– Far East Builder (architecture magazine), 1969
Take a stroll in Central, Hong Kong’s super-modern commercial district, and you will find hints of history everywhere, enshrined in statues, parks and street names. Names like ‘Chater Road’, a main thoroughfare in Central, hark back to the very beginnings of the district as we know it today.
The street is named after Sir Paul Chater, who is often referred to as the ‘father of Hong Kong’. Chater co-founded Hongkong Land, which built iconic commercial buildings on land reclaimed by the Praya Reclamation Scheme – today’s Central – in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. One of the first buildings to be built as part of this scheme was St. George’s Building, in 1904.The first St. George’s Building was designed by prominent architecture firm Leigh & Orange, whose designs still grace Hong Kong today. It was a relatively small four-storey building designed in the Edwardian Baroque tradition, a style influenced by Sir Christopher Wren, who built St Paul’s Cathedral in London.