水庫也是香港唯一以花崗岩石柱、紅磚圓拱、混凝土桶形拱頂(barrel vault)和擋土牆而建成的配水庫。在鋼筋混凝土未為普及的年代,此地下混合結構有效承受來自不同方位的荷重,達致美學和科學的結合。配水庫的混合式建築結構也反映了香港在二十世紀初對於現代混凝土物料應用的大膽嘗試,標誌著工程和建築設計的現代轉型。

配水庫落成後的紅磚建築,例如香港醫學博物館(1906年)和舊上環街市北座大樓(1906年),早於1990年被列入為法定古蹟。


3. 原真性

擁有116年歷史的主教山配水庫建築特色大致保留完整。曾於1952年進行維修改建工程,加建混凝土牆以縮小貯水區,並加入瀝青砂膠防水物料。是次改動後,108條支柱中有30條嵌入了壓實泥土區內,但沒有影響原來結構。

2020年水務署工程破壞了主教山配水庫,但估計約九成範圍並未受影響,維持原貌。而根據現有的圖則紀錄及實地勘探,相信能為將來復修提供足夠的資料。

4. 罕有程度

香港的圓形地下空間甚為罕有,主教山配水庫與其他戰前配水庫不同的地方就是其絕無僅有的圓形設計。

此外,主教山配水庫是香港唯一以花崗岩石柱、紅磚圓拱、混凝土桶形拱頂和擋土牆而建成的配水庫。這個獨特配搭反映本地土木工程逐漸轉型至現代,作為一個二十世紀初香港建築歷史過渡階段的例子,亦屬罕有。

主教山配水庫為全港尚存5個戰前配水庫之一,是九龍半島現存已知第二古老的配水庫。同為過百年歷史的山頂克頓道食水配水庫,日前確認已被拆毀。

5. 組合價值

主教山配水庫與九龍水塘5項法定古蹟,主壩、主壩水掣房、溢洪壩、溢洪壩記錄儀器房及記錄儀器房(1901-1910年)和一級歷史建築九龍油麻地舊水務署抽水站(1895年)有直接連繫,皆為九龍早期供水歷史的標記。


6. 社會價值

主教山配水庫改善了九龍供水系統,提供更衞生和經濟的食水水源,大大減低疫症傳播。配水庫工程同時促成了政府聘用本地公司的先例,推動建造業生態的演變。配水庫於1970年代結束供水任務,原址凝聚了一群居民自發建立康樂設施,成為區內重要的公共空間。

完整保留主教山配水庫,能記錄香港在英殖時期的水利工程史,成為印證城市水務發展的標記,是香港供水史不可或缺的歷史建築。文物報告籌備小組成員促請古諮會將主教山配水庫定為法定古蹟。

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是次「主教山配水庫文物價值評估報告」亦展現了民間集思廣益的力量,以網絡資訊流通的優勢,迅速收集失落的歷史資料。透過共同投放知識資源,讓社會討論古諮會的歷史評級,能夠以此為完整及紥實的知識基礎,亦鼓勵公眾投入保育行動。這創新的民間參與有助日後在不同保育議題上,擴大民眾支持基礎。

另外,文物報告籌備小組成員倡議古物諮詢委員會改革評審機制,防止類似事件再次發生,並促請發展局投放更多資源,以改善現時評級工作滯後,以及評級機制與社會期望出現落差的情況。

Press Release

Group advocates monument status for Bishop Hill service reservoir

(28/2/2021) A group of heritage conservationists, architects and urbanists today called on the heritage authorities to declare the Bishop Hill service reservoir a monument, following a study that established its exceptional heritage value. The Bishop Hill Service Reservoir Heritage Assessment is the result of a crowdsourced research effort. Since the century-old underground facility came to light late last year, the team had extensively studied historical records as well as a large amount of relevant information circulated online.

The assessment follows the six criteria the Antiquities and Monuments Office uses to evaluation historic buildings, namely, historical value, architectural value, authenticity, rarity, group value, and social value.

1. Historical value

Bishop Hill service reservoir (hereafter “Bishop Hill reservoir”) is a key part of the Kowloon Waterworks Scheme. Launched in 1902, the scheme modernised Kowloon’s water supply in bid to solve a water shortage crisis. Rainwater is collected in Kowloon Reservoir at the heart of the scheme, replacing well water and subterranean water pumped out by the Yau Ma Tei Pumping Station. The underground facility up Bishop Hill served the public by distributing treated water across Kowloon. It witnessed not only the beginning of a new water supply system for Kowloon in the early 20th century, but also the forces of urbanisation that brought about the momentous change in the first place.

Several notable figures in Hong Kong’s architectural history were involved in the building of Bishop Hill reservoir. They include Lawrence Gibbs, the Kowloon Waterworks Scheme engineer, and the Ng brothers of Tung Shing Construction Co, a well-known contractor of government building projects at the time.


2. Architectural value

Bishop Hill reservoir is a stunning sweep of red brick arches carried on granite columns. It is the only service reservoir in Hong Kong that combines granite columns, red brick arches, and barrel vaulting, sidewalls and floor of concrete. Before the use of reinforced concrete became common, this unique combination of building materials effectively spreads weight across the underground structure in a marriage of art and science. The reservoir construction was also a daring use of concrete in early 20th century Hong Kong, signalling the modernisation of engineering and architecture in the city.

Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences and Western Market, two red-brick buildings completed in 1906 and after Bishop Hill reservoir, were declared monuments in 1990.


3. Authenticity

Over the past 116 years, Bishop Hill reservoir has largely kept its architectural character. In 1952, a concrete wall was added, and a waterproofing material of rock asphalt was applied. The alterations reduced the reservoir capacity, while 30 of the 108 columns were embedded in the compacted earth area behind the concrete wall. However, the original structure of the reservoir was not affected.

In December 2020, the reservoir was damaged by Water Supplies Department works. However, an estimated 90% of the reservoir was not affected and remains intact. Existing building plans and field surveys should provide adequate information for future restoration.


4. Rarity

Bishop Hill reservoir is unique among all pre-WWII service reservoirs because of its circular design.

In addition, it is the only service reservoir in Hong Kong that is built of granite columns, red brick arches, and barrel vaulting, sidewalls and floor of concrete. This unique construction method reflected the modernisation of civil engineering in Hong Kong. It is also a special case that captured a moment of transition in local architectural history in the early 20th century.

Bishop Hill reservoir is one of at least five remaining pre-WWII service reservoirs in Hong Kong. It is the second oldest known service reservoir in Kowloon.


5. Group value

Bishop Hill reservoir was directly linked to five historic structures of Kowloon Reservoir: main dam, main dam valve house, spillway dam, dam recorder house, and recorder house. Built between 1901 and 1910, the five structures were declared monuments in 2009. Together with the former Yau Ma Tei Pumping Station (Grade 1 historic building), these century-old waterworks represent the start of Kowloon’s modern water supply system. 

6. Social value

In providing a more hygienic and economical source of water supply to the public, Bishop Hill reservoir transformed the water supply system in Kowloon and significantly reduced the risk of epidemics. The reservoir construction also marked the first time the government hired a local company for public works projects – an important development in the local building industry. Though the reservoir was retired in the 1970s, Bishop Hill has in recent years become an important public space in Sham Shui Po and Shek Kip Mei. Local residents have turned the site into a popular recreational hub by installing basic playground fixtures and fitness facilities.

Bishop Hill reservoir is a most special heritage structure that can powerfully tell Hong Kong’s water supply history. The authors of the Bishop Hill Service Reservoir Assessment call on the Antiquities and Advisory Board to duly declare the century-old facility a monument at its upcoming meeting on 11 March 2021.

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The Bishop Hill Service Reservoir Heritage Assessment is the product of crowdsourced knowledge, collective energy, and savvy in gathering historical information scattered online. The assessment provides a solid and thorough knowledge base for the community to evaluate official heritage decisions. The hope is that this innovative exercise in community engagement can provide a model for even more public participation in future heritage debates.