The Rise and Fall of the Hong Kong Cemetery

Ken Nicolson

in The Happy Valley

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9789888028108
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207561 | DOI:
The Rise and Fall of the Hong Kong Cemetery

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This chapter discusses the introduction of the concept of the cemetery garden and its evolution in Hong Kong. In 1845, after Hong Kong was subjected to British rule, the Royal Engineers headed by Lieutenant T. B. Collinson sketched and established a cemetery in Wong Nei Chung which would later become Happy Valley. These once paddy field before the British invasion, the areas surrounding the flat lands of Happy Valley, became a place for the dead. In addition to discussing the introduction of the cemetery garden, the chapter addresses the issues of how Western cemetery design principles were applied in the British colony of Hong Kong, in particular with the creation and design of the Hong Kong Cemetery in Happy Valley. By the turn of the 1890s, the Hong Kong Cemetery had taken on a number of “Loudonesque” features. Although not as grand as its European city cemeteries, the Hong Kong Cemetery was in every aspect “Loudonesque.” While the Hong Kong Cemetery flourished as a cemetery garden, setting the role model for subsequent cemeteries particularly the local cemetery garden design, the Hong Kong Cemetery started to decline in the 1900s. The fall of the Hong Kong Cemetery was due to the increasing notion of cultural identity among Chinese nationals, the unfair allocation of cemetery space, the ravages of war, and the increasing urbanism, natural deterioration, and human error.

Keywords: cemetery garden; Hong Kong; T. B. Collinson; Royal Engineers; Wong Nei Chung; Happy Valley; Hong Kong Cemetery; Loudonesque; 1900s

Chapter.  10040 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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