Hong Kong No 7: St John’s Cathedral

One-a-day posting No. 7 – St John’s Cathedral. This shot was taken in December 2006 in the grounds of St John’s cathedral in Central. I was trying to capture the imposing juxtaposition of the towers behind the relatively old architecture of the catheral. Some of you will be aware that this is where I was christened in 1965 – if you’re lucky I’ll scan and post a picture of me in my christening shorts with Bert and Jeremy….

St John’s catherdral


6 thoughts on “Hong Kong No 7: St John’s Cathedral

  1. The land on which St John’s Cathedral stands , about 2 acres, is unique in Hong Kong as it is the only land there which is freehold. All the rest is leasehold from the Government.

  2. Actually there is another piece of freehold land… but no-one will say what it is. I suggested (to a member of the executive council) that it was the New China News Agency in Happy Valley…. it was denied… but I didn’t believe him. Do you really think China would have accepted land on a lease from Britain… on what was sovereign chinese soil? I didn’t think so.

  3. Hong Kong Island and part of Kowloon up to Boundary Street had always been regarded by the Birtish as freehold (ceded in perpetuity) while the whole of New Territories leasehold for 99 years, hence the handing-over in 1997. For this reason, the land occupied by the NCNA in Happy Valley was Crown land and, therefore, could only be leasehold. In fact, there should be a land lease in the Land Registry for this parcel of land. All one needs is HK$15 (used to be) to do a search at the Land Registry. To augment my argument, both the Bank of China building in Central and the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in Kennedy Road are both on leased land. By the way….the old NCNA office in Happy Valley is now a hotel!!!!

  4. So have we got a crazy situation where the Island and Kowloon peninsula were leased by the UK to China for 50 years – or did we just hand it all back in 1997? Confused.

  5. Once upon a time, when HK was still a colony, you could lease land from the Crown for 99 years or even longer on HK Island and Kowloon up to Boundary St. This was based on the fact that UK considered anything south of Boundary St. to be ceded by China in perpetuity. Unfortunately, People’s Republic of China did not recognise the treaties which they consider to have been signed under duress by the Government of Ching Dynasty. The land in the New Territories had always been leased to property developers and owners with all leases terminating in 1997. Because China did not recognise the treaties, all land reverted back to China in 1997. China then in turn allow the government of HK Special Adminstration Region (HKSAR) to extend all leases for another 50 years, i.e. until 2047. What happens after that, nobody knows!!!

    The short answer to tressillian’s question is UK simply handed back the entire territory to China, from Stanley beach to Sha Tau Kok, in 1997.

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