Murray House (Hong Kong)

The 3-storey Murray House, a masterpiece Classical architecture of the  Victorian Era first completed in the present day business district of Central way back in 1846, is one of the oldest surviving public buildings in Hong Kong. It stood witness to more than a century’s historical vicissitudes in Hong Kong.  Murray House originally housed the military officers’ quarters of the Murray Barracks of the British forces stationed in Hong Kong. During World War II, Murray House was, for 44 months, a command center of the Japanese military police, a torture and interrogation center and also the execution place for some Chinese citizens.

Murray House

Starting in 1965, the building was used as offices by several government departments including the Rating and Valuation Department. Believed to be haunted, exorcism ceremonies were held in the building in 1963 and 1974 (televised). During the 1970’s and 1980’s, the local economy took flight and the plot of land on which Murray House stood became valuable property. In 1982, Murray House was dismantled to give way to the new new Bank of China Tower and, for 15 years, more than 3,000 blocks of the building were labeled and cataloged for future restoration and stored in Tai Tam. However, some raw materials like chimneys were lost during the demolition.

Historical plaque

Eventually, a permanent home by the sea was found here in Stanley but the whole redevelopment project was a challenge that took substantial manpower and resources. Just like toy building blocks, the granite blocks were reassembled, their positioning precisely calculated. The building was reopened on April 2, 2001.

The author at Murray House

Today, Murray House, a major milestone in Hong Kong’s heritage restoration history and an important icon at Stanley, houses some fine restaurants that offer different international gourmet food at the first and second floors. The ground floor, which once housed the Hong Kong Maritime Museum (established in 2005, then moved to Pier 8 in Central in February 2013),.has a long corridor, in the middle of which is a little exhibition of Murray House’s history. The first level has heavy stone walls with flat arched openings while the second and third levels have lighter Doric  and Ionic columns to allow better ventilation. in response to the Hong Kong’s subtropical/monsoons climate, all floors have verandas on all sides.

View of the waterfront

Murray House: 96 Stanley Main St, StanleyHong Kong.

How to Get There: From Central’s Exchange Square, take buses No.6, 6A, 6X, 260 or 262. From Causeway Bay’s Tang Lung Street (Corner of Percival Street and Hennessy Road), take green minibus No.40

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