Fireboat Alexander Grantham gets its permanent home
The Fireboat Alexander Grantham has been successfully hoisted and landed at its new permanent home at the Central Concourse of Quarry Bay Park. The fireboat will be converted into a gallery and opened to the public in April, 2007.
Speaking after the lifting operation today (March 10), the Assistant Director (Heritage and Museums) of the Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Gerard Tsang Chu-chiu, said the project of lifting a 500-tonne historical boat onto land was the first of its kind ever conducted in Asia. The Fireboat Alexander Grantham is also the first boat preserved as a historical relic in Hong Kong. It is also the largest "Made in Hong Kong" collection item of the Hong Kong Museum of History.
"The landing of the Alexander Grantham marks the end of her 50 years of service in the harbour. Perched on Victoria Harbour's waterfront, the boat has launched into a new meaningful stage of her life.
"Today's lifting operation was definitely an enormously difficult and unprecedented mission. For its success, heartfelt thanks have to go to the Architectural Services Department (ASD), Marine Department, Hong Kong Fire Services Department, and Civil Engineering and Development Department, Labour Department for their professional input and assistance which were, in fact, outside their regular scope of work. Special thanks also go to the contractors - Guangzhou Salvage, Yiu Lian Dockyards Limited, Hong Kong Shipyard and Chun Wo Joint Venture for their co-operation and co-ordination.
"After the completion of the installation work of the fireboat, the construction of the exhibition gallery will begin at full speed. The ASD will continue the fabrication of the exhibition gallery, surrounding landscape and auxiliary facilities such as visitors' passage while the Leisure and Cultural Services Department will start producing the exhibition and final overhauling as well as restoration work of the boat," Mr Tsang said.
The Fireboat Alexander Grantham, the largest in the fleet of fireboats managed by the Fire Services Department, was built by the Hong Kong Whampoa Dock Company Limited in 1953 and decommissioned in May, 2002, after 49 years of service. The fireboat, 38.9 metres long, 8.8 metres wide, 15 metres tall and with a loaded displacement of 511 tonnes, has taken part in numerous fire-fighting and rescue operations during her service period, including the fire on the vessel, "Seawise University", in 1972, the fire on the vessel, "Eastern Gate", in the 1980s and the fire on the vessel, "New Orient Princess" in 1993."
In addition to her fire-fighting history, the locally built Alexander Grantham is a great example of the achievements of the ship-building industry of Hong Kong in the early 1950s.
Through artefacts and a thematic exhibition, the Fireboat Alexander Grantham will showcase Hong Kong's sea salvage history of the past 100 years as well as provide a glimpse of the history of the city's social development.
Ends/Friday, March 10, 2006